Collaborative Success: How Assemble Helped Chrono Create a Life-Changing iOS App
By Keith Karlick
Overview: integrating new systems into the current product roadmap
Chrono came to Assemble with a team, an ambitious product roadmap, and a passion for inspiring smokers to quit. Seeking iOS technical leadership, we became an extension of Chrono’s team, process, and culture. Team integration was fundamental in a successful collaboration; while Chrono focused on existing infrastructure and domain expertise (research and marketing around regulated drug delivery), Assemble delivered technical direction, implementation, and support.
Challenge: finding a way to connect an existing app with multiple tools and frameworks
Assemble worked with Chrono in creating an architecture plan to support integration-heavy iOS product requirements. While the app needed to talk to multiple back ends, analytics packages, and a Bluetooth framework, a service-agnostic architecture was prototyped and used throughout the app. Early planning and iterating were essential in refining the high-level architecture which relied on communicating across multiple dev teams. Chrono came to the table with an operational back end and team but a need for a CMS to drive localized app content. Assemble stepped in to create the CMS schema to integrate with Chrono’s back end, eventually influencing architecture to be more mobile-friendly.
Approach: advising on infrastructure, aesthetic, compliance, and development process
Assemble advised on several product concerns. An Internet of Things background influenced technical decisions behind Bluetooth integration and back-end infrastructure. An app store experience was necessary in balancing Apple’s human interface guidelines with a custom branding aesthetic. Diligence was needed in merging FDA approval with a traditional agile product development process. And proficiency with iOS best practices became an integral part of UX and design reviews.
Solution: build a fully integrated iOS app with input from in-house designers and provide ongoing maintenance
An iOS app was the keystone of Chrono’s strategy, and Assemble was there to put it together. In the early discovery stages, Assemble tackled multiple integrations—Bluetooth, back-end, and CMS—collaborating with several teams. Later development emphasized user experience and visual polish, integrating with Chrono’s in-house designers to advise and implement a style guide. While each stage had a unique purpose, Assemble and Chrono worked together to drive consistently strong engineering efforts. Chrono retained Assemble to provide technical guidance with the development of an Internet of Things platform and, ultimately, to implement key pieces of the system. After a multi-year engagement, the end results of this partnership were a highly-integrated iOS app ready for FDA clinical trials, a CMS to support content delivery and a number of process improvements to guide Chrono’s future roadmap.