Creating brands and developing digital products together
Bol.com and icapps go way back. We already develop different digital products for both internal and external usage. We’re a big fan of their way of working, open communication, and approach to creating digital products. And the feeling must be mutual.
With the kick-off of Ampère, a bol.com backed start-up, we again were approached to create some code magic together. Initially, the existence of Ampère and what they were working on had to remain under the radar, making it a top secret within icapps... This was a truly unique collaboration; working closely with a customer at the start of their new business is amazing.
The foundations for Ampère’s branding and designs were already set out. They already had a logo, a custom font, and a color pallet. We used these elements to develop the brand further and create the application's screens. In close collaboration with Ampère’s designers, we further expanded and designed the brand identity.
Different applications serving different goals
Ampère is a dedicated parcel collection service for merchants on the bol.com platform. Their promise: collecting parcels at partners in the morning and having them delivered at consumers that same day, in the most sustainable way. Such a service is of great value to these merchants as a 24-hour delivery promise is a driver of sales.
To help them reach this promise, we developed apps for each specific phase of the logistic chain the packages are in:
Drop-off application: This app registers the parcel drop-off at specific locations. Drop-off partners use the app to register the intake of parcels.
Driver application: This app provides drivers with all the necessary tools to successfully carry out the tasks associated with a collection trip. These include navigating to stops, scanning parcels, handling issues, and many more.
Depot application: This app supports all processes that take place within the depots, including the scanning, dispatching, and troubleshooting of parcels.
Ampère, green logistics with an icapps team that drove on rocket fuel
Flutter as the glue between all applications
We created a shared code base for the three applications we developed: drop-off, driver, and depot. Thanks to Flutter, we could develop not at 100% but at 300%. This without taking a risk in the loss of quality and with great UI, once we had it at our disposal. When we needed native components, Flutter also allowed us to bridge them.
At the same time, over at Ampère, a dedicated back-end team was punching the keyboard each day to deliver an API service that would serve as the bridge between Ampère’s back-end services and the front-end applications developed by iCapps. Such close collaboration between front- and back-end proved to be challenging at times, as efforts needed to be well coordinated. For instance, early on in the project acceptance testing was sometimes done based on mocked data, as back-end services were not yet available. However, thanks to a quick response time, this was quickly mitigated by the back-end team with the creation of a stub environment to test against in the future.
A unique collaboration
What made this project unique? The people involved. We can’t stress this enough but this collaboration is truly unique. We were on the same page right from the start. Since we have worked together with bol.com in the past, we already had a good sense of the way of working at Ampère and their enormous thrive on getting things done.
To ensure that we would remain on the same page along the way, we made sure to regularly organize moments to reflect upon our collaboration, preferably physically at the office. Aside from reflection, these meet-ups also helped in getting to know each other better which benefits future collaboration.
No question was too much, and no answer was wrong. The fact that we had a blank sheet to start from allowed us to create together, and that’s exactly how we did it. At Ampère, business requirements were gathered by the responsible product owner and discussed with tech leads to check technical feasibility. After that, our expertise in both app development and design came into the picture to deliver a result that would meet these requirements. We had a lot of fun giving the brand a direction. However, at moments, it was stressful too, since we had nothing when we started developing (aside from some wireframes). All in all, collaboration and result to be proud of!