Chatta is an education business which specialises in developing powerful tools and resources to support learning and education for children and parents. Based in Kingston upon Hull, Chatta is used by teachers as a whole class teaching resource with pupils aged 3 to 18, and by teaching assistants as an intervention resource.
Throughout our longstanding relationship, our development team at Eon Visual Media have helped Chatta to develop an award-winning app and database which has helped to ensure attentive listeners, develop confident speakers, and create fearless writers.
In this case study, we will explore how our development team helped Chatta to create, maintain and develop their innovative education app!
Aims & Objectives
Back in 2015, our team were initially approached by Chatta founder, Chris Williams to help develop an innovative digital solution. Here, our team were tasked to develop a mobile app which would be used to help improve learning, language, communication, and literacy for school pupils aged 3 to 18. The app would be primarily used by teachers as a whole class teaching resource with pupils, however, could also be utilised by teaching assistants, carers, and parents at home.
With our objectives established, our development team began phase 1 of this project by conducting research to help select the best platform and approach for developing the brand-new app.
With the aims and objectives set, our team conducted research to help select the best platform for developing the brand-new app. Our team also conducted research investigating similar education and teaching apps to help inspire the design and functionality for our new app.
After much consideration, our team concluded that our software would be created using XCode & Android Studio. Using these platforms would allow our team to develop a secure and powerful app which would be accessible for iOS and Android devices.
At the core of our app, an algorithm developed by Chatta and award-winning teachers was used to help children to become better communicators, writers, readers, and thinkers. The algorithm would encourage pupils to reflect on, review and improve oral language – similar to the way written work is redrafted. Additionally, adult descriptions would provide a powerful model for the children to listen to and allows them to link language to their experiences
Before an individual could use the app, they would initially have to set up a personal profile. After creating a profile, the app would display two main programmes.
Oral Fluency & Narrative Competence
By linking images and voice recordings, this feature would allow children to build up to a deeper understanding of order and sequence, leading to oral fluency and narrative competence. Users could upload and access images and voice recordings also provide a perfect tool for children to rehearse oral narratives for the purpose of reflection and revision for working memory.
The ‘chats’ feature provides schools with a powerful and dynamic tool for home/school learning. Chats are easily shared with parents and carers and are viewable on any device connected to the internet.
After completing the initial design of the Chatta app, this was launched by Chatta in November 2015. Upon its release, the Chatta app was incredibly well received by Chris Williams, and our team were highly praised for creating an effective and powerful digital platform.
Following the debut release of the Chatta app, the app was used primarily by teachers and educators as part of their day-to-day teaching. After an initial trial period, our development team continued to communicate with Chris Williams to discuss initial user feedback and provide minimal updates to the software to improve the overall design, speed, performance, and usability.
Following the initial success of phase 1, our team were approached Chris Williams five years later to discuss the plans for phase 2. After receiving substantial funding from Northern Powerhouse, Chatta now had the opportunity to re-develop a brand new and improved platform which would allow for advanced features and functionality.
Prior to starting phase 2, our team completed a scoping phase to determine out a refined development plan. This included, further research into cloud platforms, updates app designs, system wireframes and system architecture documentation. Following this scoping phase and further discussions with Chris Williams, our development team began phase 2.
During the development of phase 2, our development team made the following updates,
Software & Google Cloud Integration
One of the most significant updates made during phase 2 was a ground-up rebuild of the Chatta software. Whilst our initial app was only available on iOS and Android, our updated app now included a new browser version of the app which could be accessible via web browsers. Furthermore, our team have added Google Cloud integration, which would allow users to seamlessly access Chatta Chats from multiple devices and share these with teachers, parents, and carers.
Another new feature added to the Chatta app was the ‘community area’. Here users could access and share ideas to help children to become better communicators, writers, readers, and thinkers.
Online Image search
Another updated feature in phase 2 was the integration of an online image search function. In our updated app, users could now use Microsoft Bing to search and utilise royalty free images in the Chats and Community features.
Another new feature added to our updated app was the Chatta admin panel. Based on feedback from schools, the admin panel would allow schools and teachers to access reports on the overall usage of the Chatta app from teachers, parents, and carers.
Design & Usability
Another major update to the Chatta app was in the overall design and usability. Following five years of use by teachers, educators and carers, our team were able to utilise feedback and create a more efficient and functionable design for the Chatta app.
In addition to providing updates to the app, our development team also made improvements to the Chatta website design. This development increased the overall functionality user experience on the website. To complement our new design, our videography team captured and edited some promotional video content that is embedded in the upgraded website.
After completing the re-design of the Chatta app, this was re-launched in October 2020. Since this re-launch, our development team have continued to meet with Chris Williams to discuss user feedback and provide continuous updates to the software to improve the overall design, speed, performance, and usability. According to Chris Williams,
“I have seen the level the software can take us to – and to be honest it’s beyond what I’d imagined possible. I can’t believe it. Classroom outcomes have been spectacular. Unbelievable!”
An Award-Winning App
In 2022, the Chatta Learning app was ranked second place in BusinessCloud’s EdTech 50 innovation ranking. Upon receiving this amazing achievement, Chatta Founder Chris Williams stated,
“This recognition for Chatta means a lot to me and our team. Chatta was developed to help the children of Hull and has since grown to reach schools and families across the UK and overseas. I am also incredibly proud that Chatta was made in Hull with the talented software developers at Eon Visual Media.”
Do you have an idea for a revolutionary new digital app? According to a recent survey, “there were more than 250 million daily app downloads between 2019–2020” and it is anticipated that “there will be 184 billion apps to be downloaded in 2024”. With mobile apps becoming increasingly popular, now is the perfect time to create an engaging digital experience for your customers and stakeholders.
At Eon Visual Media, our experienced team of in-house developers have helped to develop apps for some of the UK’s largest B2B and B2C businesses, turning their ideas into reliable and robust pieces of technology. Our team can help guide you through the 3 core stages of mobile app production, from concept and app design all the way through to wireframing, app development and optimisation.
Want to find out more? Drop us a message, and we would love to chat to you about your app idea!
"I have seen the level the software can take us to - and to be honest it’s beyond what I’d imagined possible. I can’t believe it. Classroom outcomes have been spectacular. Unbelievable!"
Chris Williams - Chatta