Stepping Stone Support Center (SSSC) is an organization that works with adults with developmental disabilities. They are some of the greatest people I’ve ever worked with. After working with SSSC and other organizations like them, and seeing what happened to their service when everything was locked down in March, I felt like I needed to do something. Shortly after the lockdowns, QuickBase offered ‘Grace’ accounts, to help people impacted. So I decided that I would design and build a scheduling application. The challenge they faced was trying to manage dozens of different schedules, and trying to get some of their clients to use technology, also presented a problem. So we needed to go deep into the UX and make sure it was clean and simple. I built Groot 1.0 in May for them to use for free, and after seeing the success of the app this summer, I decided to rebuild the app for the Hackathon. Yes, I re-built the entire application. The original still has confidential client information that I cannot record or share, plus I wanted to take the opportunity to make some improvements.
What it does
Groot, as I’ve nicknamed it, is at its core a scheduling application. It allows the organization to schedule an event with conferencing information, and details about the class. Then allows them to pick which clients/staff members will be assigned.
Because of the Grace account from Quick Base, when used in production, we had 1000 user limit. Which meant that all staff and ALL clients were able to have login access. This allowed them to see the schedule, register for classes, or update their contact preferences. Although some of the users were very savvy on computers, many were not. But, they were good at texting. So we set up the notifications and event reminders to have the option for SMS notifications in addition to the standard email notifications.
To top it all off, I knew that we would have a ton of new QB users, and also several different organizations using the same application. So I built a user onboarding workflow with detailed instructions so that (a) the users never saw the ‘Users” tab, and (b) all organization information was separate from other organizations. We could technically have a hundred different organizations using the app without issue.
How I built it
100% Native to Quick Base, Automations, Notifications and Pipelines.
Challenges I ran into
Honestly the trickiest part was the User onboarding. Because you can add new users via a user field, assigning a role was critical. Also what if people needed to change roles, from Staff to Manager. So that required an API button, and an Automation to extract the userID into its raw text.
Another complicated thing was getting the SMS notifications just right so they were clean and concise on the phone.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
That I was able to re-build the application in just a few hours, and that I know it has been impactful on so many people’s lives.
What I learned
I learned that User management is complicated when you aren’t able to use the User tab, and that pipelines can easily burn through a ton of steps in a blink of an eye. Also that creating a video and an app just for a hackathon is a ton of work (hopefully it will be worth it).
What's next for GROOT
The Grace account will be closed at the end of the year, but I might have a client that wants it in their own account. Or at least I’ll be able to re-use some of the features in future builds. Regardless of what happens, I know that it helped some people that have needed the most help.