Based in the UK but serving organisations operating in various industries all over the world, AKD Solutions is a learning and professional development consulting firm. Through their videos, apps, and games, they help their clients encourage employee engagement, teamwork, collaboration, leadership, and openness amongst their staff members.
Due to the pandemic, in-person meetings came to a halt. This was bound to affect employee training sessions at various organisations. In order to allow these organisations to continue to conduct these much-needed sessions, our client wanted to introduce a web-based version of their board game. This would allow clients and their employees to conduct and attend these sessions while staying socially distanced. However, our client was sceptical about whether an online learning program would be as effective as an in-person training session.
Our development team came together to collaborate with AKD Solutions to fully understand the technicalities of the board game, Equally Yours, so that a web-based version could be accurately recreated. To make sure that the collaborative learning experience of the online version remained as effective as an in-person session, we conducted an extensive discovery workshop with the client.
The process of conceptualisation and visualisation of the app was very thorough. After multiple feedback cycles, we were able to highly refine the project idea. Our team prepared detailed wireframes and prototypes to ensure that the final product matched our client’s expectations to perfection.
The web app for Equally Yours works exactly like the physical board game version. The facilitator starts a session on the app and invites participants to join. Team leaders take turns rolling the dice by pressing a button on-screen. The app automatically moves the token and pops up a question from the corresponding colour-coded stack. The discussion and point-scoring activity takes place outside of the game environment and in the video conferencing app.
The corporate training platform is used by many organisations for employee development and social learning, including some notable Fortune 500 companies, all over the world, which is why multiple language options are available.
The facilitator is the person who manages the entire training session. The app provides facilitators with their own control panel where they are given the option to either create a new session or view details for previous sessions that they moderated. When creating a new session, facilitators can choose to customise certain specifics – such as question sequence and participant details – before starting the game.
When a session is started, the app generates a unique link for it via which the facilitator invites the participants. Much like Zoom, the Equally Yours web app also has a waiting room feature. The game starts as soon as the facilitator changes the session status to allow participants in.
Throughout the session, the facilitator stays in control. The Equally Yours game board is available as a view-only screen to all participants. However, team leaders are allowed to roll the dice. Throughout the game, the facilitator can roll the dice on behalf of the team leaders. After each dice roll, the tokens move across the board automatically. The facilitator then draws a card depending on where the token lands. The question card is displayed, leading to a discussion, after which the facilitator awards points to each team.
To make the game view more appealing, interactive, and fun, we have added short GIFs to animate the rolling of the dice, movement of tokens, and flipping of question cards. The option to switch to high-contrast visuals makes the game more accessible.
The facilitator ends the session when they feel that the participants have engaged sufficiently and the key topics have been discussed. At the end of each session, the participants are asked to type in their feedback and the facilitator is allowed to take notes.
For maximum security, access to certain parts of the app is dependent on the users’ roles. Users can be assigned three roles:
For instance, if a user logs in as a facilitator, they are allowed to invite users, manage sessions, and even view reports. Participants are not granted these permissions. They merely get view-only access to sessions they are invited to. AKD administrators have a wider range of permissions: they are allowed to manage app users and AKD clients, as well as view reports on complete session history.
The app’s default language is English. However, facilitators have the option to choose from and conduct training courses in any of the other languages offered.
One major achievement for us is that we have successfully been able to provide real-time interaction to all users of the app during an active session. From moving tokens to updating team scores, everything is in perfect sync. To accomplish this, we implemented custom socket-based client-server communication at the backend.
Before we could actually begin working on this project, it was crucial that we refine the idea to the point of perfection. Thus, we conducted detailed discovery workshops with our client and made sure that the final idea supported their vision. There were multiple rounds of feedback involved. In order to make the final product perfect, we had to be very thorough with the analysis and design phase.
Designing the Equally Yours web app required us to comprehensively understand how the original board game worked. There were rules to be followed along with additional requirements set forth by the client. After dividing the project on the basis of user roles, relevant wireframes and prototypes were prepared to showcase the best possible layout for the online program.
After the design phase, production began. Our developers worked with React, PHP, and Node.js. The finished project was launched after rigorous testing and quality assurance.
The corporate training platform development team, led by the project manager, was composed of the technical lead, business analyst, senior software engineer, and senior QA engineer.