We work with you from planning to execution. Our delivery times can be as short as a week.

Map-based services are developed in three phases. First we start off with an idea, then we work on the details. Finally we build a service that sweeps awards and doubles your business.

Mapdon supports you during all phases of the development process – in other words: in conception, prototyping and production. Read more on this page about the typical steps in the process, and about our services.

ConceptionConception or defining the goals of the project and the key features of the service

Stop. This is the most critical phase. Before we create any wireframe sketch or a line of code, it is crucial to spend some time on getting the story straight. What are we doing? Who is our target audience? And most importantly: Why are we doing this?

The purpose of concept planning is to save time and money towards the end of the project. The conception phase seeks answers to the most fundamental questions, such as who the users are and how will the service help them in practice.

Is the service used to sell something? Does it work as a search engine or a social platform? Are we talking about an index for other services, or does the map help users to find the way? By answering these and many other questions we ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows their roles in the next phases.

Mapdon created a service for Architecture Information Centre Finland that presents architectural highlights on a mobile-friendly map. The work was kicked off by identifying the users and their needs – who would use the architectural map, and what purpose would it serve?

When the users had been identified and categorized, the next step was to focus on the content. How should we present architecture in the service? What kind of material already existed? What would the service offer for a tourist, a journalist, or the average Joe?

In the conception phase, existing architecture maps were benchmarked and the new service was positioned against the stakeholders’ own websites. This phase also involved an evaluation on who would produce and maintain the contents of the new service.

The result of the conception phase was a detailed description of the users, contents and functions of the upcoming service. The initial plans were brought to life with, for example wireframe sketches and screenshots from similar services.

Besides identifying the user groups and defining the core features, the conception phase seeks answers to numerous technical questions. For example, which devices will the visitors use, and which language options should be offered?

The results are collected into a concept plan, which describes the users, contents, functions and other relevant details of the service. The most important functionalities and characteristics of the user interface are usually visualized through wireframe sketches, flowcharts and other reference material.

PrototypingPrototyping or testing the features in practice and fine-tuning the details

When the vision is clear and the concept plan is done, we start to shake the hypotheses. Quick prototypes help us to focus on the critical features, and ensure we are on the right track.

The prototyping phase produces trial versions that look and feel like the real one. These functional prototypes allow us to simulate real-life use cases, collect feedback, and add to the understanding on the needs of users and other interest groups.

Feedback can be collected through, for example, interviews, surveys or automated analysis programs. The prototypes very quickly inform how the service is received, and how it is used in real situations. Which buttons do users tend to press first, and which ones remain untouched? Are we sure we did not forget anything crucial?

In the next phase, several test versions – with a real look and feel – were created. In reality they were still missing all the back-end technologies, so for instance registering as a new user was not possible.

The aim was to make the first prototypes public as early as possible, to get feedback in terms of both quantity and quality: what sort of content was most interesting to the users, and how often were certain buttons pressed?

Many testers were asking after a possibility to create lists of their favorite buildings. A feature like this adds considerably to the workload of the project, though, so it was important to ensure that there would be real demand for it.

A polished test version was released in the end of the prototyping phase. Making the prototype public allowed us to collect more feedback and build audience for the service prior to its actual release.

The prototyping phase tends to focus on the features visible to the user, such as the landing page and other key features and contents. This is also where the visualist steps in: graphic designer, interface designer, or other expert in all matters visual.

The underlying idea of prototyping is to recognize false assumptions as early as possible. At the same time it ensures we are not wasting time or money on the wrong things in the production phase. The result of the prototyping is a clear understanding on the critical features of the service, marking the steps to implement the service and a heads-up to guide investment decisions.

ProductionProduction or building the finalized service and making things happen

The production phase starts with agreeing on the technical requirements and building the back-end systems accordingly. Then, the service is implemented – meaning written out into a program code.

The biggest difference between a prototype and the real service is that the prototype most often has no content management system, or other backend technologies. This is due to the fact that setting up these systems often consumes the most time and money in the project.

During the production phase, the service, website or application is tested continuously on various devices and platforms, test programs and user groups. Experiments, evaluation and fine-tuning go on until the end result meets both the technical quality criteria and the users’ requirements.

The production phase must find answers to even the smallest technical details. Should we use an existing platform, or build a new one? The platform chosen for the architectural map was WordPress, which was the easiest to use and already familiar to the moderators.

In the production phase, the interface is polished pixel by pixel. This is also the last window to secure the tone of voice: images, colors, font sizes, shapes, menus, map markers and other forms of communication that impact the user experience.

The production phase involves testing the service with both automated test programs and real users. The aim is to ensure that the service works on the desired devices, looks good and functions in the way it should, regardless of the device.

The outcome of the process is a shiny, brand-new service that is ready to sweep awards and double your business! Shall we put your company on the map next?

Normally the prototyping and production phases run side by side – the prototyping phase might already produce some code that is usable for the final version. On the other hand, the production phase might involve redoing the most critical features over and over again, until the service is ready to be launched.

The production phase usually continues past the release, as the final feedback comes from the outside, and possibly leads to some last fine-tuning. It is also good to remember that a digital service is never really ready – the service providers should come up with a maintenance and development plan at the very latest during the production phase.

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