Jan 26, 2021

Parenting, a Leading Brand in Parent-Child Education, Collaborates with 5xRuby to Create Children Audiobook Services

Parenting collaborates with 5xRuby to Create Children Audiobook Services

Since 2008, Parenting has been offering high-quality content and social media platform management and continues to launch new products and services, while offering meaningful services to parents and educators. It aims to become the No. 1 brand in parenting and education services in the Chinese-speaking world. 

In the digital era, as the problems and demands faced by parents and educators increase daily, Parenting is committed to improving children’s learning ability, continuing to innovate products that substantially help parents and educators. The company also examines and selects products to serve as a bridge for its ideals to be spread outside Taiwan, while bringing the corporate vision to overseas Chinese-speaking communities.  

During a child’s growth, children’s books serve as indispensable teaching materials that help them understand the world. In addition, the stimulation of pictures and words along with audio and video enable comprehensive development of children both physically and mentally. Therefore, audiobooks for children are an optimal first step for Parenting.

In the past, Parenting had commissioned a third party to assist in developing an app to serve as a children’s audiobook platform. However, the initial design lacked flexibility - the business model could not be adjusted and the app did not support offline playing expected by customers. 

Now, customers are looking forward to an adjusted business model and the creation of a sustainable product. In the selection of collaborative partners, how a candidate can offer a development service that meets the ideals of Parenting is paramount. In the past, the company’s development team had not been developing digital products themselves. Customers would like to use this opportunity to enable teams to accumulate real-world experience and increase their overall technical abilities.

After talking with over three potential cooperation partners, the client decided to cooperate with 5xRuby, who proved to have the deepest understanding of their technology and business model. The customer’s goal was for its team to take over operations in the future. As a result, the 5xRuby team was asked to consider technology transfer. Regarding task allocation, the development department of Parenting would write the back end, whereas 5xRuby would be responsible for the front end. Thus, the journey of collaboration between the two teams began.

Children Audiobook App

Photo from:https://storyapp.parenting.com.tw/

Generally speaking, for an app to support two platforms using different languages, two sets of human resources are needed for the development. To more rapidly and effectively achieve the goals, React Native was selected for the development of this project. Using it to develop an app suitable for two platforms at the same time ended up saving over 50% of the time compared to developing versions for iOS and Android separately. 

In addition, the major functions of this app are subscription and streaming. Streaming for general users is an extremely common function; however, it is challenging in its development. The degree of complexity involved in a streaming music player can actually serve as the main core of profit for a corporation. It requires dozens of people to develop. 5xRuby involved several senior engineers to assist in generating a player that met the needs. When it used the emerging technology of React Native, it discovered that the official company did not offer comprehensive support for some components, and it fixed them directly and used the repaired version for the customer’s  project. 

Among the bugs fixed by 5xRuby engineers, it even included basic problems of the framework itself. 

The front-end presentation of this project focuses on apps. To account for differences between different cell phone brands, engineers are required to adjust the user interface for each phone model. This became a huge challenge for this project. For example, to make it work on an iPhone, multiple adjustments were required to make the outcome meet the conceptual design.

To make a single change in a project involving multiple teams often affects multiple participants. As 5xRuby assisted its client, it was able to fully understand the client’s situation. If a coworker must leave its job temporarily, a substitute was immediately provided so that the development progress continued to push forward. Despite the fact that the client’s internal system was extremely complex, it was able to immediately achieve their goals, reinforce the strength of the customer’s team, and win trust. 

Notably, this project required both a front and back end. The common procedure is for the back end to first handle the application programming interface (API) needed for the front end. However, due to time constraints, when the front end started working, no API was available to connect to it. We drew from past experiences to imagine the possible look of the API and later asked the customer’s team to handle it. In the end, the two were connected seamlessly, and a lot of effort in integration was saved.

Due to the positive experience, the customer decided to sign a consulting contract with 5xRuby for it to assist the customer team resolve difficulties in optimizing the product after the project was completed.  This included incorporating new technology, improving codes, and helping the team achieve progress. 

The project supervisor of Parenting and the director of the Digital R&D Center, Michelle Lo, said, 

“5xRuby is an extremely trustworthy partner with its professional technological capabilities. During our collaboration, the capabilities of our own internal team also increased substantially as a result.” 

This statement revealed her profound trust in 5xRuby. 

The first version of the app was launched in November 2019. In February 2020, IAP was launched. To date, the system has accumulated over 15,000 paid users and nearly 100,000 downloads. 

Looking back at the time we cooperated with Parenting, we were greatly honored to be trusted by a leading brand in parenting and education and assist them in generating their first self-made digital product. We also accumulated more experience in implementing streaming services. Along our journey of improving industry know-how, we achieved a big step forward in our development.