Monetizing for Greatness

Monetizing for Greatness

No matter where you are in the world, 2020 has been a year of forced adjustment for all. Businesses and educational institutions entered completely new territory and needed to adapt fast; they either had to acknowledge the “new normal” and transform in order to address it or be left behind. Keen on moving forward and addressing the challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, Ashtar, an education-centric company, enlisted Optomatica, a deep-tech software consulting company specializing in AI, ML, and Optimization, to take its educational app to the next level and to monetize on the opportunity arising from the pandemic.

…The urgent need for digitalization and smart technological solutions had finally hit Egypt and it was coming in full speed ahead with everyone ready to embrace it!
Ashtar – Your learning journey!

The Ashtar app is a pioneering educational one created to help Egyptian students take control of their studies and their future, and for parents to observe this process. The Covid-19 pandemic has left parents worldwide concerned about how to keep their children safe without sacrificing the quality of their education. Fear from sending children to school arose, but so did concern about the implications of social distancing and lockdown, and whether children are getting sufficient tutoring during marathon online meetings that quickly emerged to replace physical school attendance. In this unprecedented situation, it quickly became evident that no one had ideal answers as to how to approach the education dilemma arising as one of its many byproducts. Yet in these difficult times, Ashtar and Optomatica realized that a space has been forged for creating novel and innovative solutions to address parent concerns and overcome limitations arising from this unique situation.

Smart Technology and the Need to Adapt Fast
Time is of the Essence. Optomatica develops well integrated solutions in Record Time!

Optomatica, well known for delivering high quality solutions in Record Time, was chosen to re-design and develop the Ashtar app. The end result was an app with new interactive and customizable elements to ensure a complete learning cycle and to make studying easier and much more fun. Built to help students learn and evolve, the new app boasts configurable lesson journeys, quizzes, mock-up exams as well as a final report section filled with insights, results, and areas of improvement. Parents were not forgotten, and features to help parents follow and monitor their children’s progress were created as well. To reach this result, a series of development steps and milestones had to be carried out first. Those are detailed in the following sections!

Providing customized technology and designs in form of an app.

One of the first steps taken by Optomatica was to conduct technical and UI/UX assessments of the app’s first version. This step was essential to help prepare for the next phase of development. Based on an analysis of the existing digital assets and Ashtar team interviews, the Optomatica team was able to identify major product challenges facing Ashtar and recommended a high-level product roadmap for three phases of development. With the ultimate goal to be able to continuously enhance and maintain the Ashtar application in house, Optomatica recommended and helped in hiring key leaders necessary to be able to effectively take over development from Optomatica.

…The challenging, yet most important part developers and designers always face, is how to combine effectiveness and efficiency in a solution.

Optomatica App Developers and Designers working closely together to follow and combine best practices.

Following code architecture and UI and UX best practices, Optomatica’s technical and design team worked closely together to revamp the app and develop a much stronger, logical, and functioning app. The major challenge that developers and designers always face is: how to combine effectiveness and efficiency in a solution? While designers usually focus on creating beautiful interfaces, perfecting mockups, and user experience, engineers focus on system architecture and optimizing patterns. The ability to bring the best of both worlds in a solution can be tricky. At this point, it helps to understand the value that the solution brings to the customers.

App development and the importance of code architecture

Before being able to implement Ashtar’s new features and designs, Optomatica’s technical team was rightly focused on following best practices in terms of code architecture and the ability to detect runtime errors to provide a solid basis for the future. A big emphasis was placed on this step as Optomatica recognizes that it is crucial for any app to have a proper code architecture. Accordingly, the app had to be developed from scratch incorporating existing features as well as new ones; all with consistent design and code architecture. Without having this solid foundation, the application would be prone to crashes and would not allow for easy integration of new features.

The model adopted by Optomatica’s technical team for structuring a new code base for Ashtar, was the Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern. This model enabled the team to handle one of the main challenges in the app, namely scalability and flexibility to adapt to any new changes. Developers also applied Firebase Crashlytics and Crash Controller concepts to provide a systematic way for crash tracking. The development team addressed other challenging issues such as user data privacy and app layout adaptiveness to different screen sizes, as well as developed web tools for Ashtar’s data entry team.

New features in the app, such as creating a new payment system within the app with Fawry and in-app purchases, were contributed by the team. With a new loyalty program created to keep students motivated, developers created a new pointing system with an integrated point redeem process, where students can collect and redeem points through different stores using vouchers to stay motivated for further learning.

Creating innovative and modern UI and UX designs with Students in mind!

Based on data analysis of Ashtar users-base, the design team worked to solve critical UX problems. With many new features added to enhance students’ learning process through the app, the team worked on designing these features in an easy-to-understand yet cool way. Designing with students in mind, it was important that all features were created to make their life and studying easier and much more fun!

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Consistent design and code architecture
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Developing new features
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Detecting runtime errors and crash tracking
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Scalability and flexibility to adapt to any new changes
Smart learning with Ashtar – your new digital school!

Ashtar, accredited by one of the largest accreditation institutions in the world Cognia, is now providing a personalized and interactive online learning experience for K-12 students. With a fast growing user base of over 300 000 students, parents and teachers, the app empowers its students to reach their full potential by taking control of their studies. With available curriculums for the Egyptian National Arabic, English, and French curriculum a wide base of students can finally have access to a world-class online educational platform ensuring the best teachers and tutors to fit their educational needs. Students in language schools under the official umbrella of the Ministry of Education can also take advantage of the available subjects. All lessons are clearly labeled and easy to find through the newly incorporated search toolbar.

Find your lesson and start learning! Whenever, wherever!
New Features…Greater Experience!

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  • Interactive lesson maps with more flexibility on lesson journey
  • Mock-up exams to practice for real ones. available for several topics with “search exam” option.
  • Marathon challenges with new tougher rules to keep IQ active and freshen memory and skills
  • Better reporting with topics analysis to know just where to improve and learn better
  • Session rating with written feedback and recommendations to enhance learning experience
  • Bookmarks & tools (calculator, translator) inside notes and videos all gathered for students’ convenience.
  • Parental monitoring to follow all kids tasks, progress and reports as they learn with ashtar
  • Smarter system with personalized and diverse questions
  • Loyalty program in which students can collect and earn rewards on performing tasks
Developing hope with Smart Technologies

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced schools and parents alike into uncharted territory. Quickly adapting online tools such as Ashtar, to address new challenges posed by the pandemic, ensures minimal disruption to the overall educational process. The app, which currently provides students with thousands of videos, lessons, exercises, mockup exams, and competitions, has already demonstrated its ability to help everyone. Reviews of the app on the app stores are quite impressive as can be seen by the sample presented below.

Nov 16, 2020

It’s one of the best app, I’ve installed to my children, clear explanation to every subject.

Nov 9, 2020

IAM AMAZED BBY THIS APP, I UNDERSTAND MY LESSONS FOR THE FIRST TIME, I have been having extreme troubles understanding multiple actions but thanks to this, I can make my own practice sheets and study very well, thank you for this.

Nov 4, 2020

Honestly this program is very useful this is the first thing that he is interested in language schools not Arabic but like the rest and also fun

Nov 7, 2020

Very useful and so easy to be used