With the Craftnote App we have developed a chat-like app to exchange texts, images, audio, video and documents. The aim is to digitize the craft and construction industry by enabling all members of a project to communicate with each other via chat. Registration is possible via e-mail address. When a user logs in for the first time, he is asked whether push notifications and location access of the app are allowed or not. A navigation bar leads through the Craftnote App with the categories Projects, Search, Archive and More.
When the app is started, the Projects category opens automatically. Here you can see an overview of all created projects, which can be sorted chronologically by creation date, last opened, last edited (as with Whatsapp, for example, new messages are always at the top) or alphabetically. Once the access to the user’s location is approved, projects can also be sorted by distance. This gives the user the option of being automatically displayed at the top of nearby construction sites.
Creating a new project
The user can create a new project by clicking on the plus button at the bottom right of the screen. For each newly created project, a name and a color tag must be specified. In addition, the following information can be added:
- The address of the client by manual entry or via GPS function
- Colour tag for the project
- Name, e-mail address and telephone number of the customer
- billing address
- Project participants (by reading the contacts on the terminal)
Once all information is entered, the project is created and appears in the project overview. Even if there is no connection to the Internet, the projects are saved and uploaded to the server at a later time. The project manager can change and update the project data at any time. If members are invited to the project, they will be informed by email. If a user has already registered, the project appears directly in the overview.
From the project overview, the user can easily access the project chats by clicking on the respective project. In this chat all participants can send messages, files, photos, videos or voice messages to each other. You can also search for specific words within the chat, click on the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of the screen. This allows the user to filter for messages and optionally also specify the type, period and user from which these messages should originate. Also at the top right there are three small dots arranged next to each other. If the user clicks on these points, the previous project information appears, which can be edited here. Another function is to navigate to the specified address added to the project. All you need to do is access Google Maps or maps. If the project is no longer current, it can be archived or deleted.
Search and Archive
In the general search in the app, individual projects can be found by entering the name of the project above. This searches for both active projects and archived projects. The archive lists all projects that have already been archived. You can also filter by creation date, last opened, last edited or alphabetically. Each project can be restored in the overview, moving it back to the active projects.
In this category you can manage your app settings and view privacy information. It is also possible to contact the support if there are any questions regarding the app. Furthermore, the explanatory video, which is shown after registration, can be viewed here again. Further options are the emptying of the cache and the logout. At the bottom of the screen, the user can see which version of the app is currently being used.
Google Firebase was used as mBaaS for the implementation of the app, which saved development costs. The apps for Android and iOS were developed natively with Java and Swift. The app has also been optimized for offline use, with which users can also use all functions offline. The files are uploaded or downloaded asynchronously; a queue has been created here in which the various files / documents / images / voice messages can be downloaded. Sent images in the chat are scaled down locally on the end devices. This feature reduces the amount of data sent, especially for mobile use outside a WLAN.
InVision was used to create click models of the app.
When designing this app, the focus was on creating a simple and clear design. Another goal was to optimize the Craftnote App for older or smaller mobile devices. This was implemented with two different themes, so the user has the choice between a dark and a bright theme, depending on the lighting conditions on the construction site. The bright theme is active by default.
The Craftnote App is available for download from the Google Play Store for Android and the App Store for iOS. There is also a version for desktop and PC that runs in all common browsers.