The Cessna Aircraft Company asked TopCoder to develop an aircraft cataloging and pricing application for the iPad. The specifications called for a touch-friendly interface that would allow users to store and retrieve a multitude of details about an inventory of aircraft, including specialized data on operational parameters and an intricate calculation of fixed and total costs.
TopCoder's competitive community of application architects and graphic designers reduced the complexity of the application to a set of color-coded, logically ordered pages tailored to the iPad's display format. Developers then competed to rapidly prototype and assemble the app.
"It was a heck of a lot to get done in six weeks," said Janelle Beczak, the client's IT Manager for Mobile Apps.
The global consulting firm Accenture required a tablet-based application that would guide users on an interactive exploration of the Accenture Innovation Centers. TopCoder began the development process by wireframing the user flow and designing a full set of interface screens.
Greenlee, a major manufacturer of industrial and electrical tools, sought to develop a mobile application that would assist contractors in simulating pipe bends. This allows the correct pipe fittings to be selected for the constraints of a given application. Greenlee wanted a more powerful and mobile solution than the Excel spreadsheets that were previously used to carry out pipe bending calculations.
TopCoder translated the spreadsheet formulas into an intuitive representation that allows users to manipulate the simulated pipe bends not just as numbers, but as a visual depiction of what the pipe would actually look like. The designers of TopCoder Studio competed to develop a compact, smartphone-friendly interface that allows workers and engineers to quickly calculate the most suitable pipe bends in the field.
Here at TopCoder, we like to eat our own cooking. We use the same competitive process for internal projects as we do to develop top-notch software for external clients. When the need arose for our members to participate in TopCoder activities while on the go, we naturally turned to the community itself to develop the TopCoder mobile app. We required an app that would allow members to easily browse contest listings, read news, and participate in the forums, all within a smartphone's display area.
After designing the interface through wireframing and storyboarding contests, we had our developers build a cross-platform app that targets both iOS and Android phones with little additional effort. The cross-platform approach has proven to be valuable as we continue to refine and expand the TopCoder app in response to member requests.