Internship @ Cobalt Sign
An App for an NGO
For years we’ve been helping out local NGOs with pro bono apps, creating internship programs that combine making a valuable contribution with the opportunity to learn app development on a real-life project.
Last year we went international.
After announcing a call for app ideas in early spring, we started discussions with a few NGOs that applied. Soon afterwards we selected one of them: The UK Sepsis Trust. They had a cool app idea, a clear vision, resources and good understanding of how a software project works.
The UK Sepsis Trust is an NGO based in Birmingham, with a mission of saving lives from sepsis. They are working on educating healthcare professionals and improving medical care, raising awareness for the public and providing support for the ones affected. Find out more on their website: https://sepsistrust.org/.
One App - Four Countries
The 2019 app development internship program was even more interesting and also challenging because we decided to accept international students.
So this was our dev team, from four countries, involved in this internship program:
- UK – Simon was our contact from The UK Sepsis Trust, providing information, specs and feedback;
- USA – Jacob, our intern from California, passionate about software development and Swift – working on the iOS app;
- Israel – Adam, our intern from Israel, friend of Jacob, also passionate about software development and Swift – working on the iOS app together with Jacob;
- Romania: Radu, our intern from UPT passionate about Kotlin, working on the Android app. Marco & Adi from Cobalt Sign who took care of the project management and supervised the technical part, also helping out where necessary.
We believe this was a great learning opportunity for our interns to be involved in a real-life project, to work in a distributed, remote team across multiple timezones and to improve their coding skills. We will share more about Radu, Jacob and Adam’s experience here at Cobalt Sign soon, in another blog post. Stay tuned!
The main purpose of the app was to assist the UKST in its mission of educating, informing and providing support and raising awareness about sepsis.
It contains valuable information about sepsis, all structured in one place, for professionals and for general public alike. The users can learn how to protect themselves and their loved ones from sepsis, how to spot the signs of infection and where to find support if needed.
We started early discussions with the NGO to define the needs, then create the user stories. Then, we proposed a wireframe and afterwards a UI design taking into account their branding guidelines and materials. All this happened in early summer, and we got all things organized in Basecamp which is a super useful project management tool which we frequently use.
The iOS app was developed using Swift programming language, the Android app was made in Kotlin, while the backend was done using Google Firebase. They both have the same functionalities and design. It all took about 10 weeks from starting the internship/app development process to publishing the app on the app stores.
We structured all the information into separate screens, each having a slightly different audience or purpose.
The app home screen contains the organisation’s latest campaigns and a donate button to help them raise funds which is an important aspect for the NGO. The main navigation is a tab bar containing the options Home, Sepsis and About which are the main screens and More which shows other available actions.
The Sepsis page contains general information about sepsis, how to spot the sign in adults and children and also frequently asked questions about sepsis. This supports the education and awareness objectives of UKST.
The organisation also offers support & education and organizes meetings for those who are recovering from sepsis and those who have lost a loved one as a result of sepsis. The About screen contains information about their campaigns, training sessions, fundraising events, volunteering and partnerships.
The information displayed in the app can be updated real-time. We also implemented push notifications and in-app messages so the UKST can quickly and easily communicate to the app users.
So here it is, download the app and let us know what you think. 😊
Creating app development internship opportunities that are both meaningful for our students and helpful for the community, is our main objective.
We’re happy that we were able to develop the app and we hope it will help UKST in their fight against sepsis. We’re also proud of the team’s effort for working with different timezones, remotely and with participants from 4 different countries to develop the app and publish it before World Sepsis on September 13.
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