March 3, 2021
Posted by: DevDigital
Emily Bruce, a behavior analyst located in the Nashville area, wanted to create a way for children with special needs to interact with each other for the purposes of developing play and social skills. Creating this platform would facilitate the process and allow parents and therapists who care for these children to connect to provide opportunities for positive social interactions.
Though she tried posting these types of social gatherings on Facebook, it was still hard to create such social events.
Emily decided to partner with her friend, Aram Abubaker, to create the Grow With Me web platform, a “place where parents, caretakers, and therapists can find hope and a caring spirit of people, so that children with special needs can engage with other children and improve their social skills and move toward their greatest potential.”
But Emily and Aram knew that, in this ever-changing mobile landscape, that doing a web platform was not enough.
Emily and Aram decided to create a smartphone application at which time Aram then began to code the“Grow With Me” app platform, which led them to DevDigital. The two figured the platform’s best way to achieve their goals was through an app. During the coding process, Emily and Aram decided to integrate ID verification as an added safety feature. They needed assistance to integrate the API for Identity Mind, as well as the app stores, which is when they connected with DevDigital.
“We are located in Nashville and I was hoping to find a local tech company to assist us, but I wasn't really searching. Aram coded the app, but we knew we need a little help with API integration for the ID verification and play stores. I connected with (DevDigital Chief Business Operator) Stephen Davis on Linkedin and then looked more at the company he was working with. I decided to reach out to him and we met, told him about the app, what we needed, and formed a relationship,” said Emily.
“Originally we wanted to create a platform that utilized both a website and app, but Aram suggested using only the app because of some of the limitations we may experience using a website. This included location and ID verification, both of which are easy to use and access with a mobile phone,”
App development was a new world neither had experienced before, but DevDigital’s team of experts in the mobile app realm were able to help them navigate through the pain points of helping connect the proper API endpoints to the app, and all of the miscellaneous phases that come with it.
“The first-time project comes with several challenges,” said Aram.
“As there is no blueprint or a working prototype to develop the app. Therefore, I had to experiment with several approaches to develop this app. I had to design and develop this project from scratch. For this purpose, I had to improve my designing and development skills, and also learn new technical tools and frameworks. I believe there are several things needed to be done to make a perfect app however, our goal was to create a great product that would help parents of special needs children to find playdates or events to promote play and social skills developments.”
With the help of DevDigital’s expertise in API integration, the Grow With Me app was successfully launched on both the Apple and Google Play stores in February. The app has garnered plenty of attention so far, including from Dr. Phil.
The process of creating and testing the app is one that, as Emily discovered, does not happen overnight. It takes time for app development to be properly done, and even after a successful launch, she knows the journey is not necessarily over yet.
“The main lesson I learned was patience. When we began the process of development, I did not know tech design and coding would be such a long process. I discovered that when you think you have found a solution for one problem, another one is waiting to be addressed. I also found out that the process is ongoing and that you will continue to discover features that should be part of the platform, which also extends the time to completion. At some point, you have to just be finished, and save the new features for the next update,” stated Emily.