Behind the Scenes: Building a Digistorm School App

March 17, 2020

Behind every great product is an even better team of app developers and UX / UI designers. Every Digistorm App is built custom to meet each school's unique communication needs. Here's a peek behind the scenes at the design and development process of building one of our apps.

Interested in learning more? Check out our interview with our Full Stack Developer, Mark, to find out what goes on behind the scenes when building a Digistorm app.




Designing the school app

Our app development process normally starts with our team sitting down with our clients to understand their unique requirements and analyse their existing communication channels. Once the school's goals have been defined, our team goes over the school's requests to figure out which modules would work best to meet their goals. Once the modules are in place, UX / UI designers create an app wireframe to ensure it will be intuitive and easy-to-use.

The app's visual elements should draw from the school's brand guidelines. This helps to build the brand within the school community, and to ensure the app is recognisable as an extension of the school communication channels.


Wondering whether your school needs an app? Read our guide,

Mobile Apps vs. Responsive Websites for Schools


Developing the school app

Our development team then  provides input to ensure all of the app modules will fit together, and work seamlessly with any learning management system (LMS) or student information system (SIS) integrations that the school needs.

If the app is utilizing a new integration or new features, our development team will put together a prototype of the app to ensure the technology is working correctly. Here's some more information from Mark about the development process of the app:

"I think it's vital that when you're using an app, that it feels comfortable to you and I think that the user experience needs to be consistent between apps on a particular device type. So when it's on an iOS device, we would expect to use the same conventions that a lot of other apps on an iOS device use, like placing menus in the same places.

We're really careful not to fall into some common traps when it comes to designing interfaces that make it hard for users to use an app, like making little touch targets too small or placing menus in the same parts of the screen where your operating system likes to have a menu — things like that. So, we try to make our apps as usable as possible, and simple to understand, for the users to be able to just figure out how it works without somebody having to walk them through it."


Keeping the school app secure

When building an app, we secure the communication of personal data between the user's mobile device and our servers by using SSL encryption. This means before the data leaves the user's device it's encrypted and it can't be unencrypted by any server other than Digistorm's. We also work to minimize the amount of personal information that is sent to our servers. Normally, this is just enough information to authenticate that user if they're using another integration service. All the other personal, sensitive information is stored locally on the user's device.


Deploying updates to the app

Digistorm now has a fully automated app deployment process. Previously, every time we had to make an update to the apps, our development team would have to run a number of manual processes to get each app updated and deployed to the App store or Google Play store. Our process now allows us to update and deploy every Digistorm app with the click of a button.


In summary

At Digistorm, we really care about the product that we deliver. That's why we work hard to ensure that we're constantly adding new integrations and different modules into the apps, and brainstorming new ways to improve. If you're looking for a team that will design, develop and deliver the best app for your school, why not consider a Digistorm App

While you're making your decision, here are some more resources to consider: