A Scalable Lifesaver
For harbor

The emergency-preparedness mobile app leaving nothing to chance

With various crises affecting the U.S. every year, harbor helps Americans protect their families and homes via location-based, comprehensible suggestions. But because some emergencies are unpredictable, it was clear from the start that the app had to be fully dynamic and scalable to other platforms. Just like its users, the app itself needed to be ready for anything.

The Need

The U.S. has many natural disasters and man-made emergencies that threaten people across the country, and for which proper preparation is key. Apart from information provided by news broadcasts, there’s not much structured, easily-followed guidance out there. harbor’s founders wanted to help, and STRV came in to create a highly malleable product hand-in-hand with the harbor team.

harbor sought to compile the complex processes that guarantee safety in any emergency into one mobile app. And to avoid becoming an overwhelming list of tasks and necessities, the app had to gamify the process; preparation was to be gradual through quick activities users could get done once or so per week, and features/special events had to be easily added based on the emergency at hand. The app would also suggest what to look out for based on the user’s location, thereby only providing information relevant to the user.

The Challenge

After scoring a notable investment and becoming an extremely relevant tool due to COVID-19, the release of the harbor iOS app was assigned a strict, fast-approaching deadline. The scope of the project drastically expanded, priorities shifted at lightning speed and STRV was asked to deliver 13 engineers (plus QA testers and a product manager) in order to expedite development.

Our team needed to think fast, working closely with the client to establish product specifications. Many engineering endeavors preceded the final designs, which requires exceptional teamwork and experience. We also joined forces with harbor’s own engineering crew, balancing responsibilities with maximum efficiency to keep everything in line. And all of this was tackled while simultaneously keeping platform adaptation in mind; our engineers adapted the app’s business logic, code and testing to be scalable for other platforms if needed—like Android, web and smartwatch.

The STRV Solution

Due to the nature of the matter at hand, the app’s entire architecture had to be dynamic—a unique challenge from the engineering standpoint. Along with harbor’s team, STRV delivered, building a product with an advanced administration tool. Every screen, every user flow and view is dynamic. Admins can create content and build new events in cases of unprecedented or unexpected emergencies, without the need to incorporate engineers in the process.

harbor also comes with an intricate household management system. Users are able to invite other users to their “Household,” thereby ensuring that families have full access to all preparation plans and progress, step-by-step instructions in case of emergency and more. Because this content is also dynamic, the data is owned by the user and is only shared with other users once they’ve been invited to the Household.

Despite the time pressure and impromptu changes that affected the project, STRV never compromised on quality. Our engineers, testers and product manager remained in sync with the harbor team from start to finish, and we are honored to have dedicated our efforts into something that can truly save lives.

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