Building a timeline is easy… er, sort-of
Being able to display your vehicle’s maintenance history on a timeline is helpful, to be sure: Can’t remember when the rear brake pads were replaced last? Just pull out your phone and scroll down your timeline to find out.
Building and testing an app to do this had its challenges, to be sure (being able to attach any kind of file to a service event (images/videos/PDFs/etc.) was one of them) — but was, at the end of the day, pretty straightforward: Build screens for vehicle owners to enter details into service events, and display these events on a timeline.
Sharing a timeline… not so much
But, providing functionality to share your timeline with others–others who may not have the MyRide901 app–and then being able to choose whether they can update the service events on your timeline or just view them; and then layering social media on top so the people you are sharing with can chat with you about service events (think WhatsApp)–that is, indeed, a new ballgame.
I distinctly heard Elayne’s voice, from Seinfeld shouting: “Have you lost your mind, man? Are you insane?”
We needed to build a web app
Johnson and the Dev Team sure had reservations–being able to share timelines with people who did not have the MyRide901 app, for example, would mean building a whole new app–a web app–that could use a browser to interact with the mobile app.
Then, there were notifications: We would need to notify those without the app via email; and those with the app via notifications on their mobile phone. When should the timeline owner be notified–every time someone views their timeline? Or when someone sends them a message via the chat messenger? Or just when someone makes a change to a service event on their timeline, assuming they have permission to do so (e.g. a mechanic attaches an estimate for the required service)?
Then we needed to test the monster we had created
Next, we had to figure out how to test all that. The combinations of scenarios were mind-bending: Sharing with another MyRide901 user or someone who does not have the app? With View-only permissions or Update permissions? Sharing the entire timeline, or just some of the events on the timeline, or just one, specific event? It was a challenge, but the QA team was more than up to the task.
It’s Here. And It’s Goooood.
Yet, for all of that, we pulled it off. Sure, it took more than a few midnight design discussions, and a few more weekend marathon testing cycles. But it’s here. And it’s goooood.
The video below provides a brief glimpse into what we’ve developed. Have a look and let us know what you think in the Comments.
Next Up: Beta Testing
Next up is testing with beta testers–after a few rounds, we will know pretty quickly whether we’ve hit the mark.