The AIGA, the professional association for design, is the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, provides professional development of all fields in the discipline through robust programming. Since 2011, we have worked with AIGA to create the website and app for their annual design conference.
Building on the success of the 2016 iteration, which expanded features to complement the attendee experience, we decided to rebuild the app from the ground up for the 2019 conference. We refined the interface, improved performance, and enhanced the overall user experience to ensure the app was seen as a natural extension of the conference.
From the complex conference schedule, speaker bios and headshots, session ratings, venue map, local city guide, sponsor information, and more, attention was given to transitions, information hierarchy, and icons to ensure an intuitive experience. Functionally, “Connect”, the attendee chat feature within the app, was overhauled to allow users to engage in more meaningful conversations with the addition of notifications, filtering, popularity, and a more seamless content management system.
Additionally, for the 2019 conference, AIGA adopted the FRMWRK.IO platform to manage the content for the app and website. The CMS is tailored to the content types specific to the conference and structured to ensure staff can easily input and manage content. Unlike past years, changes made in the CMS are downloaded by mobile app in real-time when an item is published, so edits are instantly seen by users.
FRMWRK.IO is a platform that allows for rapid design and development of web and mobile applications. It leverages the component-based architecture of React and React Native for efficient frontend development, while using the popular Django web framework for quick backend development. The platform also includes a powerful Content Management System (CMS) for content entry as well as a unified Application Programming Interface (API) for fetching the data and displaying to the frontend.
FRMWRK.IO follows a component-based pattern. Instead of thinking in terms of pages, the platform approaches a project in terms of its components. The advantage of this approach is that components can be reused across multiple sections of the project. Approaching projects using components greatly increases reuse while at the same time greatly simplifying a project's code, as the focus is on small, manageable pieces.
For the backend, the developer only needs to define their content models and automatically the CMS and API will be generated. By leveraging common patterns of web and app development, FRMWRK.IO streamlines the backend development process to simply defining database models. Configuration of the CMS and APIs can then be progressively customized for more complex situations. We leverage the Django Object Relational Mapping (ORM) as the basis of our model implementation while maintaining a flexible API that intelligently caches and exposes the data to the frontend.
The corresponding mobile app is preset with selections for fonts, sizes, colors, icons, and maps, all of which can be dynamically changed from the CMS. Features can also be toggled on and off and rearranged as necessary.