Services, approach and packages
Prototypes, research, consultancy and end-to-end digital product design and development.
Make life easier for customers
These days, customers expect convenience. Fast booking, easy content consumption and simple control of appliances. That kind of thing. If you get this right, you'll woo customers in and then earn their loyalty. That's the best mobile strategy.
Help staff get more done
Mobile is a great way to improve how employees work. Whether it be on-site, in-store or on-the-road. We help organisations design and launch mobile solutions that speed up work. The upshot is reduced operating costs and happier staff.
Get a better grip on digital
Not every business has digital roots. A little advice and guidance can go a long way toward helping you gain confidence. We're helping directors and managers explore pressing issues around digital practices, strategies and roadmaps.
We do the following to make sure your app provides the quality and convenience people expect:
Ever wondered how your customers think? User research helps you find the answers. It enables you to understand the pain points and desires of your customers. Our UX team carry out user interviews, focus groups, surveys and other research activities. All this awesome insight improves the design of your product.
Your service offering starts before your app is downloaded, and continues after customers use your app. We look at the big picture so we can be sure everything fits together nicely and customers have an easy time interacting with your business. We'll take a good look at what your doing and design a service that puts customers at the centre.
You know when you're using a well-designed app. It feels simple. Delightful, even. It anticipates your next move and still works even when you have flakey phone reception. Our UX and UI team care about these things. And because we're mobile specialists, we know how to design an app that feels like an app should.
This might get technical. Let's just say that an app can be a lot of things these days. Native Swift or Kotlin apps? Or a PWA? We'll help you decide on the right approach for your product. Our dev team covers all the bases and have a full range of skills to deliver most types of app.
It doesn't stop at apps. There are other pieces to put in place; web portals, databases, APIs, that kind of thing. Your organisation needs to be agile and ready for the future, which is where software architecture comes into play. Microservices? API-first? React? No-code? We'll architect and deliver all the building blocks needed to deliver a successful app.
Getting a beautiful and nicely engineered app into peoples hands is the start of your amazing journey. Do you envisage improving it over time? Getting user feedback? Or measuring against KPIs? Or making sure it's live 24x7? We'll help you do all that so you can keep it secure, healthy and moving in the right direction.
You don't have to commission a full product with us on day one. There are a number of ways we can help you get your ideas moving.
1-2 weeks, typically £1,500-£4,000
Spend half a day with our team and take your app ideas forward in leaps and bounds. Explore your strategy, validate ideas, create roadmaps, service blueprints and understand costs. It's preceded by some preparation calls and preliminary research tasks.
2-4 weeks, typically £6,000-£12,000
Answer the important questions. Receive competitor research, user research, technical research to find the gaps and test key assumptions. The goal is to gain insight and tackle the major risks in your business plan. Includes Light Discovery.
3-6 weeks, typically £8,000-£20,000
Prototype your ideas and test them on real people. We iterate until we're confident we have a product that will work. By the end of this, you're ready to design and develop a working app. Includes Light Discovery and Research sprint.
2-6 hours, typically £800-£1,200
If you're a production director or CxO looking to get a grip on your roadmap, we can review your situation and offer a fresh perspective. We advise on topics such as: getting stakeholder buy-in, specifications, technical strategies and emerging trends.
1 week, typically £2,000-£3,000
If you suspect your existing app or PWA could be improved we can look at it with fresh eyes and suggest improvements. This can include: looking at your analytics to discover potential issues, a code review or an evaluation of the user experience.
3-6 months, typically £50,000-£1m
This builds upon our research and prototyping process. We'll design and develop your app across web, iPhone and Android. We'll conduct user testing along the way to make sure it's well received. Then launch it to your customers or staff.
The techie stuff
For all you CTO's, CDO's and technical folks... We're a full-stack digital team who focus mostly on software platforms where mobile is hugely important to the success of the business.
When creating any digital product, we use a combination of design-thinking and agile delivery. This is because we believe these globally accepted best practices give you the best shot of creating a product that actually gets results.
Unlike many software houses, we adhere to the core principles of agile set out in the agile manifesto, which encourages collaboration, flexible project planning and doing the simplest thing that works.
We recommend native apps because they're the gold standard for a slick user experience. This means we use Java and Swift. We're also using Google Flutter for cross platform apps, but the jury is still out on this. We underpin our apps with just enough unit tests to give us confidence we don't break things when we refactor. We use Git Flow for managing branches and releases in different environments.
Web & PWAs
We prefer ReactJS for any non-trivial front-end web sites, admin portals and data dashboards. Underpinned by Elixir + Phoenix on the server side. We also have a lot of Ruby on Rails experience. We plan for scalability and security as appropriate, not being fans of premature optimisation.
Databases & API's
We have data expertise in-house, working on some high-scale solutions capturing millions or records a day. Postgres is our current favourite SQL DB, scaled vertically with a replica for read-heavy use cases. We have experience with CouchDB for distributed databases. For integrating web sites to apps, we like RESTful API's with appropriate caching mechanisms, and are also exploring GraphQL.
Do you just do apps?
We do a little more than that. When working with us, you have a full digital product team at your disposal. This means we can help you build a complete solution including web sites, progressive web apps, portals, dashboards and of course, mobile apps. We also have experience in databases, analytics and connecting systems together using API's and integrations.
What are the trends we should be considering?
The most exciting opportunity is around how customer habits are changing, particularly with their use of mobile apps. There's an opportunity to observe customer behaviours and then design mobile experiences that engage with them, create loyalty and drive sales. Of course, this advice depends on who you and your customers are. We can give examples when we meet, but we'd encourage you to look at our "perspectives" section.
Will you sign an NDA?
Yes, as long as it's mutual. We speak to many companies and hear dozens of ideas every year, so we will warn you if there is overlap. If needed, help yourself to our mutual NDA :)
When do we start paying for your services?
One of our values is to "always be useful" for our clients. So, despite the first few meetings being FREE, we'll be doing work that provides value to you. After those first few meetings, we ask you to embark on a low risk £5K-£10K discovery phase that involves research, analysis and concept design.
How do you charge for your services?
We work on a fixed price, variable scope basis. This means we agree a sensible budget-cap, and allocate a team to your project each week at an agreed rate. We only charge for work done, and if you have budget left over at the end you can invest it in more features or we can give it back to you. You're probably wondering what happens if we go over budget? We continually run project budget projections, so in the rare case that this happens we will notify you well in advance, and then we can discuss ways of mitigating that risk.
Do you provide estimates for the work?
Yes. Before you decide to partner with us, we give you an illustrative estimate based on your initial ideas. You can use this to see if we're competitive. Then, after the fixed-cost discovery phase where we refine the ideas and research unknowns, we will revise that estimate.
Would you invest in my business?
The most important thing to us is to see our work out there in the wild being of value to you and your customers. We consider investments where it's likely that the long-term success of the venture requires a vested technical team. Typically, we'd consider investment after the first iteration is complete and we have some real data to work with.
Do you offer support?
Yes, if you're like many of our clients, you'll be creating a app mobile to generate revenue or improve your business operations, so it's important your app remains online at all times. This includes making sure that things don't break when Apple or Google update their operating systems. Our most basic packages are £550 a month. For those that need it, we also have 24/7/365 support packages covering server infrastructure and apps ranging from £3,000 to £7,000 a month, depending on the size, scale and transactional volume of your solution.
Who owns the intellectual property?
Our contract grants you ownerships of things we create for you, as long as they are paid for. We assign copyright to you on request. You have access to any plans, strategy documents, source code and designs we create.
Will you work alongside our internal developers?
Yes. If you have an in-house team we often will work with you to blend our resources to create a single project team. The Pocketworks team work from our Leeds offices, although we are happy to arrange a weekly collaborative session at your site or ours.
We want to build an in-house team one day, can you support that?
Yes, some of our clients are growing their own technology teams and want us to hand-over at some point. We can support this, offering training and growing your internal capabilities.
What is the Discovery phase for?
The discovery phase involves collaborative workshops, research and visualising ideas. If you're worried this might be a bit "fluffy", please be assured that our discoveries are lean, and focus on things that will directly influence the success of your project. This might include auditing your IT so we can check feasibility, gaining an understanding of who will be using your app so you only invest in the right platforms and features, and visualising ideas so you can build confidence in the direction you're taking.
Do you charge for hosting?
No. If your application is hosted on a server in the cloud, you pay the raw cost without us marking them up. Hosting is incredibly low-cost these days, so you can benefit from that. If we are involved in looking after your servers and uptime, we can agree a support contract.
Can we work on a retainer basis?
Yes. Some of our clients spread their app investment over the year at a fixed monthly fee. This is often combined with a support contract. The nice thing about this is that, if you don't need much support one month, a chunk of it goes in the "pot" so can be used for feature development. This means you get the most cost-effective support possible and all the benefits of continuous improvement to your product.
What services do you provide for IoT and smart hardware manufacturers?
You may have noticed that we create apps and web platforms for many hardware manufacturers. We're experienced in creating apps for both industrial IoT and consumer IoT. This often means dealing with large quantities of sensor data, handling device connectivity and building gateway products. We can talk about this specialty if it's of interest to you.