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SPR Newsletter – Looped In – Q3 2013

Author: wpdev Posted In: Culture

November 2013

Crain’s Chicago Business and SPR Consulting Launch iPad App

About the app
Crain Chicago Business and SPR Consulting launched a new Crain’s app for iPad, the first iPad app for the brand, atop a new unified publishing platform. Developed in partnership by SPR Consulting and the interactive digital team at Crain’s, the powerful new app touts complete content from Crain’s Chicago Business weekly print edition and breaking news from its website.

Download the Crain’s Chicago Newsstand app from the App Store

“We knew we wanted an iPad app that reflected the Crain’s brand: exceptional quality, rich content delivered in a targeted, useful format that is forward-thinking and modern.

We selected SPR Consulting as our partner because of its deep roots in enterprise application development, user experience and mobile technology. We knew the SPR Consulting team would work exceptionally well with our digital staff and help bring our vision to life.”
– David Snyder, Publisher, Crain’s Chicago Business

Interactive Capabilities of the Crain’s iPad App

  • Automatic overnight updates deliver fresh content each morning
  • Full offline functionality lets readers access Crain’s news anytime, anywhere
  • Breaking news is refreshed hourly and continuously updated
  • Extensive multimedia content includes galleries, slideshows, and video
  • Readers can browse according to their preference by scanning headlines or reading full articles
  • Navigation between publication sections is fast and easy
  • Unique page-flipping technique allows users to browse page–by-page
  • Crain’s famous business lists are specially formatted for tablet readability
  • Portrait and landscape orientation modes accommodate user preferences
  • The app integrates with all of Crain’s advertising partners so ads have full functionality
  • Non-subscribers can sample free content upon download, then purchase a subscription via the App Store or at ChicagoBusiness.com
  • Existing Crain’s subscribers can register to unlock full access to content

Learn more about the features and functionality of the Crain’s iPad app.

SPR Consulting Services

SPR Consulting provides the following enterprise services:

  • Agility Coaching and Transformation
  • Mobile Solutions
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Enterprise Software
  • Big Data

Partner with SPR Consulting to bring your interactive project to life. Contact us at 312-756-1760 ext. 316 to arrange a meeting.

Apple and iPad are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Working on the Inside: SPR Consulting’s Rob Wenc and the Crain’s iPad App Team

Rob WencPutting together a cutting-edge iPad app featured by Apple and recognized by national publications is no small task. Just ask Rob Wenc, principal at SPR Consulting. As project manager overseeing the Crain’s Chicago Newsstand app development team, Rob’s skills and industry background resulted in yet another successful project for SPR Consulting’s team.

Rob joined SPR Consulting in 2009, bringing over a decade of industry experience developing cutting edge solutions for numerous clients. The Crain’s iPad app project was the perfect fit for Rob’s range of development and leadership skills.

Assembling the team
Creating the Crain’s app and transitioning it to Crain’s internal team required a team of three developers, two designers and a range of quality assurance (QA) and testing professionals to ensure everything worked seamlessly. The core team consisted of five people: Zach Siegel, Eduardo Scoz, Ashley Lewis and Ryan Gury. Rob’s expertise was crucial to assembling the team, which gelled top-notch design, architecture and development resources to create an incredible app.

Going the extra mile
Working on the Crain’s app meant regular communication and coordination for Rob between his core design and development team, the internal Crain’s team and its parent company — spanning several cities and time zones. The SPR Consulting team took a cyclical approach to the design and architecture of the app, communicating and presenting ideas during weekly sprint review meetings with Crain’s.

Rob’s team worked tirelessly on design iterations — discovery items, navigation, icons, typography, social sharing — complete with the ability to test how new developments would function on an actual iPad. They held weekly design scrums to present and test out these new designs and developments, a process that helped them make swift decisions on how to move on and what to present to Crain’s.

Seamless development
No project is without its hiccups, but the team deftly handled any questions or concerns that came their way. Rather than developing an app that worked independently from existing infrastructure, Rob led the group to develop an app that worked seamlessly with Crain’s existing infrastructure and publishing platform. The ability to work with the Crain’s infrastructure also made the app itself a more flexible solution for the Crain’s family of companies. It was a critical component of this project — the app was not designed solely for use by Crain’s Chicago — SPR Consulting built a publishing platform that can be (and has been) used by the entire Crain Communications family of publications — including the Advertising Age iPad app.

Throughout the process, the SPR Consulting team worked to streamline functionality of the app. Whether it was decreasing download times from minutes to seconds, or finding better ways to integrate with the Crain’s infrastructure, they didn’t miss any opportunity to enhance the app.

Preparing for the transition
Post-launch, a smaller portion of the SPR Consulting team worked with Crain’s over a six-month period in maintenance and support mode, making the platform stronger, further reducing download times and adding new features while fixing any bugs that came up. Toward the end of maintenance and support mode, Crain’s hired its own iOS development programmers, and SPR Consulting worked to transfer knowledge by training staff on app functionality and all aspects of development. Crain’s now confidently manages the entire platform internally — freeing Rob and Zac and others that worked on the Crain’s app to focus on new solutions and solve new challenges for other SPR Consulting mobile app clients.

Receiving props
The ultimate success indicators for an app are positive reviews and recognition. Reviews have praised the interface and ease of use, and most notably, Apple featured the Advertising Age version of the app in its first position on the Newsstand in the App Store. For several days, it was featured as the #1 app in the rotator, and was the #1 listing in the magazine section as well.

SPR Consulting Managing Director Matthew Mead characterized the project result this way: “The high degree of open communication between the Crain’s and SPR Consulting teams was critical to the delivery and ultimate overall satisfaction of the client. Close collaboration kept the project goals aligned and resulted in an app that both Crain’s and Ad Age are proud to offer their mobile subscribers.”

The Crain’s app team at SPR Consulting exemplifies the company’s commitment to excellence for both the client and the talented teams that work on important client projects.