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talkingparents app in itunes store iOS App Launches with Kentico and Azure Integrations partnered with Bit-Wizards in June 2012 to enhance their service offering by building their existing website into a responsive, mobile friendly design. Then, in the Spring of 2016, the partnership continued when TalkingParents decided it was time to build an iPhone app. Much to the delight of their users, in May 2016, this application launched and published to the iTunes store.

A Little History

It is imperative to gain an understanding of what the (TP) service provides to its user base to understand why this app launch is important.

Parents who are separated, divorced, or were never together in the first place must still communicate with each other regarding their children. Good communication is the key to a positive co-parenting environment. TP brings formality and accountability to electronic communication by providing parents with a secure, accurate, and complete record of all communications between them.

TP is a free service that replaces email, text, and all other electronic messages between co-parents. TP keeps a complete record of all communications between parents and maintains the record as an independent third party, making sure parents cannot delete or alter anything they say. The TP goal is to improve communication and help parents avoid disputes.

The App Improvements

Although TP was delivering a very valuable service to its users, they still felt the need to improve their offering, and one way they knew to achieve this was to build a mobile app for their users. Push notifications for their already secure messages was a feature that the Talking Parents users collectively wanted as a new feature. Also, 85% of the TP users are accessing the website via a mobile device. Half of that traffic is divided between the iOS and Android mobile platforms. The move to apps just made sense for TP.

In May of 2016, with the help of the Bit-Wizards web development and software engineering teams, TP launched their first iOS app. This application ties all the TP services together in one single, easy to use app for iOS.
The app itself is free to download, but users must be subscribed to the TP premium service (minimal monthly fee) to log in and use the app on their iOS device. A user can subscribe to this service after downloading the app from inside the app store or sign-up directly on the Talking Parents website. This subscription works across all platforms, so the user only pays once to access their account on any platform they choose (Android and Windows apps are currently in development.) The subscription model also provides TP the funds to maintain the app and keep the services running on highly available and secure technologies. 

The Technologies

The website is built on the Kentico Content Management System and is hosted in Microsoft Azure. Building the website on these high-end technologies gave the Bit-Wizards development team the ability to integrate easily into the newly created application. The TP app is more than just a free standing application, unlike most apps in the store, it is completely integrated with the TP 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. 
kentico, azure, app integration map

The App Details

The new iPhone app offers an enhanced mobile experience for TP premium subscribers and includes the following features:
  • Conversations views
  • Post and view messages
  • Create new conversations
  • Send PDF copies of complete conversations record
  • Receive instant notifications of new messages
  • View how many new messages are waiting using a badge notification
talkingparents mobile views

Coming in the Future

Within the next month, TP will be launching an app for the Android platform that will integrate with the Chrome browser where you can sign-in and receive push notifications while logged in on your desktop or laptop computer.
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