Project Summary and Client Background
TalkingParents.com came to Bit-Wizards with the need of a full rebrand, website redeisgn and development, and cross-platform mobile app development.
is a free replacement for email, text, social media, and all other electronic messages between parents. Their service keeps a complete record of communications between parents. They maintain the record as an independent third party, making sure parents cannot delete or alter anything they say. In addition to what is said, they also keep track of exactly when each communication is made, when each parent signs in or out, and even when each parent actually views a new communication, even if they do not post a response.
TalkingParents.com is an innovator in its field and was the first service to focus on maintaining and providing accurate, complete, and intuitive records for use in court. As courts across the US and around the world became aware of its existence, the demand for TalkingParents.com increased exponentially and so too did the client’s need for reliable and scalable technology solutions.
TalkingParents.com came to Bit-Wizards as a locally-hosted startup utilizing dated technologies. The website itself was not professional in appearance, and the back-end technology was inadequate and not capable of handling the fast-growing user base. Additionally, the application's hosting environment was not in a secure, highly-available platform.
TalkingParents.com knew it needed a complete revamp to accommodate the growth necessary for success. The application required a better user experience and functionality, which included the ability to be scalable for millions of users located across the globe.
TalkingParents.com needed solutions that would make it reliable, secure, scalable, and capable of handling a massive and complicated user base.
Starting with a fresh new design which included a full portfolio of print collateral, Bit-Wizards used the Kentico Integrated Marketing Solution
and built a mobile friendly website using Microsoft Azure Web Services and responsive design and development functionality to allow users to create a free account and login to communicate to their co-parent. All conversations are recorded and kept secure in case future use in court becomes necessary. If that time comes, the web solution also allows parents to purchase a complete record of all communications between the co-parents directly through the website.
While responsive design provided a mobile experience, the TalkingParents.com customers voiced their desire for mobile applications. Reviewing the analytics in the Kentico Integrated Marketing Solution, Bit-Wizards and TalkingParents.com verified that over 80% of their website traffic was taking place on mobile devices. The need for mobile apps was pressing, and TalkingParents.com again turned to Bit-Wizards to build apps for each mobile platform beginning with iOS.
The initial decision to build the TalkingParents.com website on such high-end technologies as Kentico and Microsoft gave the Bit-Wizards development team the ability to integrate easily with the newly created mobile apps. The Kentico REST Services API provided a natural approach to integrating a mobile app which would augment the responsive mobile experience in the Kentico site. The TalkingParents.com app is more than just a free standing application, unlike most apps in the store, it completely integrates with the TalkingParents.com service. Users can be logged into the app and web service simultaneously and still receive updates and notifications on whatever device they need to access at the moment. Bit-Wizards' Technical Director, John Jackson
was the project lead and used the app development tool Xamarin
, just recently purchased by Microsoft, to build the iOS application. Shortly after the launch of the iOS app the Bit-Wizards team launched a matching app for the Android Platform as well.
The new apps allow for TalkingParents.com to expand it features for users based on a subscription model. The app itself is free to download, but users must be subscribed to the TalkingParents.com premium service (minimal monthly fee) to log in and use the app on their iOS or Android device. A user can subscribe to this service after downloading the app from inside the app store or upgrade directly on the TalkingParents.com website. This subscription works across all platforms, so the user only pays once to access their account on any platform they choose. The subscription model also provides TalkingParents.com the funds to maintain the app and keep the services running on these highly available and secure technologies.
After initial consulting on the right technology direction, the Bit-Wizards team converted the application to ASP.NET and C# and moved it into the Kentico Integrated Marketing Solution with an entirely new design and responsive framework to support mobile traffic. They then hosted the site in Microsoft Azure App Services which communicates to a SQL Azure Database. The site uses Mailjet functionality in conjunction with custom code written to enhance out-of-the-box email functionality within Kentico increase the ability to handle the millions of emails sent each month. To support the e-commerce needs of this project, Bit-Wizards integrated the Kentico site by creating a custom e-commerce payment gateway with Braintree
and also a mechanism in the Kentico Administration module to manage recurring payments for users on a monthly and yearly basis.
Users can sign up for the service directly on the website or from within the new mobile apps using in-app purchase functionality. When new customers sign up for the TalkingParents.com service, they become "users" in the backend of the Kentico site. This configuration allows for easy management of the users by the site administration. After a user is signed up for the service, Kentico scheduled tasks run and frequently check that subscriptions are valid for continued use of the TalkingParents.com service. Xamarin was used to build the iOS and Android mobile apps for TalkingParents.com. Both of the TalkingParents.com apps tie into the Microsoft Azure Notification Hubs for utilization of push notification functionality along with Azure Blob Storage so that users can attach files to their messages. Visual Studio handles the entire code base; additionally, the application uses Raygun
for error reporting needs.
"I came to Bit-Wizards because I knew TalkingParents.com could be truly great, but I also knew it was in no position to handle large-scale growth. I didn’t just need a company that could build a nicer looking website. I needed a company that could build a professional, world-class site and also completely update and improve the application itself to easily handle millions of users. I needed scalable, enterprise level solutions and Bit-Wizards delivered them." –Stephen Nixon, CEO, TalkingParents.com
Bit-Wizards has helped TalkingParents.com grow from a small-time startup with an amateur look and no scalability to a professional website and application with courts around the world ordering parents to use the service on a daily basis. TalkingParents.com can now support a global user base in the tens of millions without worrying about scalability or availability. The company is now preparing to launch new products aimed directly at legal professionals and governmental entities based on the proven technology solutions underpinning TalkingParents.com. Bit-Wizards will be there every step of the way to ensure TalkingParents.com has the technology solutions it needs to find success during this massive global expansion. This project has brought a 5,000% increase in page views
on the main TalkingParents.com website, 1,000% increase in new user signups
and a significant increase in overall revenue.