From pencil & paper to mobile data entry with Northland’s leading kiwi recovery group.Mobile Application Development
Kiwi Coast took the hassle out of Northland’s annual Kiwi Call Count survey with their new mobile application.
Kiwi Coast coordinates over 140 community-led conservation projects and groups in the shared effort of kiwi recovery throughout Northland. Through the combined effort of their community, Kiwi Coast removes thousands of animal pests every year making our native wildlife safer and our forests healthier.
A key component in their kiwi recovery efforts is the annual Kiwi Call Count survey, which is used to monitor the activity and distribution of kiwis throughout Northland.
The Kiwi Call Count surveys were originally recorded with paper forms, and the members of the group were keen to move to a digital solution to simplify recording kiwi calls and automate the huge administration burden of data validation and entry.
KiwiSprout was engaged to develop a mobile app to assist the thousands of people that conduct the Kiwi Call Count surveys because Kiwi Coast was impressed with their work on the mobile application Locale Central, and they knew that we could solve the current challenges that they face.
Planning & Research
We are fortunate to have a lot of experience in the two main challenges of this project, converting paper forms into mobile applications, and automation. From our experience, we knew that it was critical to plan out the finer details of how each component of the app would work before we started design and development.
To make sure our planning anticipated every need and potential challenge, we worked closely with Kiwi Coast to learn how people typically conducted the Kiwi Call Count surveys, and how the administration team handled converting these paper forms into usable data.
From our research and planning, we created a functional brief documenting how each part of the app would work, how we store the data, and how we would solve any potential issues administrators or surveyors could face. After reviewing the functional brief with Kiwi Coast and confirming everything planned was how they expected the mobile app to work, we started work on the designs.
Our goal for the design phase was to produce a design for the mobile app that made it as easy as possible to conduct a Kiwi Call Count survey. As part of this goal, we experimented with rapidly prototyping and testing different layouts before settling on our final design.
As part of our product-centric approach, we also created a functional component library and style guide for the mobile app, which helps us provide future work with a consistently high standard of quality and visual cohesiveness. By taking a product-centric approach to our project, we treat the project as an ongoing activity so that we continue to add value to the project as the business grows and evolves.
With the designs signed off, we began developing the mobile app with React Native and Expo. As part of our planning phase, we already had the backend architecture designed and ready to be implemented.
To ensure fast synchronisation and exporting of data, we chose to use DynamoDB, the NoSQL database by AWS, which also provided the added benefits of strong security and cost-effective data storage.
For communication between the mobile app and the backend, we chose to use AWS AppSync to create a GraphQL API. By using AppSync, we were able to provide easy real time syncing of user’s data, offline access to the app, and secure data transfer.
Throughout the process of developing the mobile app, we had regular check-ins with Kiwi Coast so that they could test the app and provide feedback, ensuring that we stayed on track with their vision and promptly addressed any concerns.
Our development process also included a comprehensive testing plan, so that all key stakeholders could provide their feedback during the development lifecycle, including experienced Northland kiwi listeners and members of the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Before we launched the mobile app, we performed a full quality assurance to ensure a consistently high standard of quality was provided across all iOS and Android devices. When our quality assurance was complete, we handled the review process with Apple and Google and went live on both app stores with no issue.
Kiwi Coast is now available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, available to all approved groups and projects linked to Kiwi Coast. To learn more about the app, visit this link https://kiwicoast.org.nz/new-kiwi-coast-listening-app-now-out/