Our client, Karolina Kwiecinska, was aiming to change the situation in the caregiving industry. She wanted to provide an alternative on the market for how social services are provided to those in need. Unlike the traditional way, which brings more complexity and routing tasks to get qualified care, she envisioned it operating as a two-sided marketplace. Going this way, clients could find and hire service suppliers directly, avoiding extra spendings and routines.
Karolina has an extensive strategic supply chain and procurement background in various industries. Her knowledge and enthusiasm helped her create Geriana.com, the peer-to-peer platform connecting professional health care and social workers with their clients.
The concept of the platform originates from the observation that currently caregiver hiring options in Europe are limited to a few: either through an agency, local councils, online ads or word of mouth advertising, each way with its benefits and drawbacks (either very expensive or unsafe, or as in the case of local councils – not available for all income groups). Therefore, there is a niche in the market to introduce a solution that would have the most benefits for the agency, but at a much lower price, still being safer than hiring through classified ads.
Additionally, it is expected that the demand for caregivers in Western Europe will increase in the near future due to ageing societies, which can be met by hiring migrant workers. Finally, there is a gap in employment in the EU among middle-aged women compared to men. The policymakers are establishing new programmes to restore them to the labour market and caregiver jobs. Those circumstances provide grounds for the emergence of new ways of connecting caretakers with caregivers and increasing the supply of caregiving jobs, which women in middle age could meet.
The objective of the new solution is to improve market competition, match specific demand and supply needs and boost the migration of workers within the EU. Therefore, the drivers for the creation of the portal are beyond being a business opportunity to fill in the market niche, social and economic.
The marketplace is enriched with advanced search and collaboration features. After viewing the profile details, a client can shortlist and invite the appropriate candidate to the interview. All functions needed for signing a contract and payments procedures are inbuilt to the system. There is no need for the care seekers to check the information about caregivers since Geriana handles the verification upfront.
The Geriana platform is dedicated to older people, and so its user interface is adjusted accordingly and looks friendly to them. Besides that, the system allows their relatives and representatives to join the platform and use the associated accounts.
The platform can be used by various service providers: caregivers, nurses, physiotherapists and masseurs. Not only individual workers but organizations could join the platform and bid with their proposals. They could submit their propositions for various types of work: from live-in, short-term to one-off jobs.
The service should charge clients a percentage-based commission for their payments.
The Project Scope
Our client needed us to develop the project from scratch. This job included the following parts:
- Graphic UI/UX design;
- Front-end implementation using React.js;
- Back-end development with Ruby on Rails.
- The project required integration with the Mailgun.
The first release of the product will be focused on the Polish market. Afterwards, it will be scaled up to Europe.
Core Values of Geriana
Geriana makes the hiring process of caregivers smoother and transparent. The platform enables them to get more job opportunities and receive fair earnings. On the other side, care seekers could find qualified specialists without spending much time and at a better price than hiring through an agency.
The development team should suggest a simple UI/UX design, friendly to elderly users (the target audience of Geriana are people of the age of 45+).
Since the clients are located in Europe, the platform should use the payment gateway eligible in these countries.
Step 1. Business Analysis
We set out the design work from revisiting the UX prototype provided to us by Karolina. It reflected the user flows and looked good, though we needed to put some amendments there. When checking it, we discovered some missing steps in the user flow. At some points, we determined the doubled features on the screens.
In the course of our communication with Karolina, our business analyst managed to collect all necessary data pertaining to the product functionality:
- Customers' user experience.
- Competitor analysis.
- The final feature scope.
- Main working priorities.
Step 2. Writing the Documentation
While analyzing the project requirements, we found the search filters to be one of the most important but time-consuming features. As part of the project specification, we had to research payment methods that would be suitable for the platform. Thanks to this, it was a new but useful experience to study Paylane, a Polish-based payment gateway.
We created a few documents containing the feature decomposition and user stories by the end of this stage. Based on that, our programmers estimated the time needed to complete the development work.
Step 3. Drawing the UI/UX Design
Based on the provided information, we delivered a new interactive UI/UX design, which avoided the previous issues and reflected the suggestions from our client. It involved the design elements and patterns, clear to the users with an average or low web experience.
With that said, the prototype served as a specification that helped convey the primary user flows to our team. Using this, our UI/UX designer created the final graphic layouts, which were turned into the working code.
Step 4. Project's Estimation
To evaluate the project, we divided it into functional tasks - features. For each of them, we indicated a list of subtasks and the time needed to implement them. Along with that, we estimated the project based on a few scenarios: optimistic, pessimistic and most realistic. This approach helped us to assess the future workload and avoid possible delays.
Our project manager split the whole work into sprints, keeping in mind the main priorities. However, we considered that the priorities could change by the end of the first milestone, and we will need to revisit our plan. That is not a big deal for us, as far as we follow agile methods and help our clients work efficiently.
For the first milestone, we determined the following user features:
- A user signs up on the website through either a role: caregiver or client.
- A user can create and update a profile.
- A user can search for service providers or look for job opportunities.
- A user could use the basic search fields as well as advanced.
- The client has an opportunity to pay over a connected banking card.
We put the tasks to the Jira framework and shared the board with our team. The project manager tracked the progress via the dashboard and reported on it to our client daily. They used Skype and Slack for their communication.
Step 5. Code Development
At the start, our DevOps engineer built the project's infrastructure with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and set up the framework environment. After finishing it, the back-end developer joined the team and created PostgreSQL and Ruby on Rails architecture. In a week, he provided API documentation for the front-end engineer who also joined the team.
Project manager / BA
We finalized the first milestones of the project. The platform can be viewed at www.geriana.com
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