Absenteo

A Web App that simplifies the management of absences and substitutes in schools.

Brand IdentityProduct StrategySoftware DevelopmentUI DesignUX Design

An application that simplifies management processes in schools

Absenteo, a company started by two local entrepreneurs, one of whom is a school principal, is on a mission to revolutionize and optimize management processes in schools.

With a solid business plan in hand, the Absenteo team approached NOVO to develop a web application that would allow education staff, including substitutes, managers, and employees, to manage absence requests and substitutes on the same user-friendly platform.

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Immersing ourselves to fully understand users’ needs

Before jumping into design and development, it was important that our teams understand the needs of all types of users. An application that seemed simple at first blush turned out to be a real challenge that we were excited to take on.

During contextual inquiries and workshops conducted by our UX team in collaboration with Absenteo, we learned about the challenges that schools face, such as the multitude of stakeholders, information sharing, communication, and the use of multiple unconnected platforms. Empathy maps and personas were created so that all the team members would have a common understanding of the users’ needs.

Defining the user experience and architecture

Based on the personas, we defined the information architecture and user flows, with the goal of covering all the possible interactions with the application across all user profiles. These design activities were carried out with the active involvement of the Absenteo team on the Miro collaboration app.

The outcome of all this work was a comprehensive application architecture that set the stage for the interface design and development. This definition process also helped the Absenteo team build a solid business model that was tailored to their target market and that took all stakeholders into account.

Developing the brand image

Since the company was just launching, Absenteo needed to craft their image before developing the application. Thanks to the strategic work that had been done beforehand, our designers proposed a brand image that reflected Absenteo’s values. They also developed a brand style guide and interface ergonomics guide that would translate into an appealing experience for the web app users.

Designing the user interface

Building on the architecture, user flows, and branding, our interface designers began creating wireframes to position elements and test interactions with a bare-bones prototype of the application. These preliminary mockups ensured that the navigation was intuitive before we got too deep into design and development. This approach is conducive to making quick adjustments and optimizing the user experience.
After the wireframes were tested and approved alongside the UX and software development teams, our designers were able to start working on the UI design of the application, which is normally a very exciting step for the client. It was at this point that the application started taking shape and the design could be refined. The logo, colors, fonts, navigation, and layout were then passed on to our developers to integrate.

Developing the application

While all this strategy and design work was happening, our technical software development team weren’t just twiddling their thumbs. The technology, in this case a progressive web application (PWA), and the programming languages were selected with an eye to making the platform modular and scalable.

The development plan was split into three phases:

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Phase 1 Development

The software architecture was quickly put in place, giving the developers an overview of the functionalities to integrate. With the team still taking an Agile development approach, the development plan for Phase 1 of the project was ready to be executed.

The main features of the app, such as the login system and account management, were developed in parallel with the designers’ work to save time. By basing ourselves on the Agile methodology and development sprints, features were created and tested faster, which meant the clients could get their hands on a minimum viable product (MVP) within a short timeframe. This version of the application covered the different user paths for absentees, substitutes, and managers. After we had integrated all the features slated for Phase 1, iterated the content numerous times, and tested everything on a development environment, the application was finally ready to launch!

Absenteo was able to use this initial version of the platform to quickly establish a foothold in the market. After just a few months, the company had already brought on several school service centers as clients. COVID-19 also played an important role in this phase. Absenteo’s clients quickly recognized the added value and flexibility of having the platform to manage teacher absences due to COVID. Our software team quickly implemented new features to meet new pandemic-related needs.

Phase 1 Development
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Phase 2 Development
Phase 2 of the project consisted of improving Absenteo’s offering and responding to customer requests that came up in Phase 1. Adding new administration features, account restrictions, and more in-depth user management were among the needs that the Absenteo team and their clients identified. Given the modularity of our code, our development team was able to implement these new features quickly and efficiently.
Phase 2 Development
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Phase 3 Development
Phase 3 was planned to implement new modules and reach a wider market by meeting new customer needs. NOVO supported Absenteo in building a development plan, as well as mentoring its internal team for future development in this phase.
Phase 3 Development

The result

Collaborating with NOVO enabled Absenteo to reach the market quickly with a minimum viable product, all while continuing to build its business model on a solid foundation. The fantastic work of the co-founders and the application designed by NOVO helped their business find new customers, generate revenue, and then use that success to seek funding, which will undoubtedly open new horizons for Absenteo.
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school service centres
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active users
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new employees

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