Fast load times and parked cars.
PLT4M: AN EDUCATIONAL FITNESS PLATFORM FOR MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOLS
Must. Go. Faster.
Like any major city, Boston has a problem – unpredictable weather, a commuter culture, and tourism make finding a place to park nearly impossible. This problem isn’t just felt by city-dwellers either. Local businesses have a hard time reaching a critical mass of customers because potential clientele can’t find a spot. Ask Beatrice set out to solve this problem.
Ask Beatrice is a widget that lives on local businesses’ sites and provides up-to-the-minute details on where customers may find nearby parking, as well as tips on how they can avoid costly parking tickets.
While the application is great in principle, it’s only as successful as its load times. And Ask Beatrice’s API wasn’t functioning at an optimum speed, generating a lagging experience for users, which meant a lag in its adoption rate.
Luckily, speed is one of our specialties. We had a simple problem to solve: How could we make their load times faster?
From Test Drive to the Big Race.
We started by addressing their web based widget performance issue. After our analysis, it became apparent that in order to truly provide faster functionality, we needed to develop a new location analysis and caching platform specific to Ask Beatrice’s performance needs.
So we built an API utilizing PostGIS combined with a Redis cache that was capable of loading complicated GPS data at faster speeds. Not only did this new API solve all performance issues on the desktop widget, it gave Ask Beatrice the opportunity to explore new ways to offer their product to the masses. This meant more design and development.
Impressed by what was essentially our trial run, Ask Beatrice requested we build a user-facing mobile version of their widget. Yet the shift over to the phone wasn’t a Sunday drive. To guarantee the phone-version of their product loaded at the same speed as the desktop widget, we opted to build off of our newly minted map API. While this saved having to construct a new platform, it did mean building a non-native mobile web app experience. This was no easy feat.
Because we were unable to rely on native iOS animations, we had to recreate complicated user interaction features with custom animations utilizing the Liquid-Fire library, ostensibly building a product that functions in the way users expect without the traditional tool kits most app developers have at their disposal.
The finished product was more than Ask Beatrice could hope for – a mobile web experience that looked, moved, and reacted like a native app.
Finding the Perfect Spot.
When it comes to building a truly beautiful user experience, we believe in striking a balance between elegant designs and pragmatic functionality.
By drastically increasing page load performance by 5000%, we delivered a desktop widget that populated data quickly and integrated with a beautiful UX dashboard, giving all users confidence that finding a place to park near their business would become a non- issue.
In addition, adapting our custom-built technology into a mobile web app, our attention to design details, and our ability to recreate a native-iOS animation experience meant Bostonians could leverage Ask Beatrice when they needed it most: in their cars!