The English language service from Morocco’s first digital media outlet wanted a mobile app to increase their visibility and engage readers wherever they are. To reach a wider, more diverse audience, Hespress sought a sound strategy for quickly and cost effectively improving the performance of their mobile service.
Hespress turned to Very Good Ventures (VGV) and Google’s Flutter News Toolkit to create a better mobile experience using the Flutter platform. By leveraging their deep experience with open source projects, UI/UX design, and project management, VGV delivered a working app in only a month and a half.
Hespress deployed a more optimized, user-friendly mobile app that increases user engagement. Their development team accomplishes more with the resources at hand, positioning Hespress to add features and expand their digital media presence.
Becoming Morocco’s premier English language mobile news provider
The Hespress English language service team produces news articles, analysis, and feature stories for readers with a wide variety of interests—providing rich coverage of everything from politics and social issues to cultural, sports and regional happenings.
“We want to become Morocco’s premier English language news media outlet,” said Hespress social media manager Yassin Bendaoud. “Improving the mobile user experience and increasing the efficiency of back-end development are vital to achieving our goal.”
With audiences conditioned to expect every mobile news app to perform as well as those deployed by global media outlets, Hespress had its work cut out for it. “We needed to both grow our user base and migrate more of the English speaking audience to the mobile app,” said Bendaoud. “This requires providing faster access to Hespress English content via push notifications, instant updates, reduced load times, and limited ad-blockers.”
The development team first considered native development. The time and effort required led them to seek another solution. The Flutter News Toolkit offers news publishers a cost effective, accelerated method for launching a mobile app. With scalable best practices, ready-to-go core services, streamlined setup, and built-in news features, the toolkit levels the playing field for regional media outlets who need to deploy quickly.
“Even with all that this solution offers, small organizations like ours need help with UI/UX design, open source tools, and program management to realize the promise of the Flutter News Toolkit,” said Bendaoud.
Enter Very Good Ventures.
Partnering with Very Good Ventures to deploy quickly and smoothly
“Our project with VGV started through a collaboration with the Google News Initiative to create our first English service app,” said Bendaoud “They know us, and they know our aspirations, so we brought them in to help build our new mobile app using the Flutter News Toolkit.”
VGV delivered a working app to Hespress in just six weeks.
“Working with VGV was a great experience. We appreciated the structured operation and the diverse team of experts who took part in the project,” said Bendaoud.
VGV’s proven UI/UX design expertise and project management best practices were instrumental for a smooth and successful deployment. “VGV was responsive to our needs and had an optimized workflow that made the whole process effortless. We were also pleased with how the team made sure the final product met our expectations and did the extra work to finalize all the details at the point of launch,” said Bendaoud.
Using the Flutter News Toolkit
“We found the toolkit to be intuitive, easy to use, and convenient. This made the process smoother during both the design and development phases,” said Bendaoud. “The guide contained all the core features, sections, and layouts that we needed. This allowed us to focus on features and design, saving months of development time. The toolkit also helped us optimize the process of revamping our English app, because we only had to maintain a single codebase instead of two.”
The project was completed much faster than a standard mobile app development project of this size, largely due to VGV streamlining the design process and getting Hespress developers up and running with Flutter. For example, VGV helped make the shift to the Dart programming language easier for Hespress. Hespress developers found Dart adoption smooth, particularly those with experience with Swift.
“Before using Flutter, our design process was traditional and not optimized for development-oriented projects,” said Bendaoud.
When Hespress’s development team began using Flutter, they also used Figma to collaborate and segment the design of the app using a template. They were able to implement a new, more development-oriented design process — improving efficiency and redirecting resources to focus more on the core features of the app.
Migrating to Flutter also improved the development process, making it more efficient and streamlined. With VGV’s help, the Hespress team implemented necessary features faster with less effort.
Making the development team happier and more productive
The Hespress developers went into the project excited about Flutter, including the potential for it to be used beyond just mobile platforms. Key features like hot reload were major timesavers.
“Using the same UI and business logic across all platforms was a major advantage for us,” said Bendaoud.
A more optimized and user-friendly mobile app
“We are grateful for the new features provided by the Flutter template, such as the subscription service, which we had been planning to implement at some point,” said Bendaoud. “The enhanced user experience and our new content strategy have driven a significant amount of traffic to the app and generated thousands of downloads. These are all positive outcomes that we are pleased with.”
Since implementing the new platform, the Hespress development team has become more efficient and responsive. They deliver updates and new features to multi-platform applications more quickly and with less effort. “We are always looking for ways to better engage with our readers and keep them coming back for more,” said Bendaoud.
Soon, the Hespress English app will add more video features to make the app more engaging and interactive for our users. There will be special sections for investigative journalism with design features that highlight these pieces in a prominent way.
“We hope to continue improving the app and making it even more useful and enjoyable for our users,” said Bendaoud.