PepTalk

Motivation platform for leaders and teams

CATEGORY

Web Application

CLIENT
PepTalk
YEAR

2020

SERVICES

Product Workshop
Prototyping
MVP Development
Web Development
Quality Assurance

BACKEND

Django
AWS Fargate
AWS Cloudfront
AWS Lambda
Serverless
Twilio
Timekit
Stripe

FRONTEND

Gatsby.js
GraphQL
React
Redux

Overview

Peptalk is a web platform where you can book online PepTalks delivered by experts, including world-class athletes, best-selling authors, and renowned entrepreneurs. PepTalks range from personalized one-to-one sessions to virtual keynotes for entire teams. Whether you want to foster your own wellbeing or boost your team’s creativity, Peptalk can provide the nudge to achieve your goals.

Product workshop & software prototyping

PepTalk’s founders approached us in 2019 to discuss their product idea. We have previously collaborated on different projects, so they trusted our technical expertise and project management skills. 

We kicked off the project with a product workshop, something we often recommend to our clients. The goal was to validate the technical feasibility of the client’s early concept for the app. Initially, they envisioned their product as a native mobile app. However, the prototype we’ve built showed that a web app would be more feasible.  

Thanks to the workshop and prototypes, we were able to approach the software development stage of the project with a clear plan for the MVP and a tech toolkit we were confident in.

MVP Development

In order to soft-launch Peptalk, we had to build a website and an app for both clients and experts. The main features we focused on were scheduling, purchasing, and delivering PepTalks. Collaborating with PepTalk’s Product Owner and following the principles of agile project management, we were able to continuously deliver tested functionalities and respond to change requests quickly. 

Once the early version of the product was ready, the client started gathering feedback from early reviewers. Based on the customers’ voice, we made some adjustments to the product, e.g., to the booking flow.

Technical challenges and how we solved them

One of the priorities for our client was to make sure that Peptalk’s website is visible in search engines and that the browsing experience is great. Our solution for this need was to use Gatsby.js, a React-based framework that helps us build static sites that load fast and are efficient for search engine crawlers. The site’s great performance anywhere on the planet was further boosted by AWS Cloudfront—a fast content delivery network (CDN) solution. 

Of course, the content visible on PepTalk’s website, e.g., the list of available experts, needs to be regularly updated. We used Contentful as the CMS so that the client can edit the site freely. We’ve also figured out a way to make sure that the latest version of the website is rendered as a static page. Using GraphQL, we gather the changes from Contentful and notify AWS via a webhook that a new landing page should be rendered. In a matter of minutes, a new version of the website is served as a static page. 

One of the biggest challenges we had to solve was to manage the process of scheduling PepTalks. We needed to take many variables into account, including the expert’s availability and previous bookings or the fact that the expert and the person requesting the call might be in different time zones. The PepTalks themselves are operated via Twilio’s WebRTC-powered solution. This choice allowed us to configure different types of video calls (one-to-one, one-to-many) and create a custom interface. 

Yet another feature that was important to our client was managing payments from the clients and experts’ payouts. In order to securely handle different currencies and cross-border transactions, we used Stripe’s payouts capabilities. 

We’ve designed Peptalk’s infrastructure to be scalable, performant, and cost-effective using tools like AWS Fargate, the Serverless framework, and AWS Lambda. Epsagon enables us to keep track of what’s going in different elements of the architecture and monitor potential problems. 

Apptension’s team, consisting of frontend and backend developers as well as two QA specialists, made sure that Peptalk is properly tested and prepared for customers to use it. Testing video calls is challenging given the multitude of factors you have to consider, such as different devices, operating systems, and video calls’ features. Still, in the end, both us and the client were very happy with the level of quality we were able to deliver.

Product Ideation and Strategy

When we thought of building an educational, recycling-focused app for children, an AR game was the natural first choice. Young users enjoy mobile content, plus augmented reality would enable us to create an immersive and fun experience. Apptension’s R&D team took up the challenge of building Wasteworld within a short timeframe (6 weeks) using our own tool for augmented reality apps: App Scaffold.

Other projects

Data visualization software for New Economy Forum.
Trending mobile app for selling and buying pre-owned clothes
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