WillowTree - innovation mobile and digital product agency review
Digital products are services or tools that users interact with through a digital environment. Simple words, the digital product combines the concept of a product and a service and provides value for users to solve specific customer problems through a digital interaction point. Creating a digital product is a complex and lengthy process that requires an appropriate level of knowledge and skills, so it is not surprising that a business seeks help from specialized development agencies to create one.
Key facts about WillowTree
|Service lines||Web Development, Mobile Development, Design, Custom Development, Quality Assurance|
|Avg. hourly rate||$150 - $199|
|Location||Charlottesville, VA, USA|
WillowTree - is a team of 300+ award-winning mobile strategists, UX/UI designers, and software engineers with over 12 years of experience in web, mobile development, QA & testing, consulting, and support. Specializing in providing frontend web development, and mobile backend engineering the company has over 1000 different projects in its portfolio. Also, it should be noticed that WillowTree is a world-known agency and its partnership with the world’s technology leaders, including Google, Microsoft, Roku, SAP, and Adobe.
Services provided by WillowTree
- Mobile Strategy
The company specializes in providing mobile strategy services, having extensive experience in creating enterprise solutions, web tools, and mobile applications. The company's mobile product strategy is aimed at the needs and desires of users, which are determined through a thorough, in-depth study of the business model, market problems, and positioning of the business to create a product that will provide the customer’s brand with unique value. The process of development and implementation of mobile product strategy includes several interrelated steps:
- Strategic product definition - the stage of determining the product that will interest the audience and will bring results for the client occurs through the introduction of numerous company tactics, including strategy workshop, product vision, user-centered research, competitive landscape, concept labs, feature prioritization, and roadmap recommendation.
- User-centered research - to understand clients' needs, the WillowTree team uses user interviews, journey mapping, persona definition, field ethnography, ride-along, usability testing, surveys.
- Business & market insights - to understand the client’s strengths in market conditions, the company studies the market to provide the product with qualities that could give the client an advantage over competitors. To do this, the team uses business goal determination, competitive and industry analysis, success criteria definition, market opportunity assessment, analyst insights, and many more tactics.
- Feature prioritization - after concept validation has been determined, the process of determining the priority and cost of introducing a particular function takes place. At this stage, the team uses such tactics as ideation, friction identification, feature definition, technical architecture mapping, technical dependencies assessment, product road mapping, data flow planning, and loyalty program strategy.
- Content strategy - a content strategy involves identifying the content elements of the client's digital product, as well as ensuring that the content is provided to users at the right time and in the right format. At this stage, the team performs existing content audits, mobile branding recommendations, messaging architecture, app indexing, content strategy statement, workflow mapping, and content report tactics.
- Data opportunity strategy - this stage provides the opportunity to get useful information about potential customers and users (age, income distribution) through mobile and other platforms.
- Research panel
- Product Design
When developing a design for their products, the WillowTree team adheres to the main principles of design development, which answers to such questions as is the design innovative? Is the design created "for centuries"? Does the design concept match the unique features of the client's brand? The answers to all these questions are given during the development of user experience design, visual design, motion design, prototyping, content design, design systems, voice, chatbots, and multimodal UI.
User experience design - at this stage, the company continues to make sure that the product meets the goals of the client’s business. To this end, even after the mobile strategy development, the WillowTree team provides services such as behavioral data analysis, personalization architecture, product map, wireframe, user flow.
Visual and motion design - the WillowTree aims to provide not only a multi-functional product with perfect code but also take care of its appearance. To make the product compelling and delightful, the team provides a design workshop, visual design concept, typography system, custom iconography, UI elements, style guide.
Prototyping - the team provides the development of many different prototypes, including sales prototype, concept video, internal prototype, proof-of-concept, and market prototype.
Content design - working with content and design, the WillowTree team integrates them into the product using content modeling, copywriting, content matrix, push notification strategy, style guide, app store optimization.
Design Systems - necessary for the continuous iteration and development of the product, which is achieved through the creation of a user-friendly interface. Design systems include typography, color, iconography, button systems, pacing, illustration style, motion, sound, components, and patterns.
Voice, Chatbots & Multimodal UI - the WillowTree team specializes in Amazon Lex, Microsoft LUIS, Facebook, Wit.ai, IBM Watson, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, Conversational UI, and more.
- Growth Marketing
The company aims to provide customer-focused growth solutions in order to maximize product lifecycle value. WillowTree provides growth marketing services for various clients among which are Segment, Branch, FOX, Regal and more. WillowTree growth marketing services include:
- Growth Discovery (business outcomes workshops, product-market fit groundwork, behavioral research and analysis, customer journey mapping, persona development, go-to-market strategies, loyalty program development);
- Growth Implementation (technology capabilities gap analysis, growth stack integration and optimization, audience segmentation taxonomy, data management, and governance, event tracking specifications);
- Growth Execution (CRM and audience management, cross-channel campaign orchestration, marketing automation, personalization, campaign Ideation, execution, and optimization, performance iteration, modeling, and reporting).
- Custom App Development
One of the key WillowTree services is enterprise custom app development. They are experienced in creating systems architecture, iOS development, Android development, Xamarin development, SAP mobile development, UWP development, and interactive TV development. To this end, the team of award-winning engineers uses the power of such technologies like Java, Android Wear, Chromecast, C#, Xamarin.iOS, Xamarin.Android, Xamarin.Forms, Swift, Objective-C, Apple Watch, and much more.
In addition to the above services, the company also specializes in providing:
Mobile backend engineering. When creating mobile applications, WillowTree API architects focus primarily on creating a robust backend foundation. WillowTree guarantees backend quality for middleware-based approach, or a built-from-scratch custom solution, developers focus on several key areas that meet the requirements of the product. The process of creating a robust backend foundation is based on the principles of reliability, integration, scaling, flexibility, and security. The WillowTree backend engineers expertise in providing Amazon Web Services, Cloud Computing, CouchDB, Microsoft Azure, MongoDB, MySQL, Oracle, SAP Data Services.
QA and testing. WillowTree has its own team of QA testers who take part in the development process both from the first days of cooperation and after launch. To conduct testing, the team uses both automatic and manual testing, uses such tools and expertise as Testrail, Charles proxy, XCTest UI, Espresso, Selenium, Appium, Calabash, AWS Device Farm, Xamarin Test Cloud, Firebase Test Lab, Sauce Labs Real Device Cloud.
Security & compliance. The company offers its own approach to ensure the security of the client’s project, and uses tactics such as BlackDuck, Checkmarx, netsparker, Internal audits and pen testing, Code logic obfuscation and encryption, Response, continuity, and disaster recovery plans, Industry standards compliance (OWASP, PCI, HIPAA, NIST, FFIEC).
- Web Development
A feature of the company web solutions is web applications that supersede websites. Thanks to the vast and growing set of powerful APIs, as well as the advent of HTML5, CSS3, HTTP / 2, Responsive Design, Progressive Web Apps, and Universal Apps, the applications created by the company get even more previously inaccessible features that allow web applications to compete with desktop features and native apps for iOS and Android. The team specializes in the development of streaming audio and video, desktop applications, voice assistants, IoT, wearable, and cross-platform "hybrid" applications.
The company's web development services include:
- Systems architecture
- React - Isomorphic/Universal apps, Redux, Flow, React router, CSS modules, TypeScript, React Native development;
- Front-end web development - React, Angular, responsive web development, Accessibility, TypeScript, HTML5, Web Workers, CSS animations, progressive web apps, SaaS;
- Accessibility - Usability requirement gathering, Low-vision personas, Usability testing with visually impaired users, Automated accessibility testing, iOS, and Android accessibility, JAWS and NVDA, ARIA best practices;
- QA and testing - Testrail, Charles proxy, XCTest UI, Espresso, Selenium, Appium, Calabash, AWS Device Farm, Xamarin Test Cloud, Firebase Test Lab, Sauce Labs Real Device Cloud;
- Security & compliance - BlackDuck, Checkmarx, netsparker, Internal audits, and pen testing, Code logic obfuscation and encryption, Response, continuity, and disaster recovery plans, Industry standards compliance (OWASP, PCI, HIPAA, NIST, FFIEC).
- Emerging Tech / Prototyping
The most advanced technologies are capable of producing the most effective results, both for the client and future users, therefore, the company provides the opportunity to introduce revolving capabilities in short engagements. The WillowTree team specializes in everything from voice, chatbots & multimodal UI to the Internet of Things integrations.
Voice, chatbots and home assistants are not new anymore, and as practice shows, such smart solutions will find even more feedback among users. That is why WillowTree specialists deeply integrated text, voice, and screen-based experiences including multimodal, immersive & blended UX. The WillowTree team specializes in developing advanced solutions as Amazon Lex, Microsoft LUIS, Facebook, Wit.ai, IBM Watson, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik, and Conversational UI.
Data science is an integral part of an effective marketing strategy, which is why the team focuses on processing all the data provided by the client, regardless of volume. This is possible due to modern sets of tools and tactics, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, data-driven persona discovery, insight generation, domain data, non-domain data, user/product matrix, differential privacy, targeted probability judgments that allow you to analyze data and provide an individual approach optimized for each user.
IoT and connected devices are another technology of the future that is available to us today, and the WillowTree team is trying to integrate it into their products. Due to the team skills, the company specializes in providing services for the development of mobile product strategy, UX design, Android Things, IoT protocols, communications protocols, native app development, web development, and QA.
National Geographic - the brand with more than 131 years of history, needed an advanced and convenient approach to providing readers with quality content. So, WillowTree was faced with the task of creating a solid, extensible mobile app platform, which would be accessible to readers around the world.
From the very beginning, the team set itself the goal of creating an application with a solid foundation, which would be reliable, easy to use, and available on both mobile phones and tablets. The created app allows National Geographic to deliver on multiple platforms, and to efficiently support the content of various forms, including editorial, and video.
Thanks to the efforts of the team, a better understanding of the general consumer journey was achieved. Analytics from the app allows NatGeo to understand the audience's needs and to update the content on time, as well as attract new readers thanks to a convenient way to obtain information - directly through the application, which contains all the content.
Also, the company was able to significantly improve the technical and strategic capabilities of National Geographic thanks to robust backend and seamless frontend. Besides, an increase in agility and speed was achieved.
In general, during the app creation process, the team provided mobile strategy, iOS development, Android development, product discovery, API development, product design, growth enablement services.
Consider the project that was created by the company for the American movie theater chain Regal. Thanks to a WillowTree team of professionals, the client was able not only to achieve the goal of mastering the customer experience but also to see the real results of its implementation.
The goal of the 5-year cooperation was the need to modernize the Regal movie-going experience across all channels and thus strengthen customer loyalty. Together, the company and the client managed to do an incredible job, including optimizing the possibilities of mobile placement and purchase of tickets, modernizing the loyalty program, and also improving the AR experience on iOS and Android devices.
To increase user loyalty to the product, it was decided to gamify the loyalty experience. To this end, the team made efforts to improve the design, incorporating the latest recommendations on the mobile design from Google and Apple. This, in turn, helped to keep the client's focus on the Regal application.
Having paid much attention to the areas of strategy and product development, the team managed to accelerate the release of the product and its presentation on the App Store. The product was recognized as “App of the Day” in the App Store and became the second-highest install in a day app in history. Also, the Regal application has received recognition by such awards as Webby, Communicator, and W3.
As a result, there was an increase in monthly YOY customer loyalty by 20.8%, an increase in active users during AR activation campaigns by 100%, as well as an increase in mobile ticket purchases by 290%.
Wyndham - the world’s largest hotel brand turned to WillowTree to unify a global loyalty program. The goal of the collaboration was to unite the individual branded customer loyalty apps of the Wyndham Hotel Group into one application that would satisfy the needs of more than 77 million users. By creating a corporate architecture focused on mobile devices, WillowTree narrowed the gap between existing applications in terms of technical requirements for system integration and UX consolidation to create a single unified product.
Besides that, the team also worked on redesigning the Wyndham Rewards app, to create a unified Wyndham Rewards experience, as well as increasing customer retention through simplified customer loyalty experiences, which contribute to better user experience with applications, earning reward points and participating in promotions.
In the process of creating the project and its implementation on the market, the company provided such services as iOS development, Android development, custom app development, Middleware integrations, product design, loyalty strategy. As a result of cooperation with WillowTree, the client could observe such results as a decrease in the number of application crashes by 95%, as well as an increase in the percentage of users of the Wyndham application by 241%.