A 360° Approach
Before we could dive into the software component of SkyTrak, we had to understand the hardware component. We spent time with both SkyTrak and the hardware developer researching what golfers actually wanted and valued in the data that they were getting from existing launch monitors. There was a ton of data available, but not everything was relevant to golfers and, as we discovered, golfers didn’t want to to be inundated with all the data. They wanted the metrics they cared about. Through several exploratory sessions and strategy meetings, we took all the ideas each stakeholder had envisioned and smartly whittled it down, based on our user research findings, to what would become the feature set for initial launch. The SkyTrak box would connect to wifi while simultaneously connecting with the software, which would be available on iPad upon launch. After the hardware was successfully developed, we re-entered the process to develop the software to compliment the box. We re-visited the user experience that we had set out to establish upon the development of the launch monitor box and made the decision, collectively, that developing in Unity would be an ideal solution with its 3D capabilities and its cross-platform compatibility.
“It’s fascinating working at the intersection of hardware and software.”
Connecting the Dots Across the Globe
The complexity of SkyTrak meant that we needed a software solution that was robust, giving SkyTrak the ability to expand upon its platform moving forward. The box communicates the collected data with the device, an iPad for launch, the device processes the data to visually depict the output, and then the device communicates with the Cloud to save the user’s data in the user’s account. To ensure that we were successful in our endeavors, we worked closely with the hardware developers in Singpore as well as the freelancers in New Jersey and Texas whom we cherry-picked from our extensive network of freelancers to handle the physics engines and 3D play involved in visualizing the data.
The involvement of multiple parties meant that we were faced with the challenge of managing the process smoothly with developers, product designers, and key stakeholders in different parts of the world. Despite this, we were able to navigate these waters successfully by ensuring transparency through thorough communication on a daily basis. We worked agilely, constantly checking and course-correcting to ensure that the software was compatible with the hardware, and that the strategically designed user interface was still easy-to-use and visually appealing for the end user. Each sprint was extensively tested by all parties. We transformed the loading dock in our office into a testing room, setting up a net and taking turns swinging at balls to ensure that our software not only worked seamlessly with the hardware, but that the data collected was validated. We would not have been able to work in such an agile manner had it not been wonderful partners we had, not only in each third party vendor, but in our clients at SkyGolf.