Bringing football closer to the people with Slovak Football Association
Creating a new mobile experience for Slovak Football Association completely remote.
- Client: Slovak Football Association
- Project type: native mobile applications for iOS and Android
- Services: design, development, strategy
- Year: 2020 - 2021
Bring football closer to people.
At GOODREQUEST we had an opportunity to create a new communication channel with Slovak Football Association for all football fans in Slovakia. We designed, developed, and set a digital strategy for native mobile applications for iOS and Android.
The history of the Slovak Football Association (SFZ) dates back to 1938. It's an integral part of the sports culture in Slovakia, it covers Slovak football leagues, national teams, and football development. SFZ has been a member of FIFA and UEFA since 1993.
How did we help
Slovak Football Association needs to communicate large amounts of information to nearly anyone within and outside the organisation. Referees, players, administration, marketing, fans... you name it. When we design an application we always strive for the future added value which it will create and how the app will complement the current service or product. Thus, our major challenge was to identify what information we want to communicate through the app and how to present it in a way that will keep people engaged with Slovak football. All this, fully remote due to the pandemic situation.
Going fully remote
Slovak Football Association chose us because of our expertise, projects we already delivered, for other sports organisations, and, last but not least, our craft - to combine quality design and first-class development into successful products We kick-offed the project in October 2020 while the whole country was in a mild lockdown slowly moving into a hard one. Naturally, there was a request to work fully remotely. Our project management team had to set up the project for this kind of cooperation even though GOODREQUEST has been already remote-friendly. Slacks, teams, jira and others, everything had to cooperate.
The ban in the ScrumBan
Scrum is the golden standard when it comes to managing projects from various industries. That is why the beginnings of the project were all about the Scrum methodology set up. We started the project in Scrum, but during the first sprint, we realised that this wouldn't work. We realised we need more agility in tasks prioritisation to be able to adapt fast to problems that occur. We quickly adapted and started using the ScrumBan system, a method, that combines the basics of Scrum and flexibility of Kanban technique. Scrumban is mostly used for the change in the management priorities - from the release of a version to shorter planning. Therefore, we knew about the problems much sooner and solved them well in advance. This accelerated our process, relieved the design and development team and fine-tuned the product development.
Explore & Define
Large amounts of historical data, future match schedules, present league tables, several age groups, player’s data, mobile games to create community feeling, fan-shop online store, and even live match information. We needed to put all of this in a single mobile app. We straightaway started with mapping, which we successfully transformed into a comprehensible, accessible and well-tested information architecture. When creating the user’s experience we map and create the entire process.
Mapping sessions are essential to our process, helping us:
- understanding the business needs,
- establishing a solid connection between design, development, and analysis,
- creating a kickoff material for analysts for feasibility studies
- last but not least connecting requirements to human needs
Developing the solutions
Bringing ideas to life
Competitive analysis & Benchmarking
We are constantly trying to innovate and work on the business of our partners. When it comes to benchmarking the competition, it’s always a good way to find how other designers approach the problem, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Out of a number of quality frameworks for benchmarking, our favorite is HEART benchmarking framework from Google. We benchmarked 15 top sports and football apps to see what others are up to.
Design data-rich applications with clear navigation and simple architecture are challenging. Our goal is to create a narrow and easy-to-understand information architecture by designing a product for multiple platforms. Mobile platforms iOs and Android do have a lot of common elements, yet they still contain different patterns in navigation and in working with it.
At GOODREQUEST, to design a solution is only the beginning of the journey. We always test our ideas with people. When it comes to testing information architecture, our favourite technique is card sorting.
Wireframing, prototyping & failing, and learning fast
Creating quick drafts of our ideas (wireframes/prototypes) and testing them in the real world with people allows us to fail and learn as quickly as possible. In our environment failure is an experience that gives a person two advantages: experience and feedback. If you did something in the past, you have experience and can start again without having to start from scratch. Failing happens in every project, it is not a matter of “if” but “when”. Making these mistakes in the early stages of the project saves our partners a significant amount of time and resources and last but not least - gives us experience and feedback.
Agile in our blood
At GOODREQUEST our mission is to create groundbreaking human-centered digital experiences combining design, engineering, and business. This wouldn’t be possible without our top-notch developer teams working closely together with our designers, project managers, and analysts. Involving them in the early stages of product creation is a great advantage for the whole team and the product in the first place. The stepping stone for this collaboration is our agile process. Project managers, designers, and developers working closely together to deliver the best product possible in short-term sprints. Our approach to collaboration with Slovak Football Association was no different.
Design & development hand in hand
Working with agile methodologies in mind, the design team delivers designs of the product 1 - 2 sprints before the development team sprint starts. With a carefully designed roadmap and solid design system, we’re able to deliver products faster and in higher quality than in the waterfall model.
After the feature is released our QA team is debugging all possible and impossible bugs in the product. In this project they found more than 93 bugs (so far), this makes us sure, our products are rock solid on every platform when it comes to stability.
Never Miss a Match: Ticketing Functionality for Football Fans
Say goodbye to the hassle of buying match tickets - the app now offers convenient ticketing functionality. Users can choose their seats, pay for their tickets, and receive them as QR codes within the app. We’re proud to have added this new functionality recently, we hope it enhances the overall experience for football fans in Slovakia.
When it comes to iOS development we have always been utilising the potential of the combined library and reactor architecture for a fully reactive code. Further unifying our code style conventions and libraries with GRExtensions enables us to exploit code generation tools to save time and work. Android developers on the other hand create a reactive architecture with ViewBinding and Kotlin Coroutines following Material Design guidelines. Although we love to create native mobile applications we also share some similar techniques and processes like release automation (CI) allowing us to address bugs and feature requests promptly.
For Slovak Football Association we also used the Flutter, a cross-platform engine integrated for the game module within the app. Using a shared codebase across android and iOS we created a small simple game called Goalie. It’s a fun little addition to the inquiry and quiz section, which is a great start to the gamification of the experience.
"The first very thorough testing of the system is over. First of all, I want to thank you for the condition in which you deployed the system. We found virtually no bugs, hats off."
We helped Slovak Football Association to identify and achieve their goals within the new strategic movement “Fan22” movement. By delivering solid native mobile applications we created a new communication channel, e-commerce B2B and B2C module, and a platform that can be built on. We can’t wait for you to see and use the apps.