How the Work Room app mixes with London's coworking scene
Work out of the office? Yes, please! If you live in London, you are good to go. Every five days, a new co-working space opens in the city, which makes it a global growth leader. More than 4% of all office space in London is for co-working now. In the past 14 years, co-working has become a vibrant, profitable, and well-established industry that grows 15% yearly. And it’s still open to innovation. The Work Room app is ready to provide it.
There are plenty of co-working spaces in London. But most of them are very similar to each other. The average coworking space in the UK has 15,100 square feet, 109 desks, and more or less 121 members. To join, you usually need to pay a considerable monthly fee up front.
Often, co-working is not as flexible and cost-saving as you might think. Especially if you don’t need an office desk for the whole month, but don’t want to overuse the Starbucks table or invite your client to Caffe Nero. So what can you do?
The idea behind the Work Room app
The Work Room was established as a joint venture between Mrs. Dominika Sadowska and Mr. Des Gunewardena from D&D London. They saw an interesting niche in the market and began a startup with the goal of solving two business needs:
The lack of genuinely flexible co-working space in London
Despite being at the forefront of co-working growth, London doesn’t have a comprehensive offer for customers who aren’t looking for a long-term co-work space.
Those customers, mostly freelancers, and specialists, usually work from home and don’t look for a co-working space. What they need is, from time to time, to change their context and environment, get out of the house, and meet with a client in a well-arranged, comfortable environment. Crowded co-working spaces don’t fit this scenario.
Luxury restaurants with empty spaces
There are almost 40,000 food service establishments in London! The city is packed with amazing and award-winning restaurants; for example, there are 67 restaurants with a 2020 Michelin star in London alone. Yet, most of them have the same problem - unused space.
Most of the restaurants see customers from 5pm onwards. It’s a time when many Londoners start leaving work in search of a beautiful place to have an excellent meal with friends or co-workers. But until 5pm, those same restaurants are practically empty. That’s an enormous amount of space unused during working hours. What to do with that?
The Work Room curates drop-in workspaces in beautiful restaurants
The creators of the Work Room came to the idea that they can address these two problems with a single app that matches people with available space.
The deal is simple: for £10, anyone can reserve a spot in their selected restaurant for specific hours. The space is ready for business - has Wi-Fi, power, and… coffee; the essentials. The user can come alone, invite two more people, or book a room for a big client. The restaurants also offer special menus and deals for people using the Work Room app.
So for the price of three large cappuccinos in Starbucks or Costa, more or less, you can book a work table in a luxurious restaurant, grab a coffee there, invite co-workers or clients, and perhaps, if you like the place, you’ll return with your partner for dinner. That’s the idea.
How to make this idea happen?
When the Work Room meets Boldare
In early spring 2019, the Work Room founders had almost everything in place: the idea for a business, the backend solution in the form of the Nexudus platform, and branding.
What they needed was to build their website and app with a design tailored for specific requirements; something to put the Work Room on the map. A design which will help users to fully utilize the capabilities of the app, and convince them of the concept.
To execute this plan, the Work Room needed a company which could not only build mobile apps but also provide first-class user-centered design based on an understanding of the business requirements. So they choose Boldare, the product design and development company.
How to create an app which makes waves
How do you build an extraordinary app, which users not only use but also want to come back to, keeping it on their devices and treating it as one of the essentials? You need at least three well-chosen ingredients: a skilled development team, a bullet-proof process, and exceptional design.
A dedicated development team that understands your business
This is essential: the right people in the right place. To help the Work Room achieve their goals and build an app which would test their business assumptions, Boldare put together an agile development team dedicated to building MVPs (minimum viable products). Working in the scrum framework, a self-organizing dev team including three developers, two designers, and a scrum master delivered a mobile app and website for the Work Room within two months.
A great process for a great product
Our proven process is the foundation of every successful product we have developed. We use a rigorous development process based on agile principles. The first stage is a product discovery workshop.
During the workshop, the client and the development team together discovered and defined the most viable business goals of the project. They processed the product discovery set up and described the hypothesis for the MVP, as well as establishing an initial backlog for the product.
After this stage, Boldare’s team initiated a design thinking process to deliver a human-centered UX and UI which users will love (check the description below). The team was also working in the scrum framework to deliver new features every sprint, iteratively.
The agile approach, along with transparent and continuous communication via Slack and Jira, and direct involvement of the product owner from the Work Room resulted in fast delivery - the app was ready for the market after two months.
Design which users love
The last but the most crucial ingredient was the design. To make sure that the business goal of the Work Room would be achieved, the design had to be outstanding. It was a key factor determining the future success or failure of the app. By emphasizing the beauty of the available spaces, and at the same time giving the users an easy and clear path to booking those spaces, the Work Room design had to concentrate on users’ needs.
To achieve this goal, product designers from Boldare followed design thinking principles in a process tailored to the client’s needs.
At the first stage, designers alongside developers, as a team, created the full information architecture of the app. They mapped features and screens and prepared the user experience path. The goal was simple: the path to the main feature of the app - the day pass, should be as short as possible for the user.
Based on the information architecture, in stage two, designers prepared wireframes - the navigation of the whole app with all features already placed in the most optimal way. This stage resulted in a clickable prototype in the InVision app, which was reviewed with the Product Owner.
After receiving branding from the Work Room, Boldare’s designers developed the UI of the app, focusing on exposing the visual aspects of the locations and spaces offered by the Work Room.
The app had to give users the feeling of personalization, being tailored to their needs. When the user buys a day pass, the app provides them with personalized recommendations and offers from restaurants nearby.
To further enhance personalization, the app has a dedicated events section where users can find upcoming events hosted by restaurants. For user comfort, the acquired day pass is immediately visible after the app is launched and can be easily shared in the form of an invitation to co-workers or clients. Also, the payment system was designed to support fast transactions and avoid repetitive data entry.
Working on the Work Room, we faced many inspiring challenges. One of them was to design the UI so as not to dim the beauty of the spaces that the Work Room offers. As a result of our process, something very bold and powerful has been created, but at the same time, harmonious and memorable. We used strong forms and high contrasts, and thanks to the limited number of colors (only black and white), the vivid and colorful photos play a leading role in this design.
These and many more features were designed with a clear user-centered approach and purpose to help the Work Room test the business idea. And the users appreciated the final outcome. The app received excellent reviews in the App Store, including a 4.5 stars rating.
The results - an on-demand workspace platform for London and beyond
The Work Room had its premiere in May 2019 and hit the App Store on June 5th. The service offers more than 600 workspaces and private meeting rooms available for users and wants to lead the way as an on-demand workspace platform for those looking for a working environment with a touch of class.
The cooperation between the Work Room and Boldare continued after the app launch. Why?
The best answer to this question is the words of Mrs. Dominika Sadowska, a co-founder of the Work Room, who wrote in a review on Clutch.co:
The most impressive thing about Boldare is their professionalism and array of expertise. They are not only great at the technical aspects, as you would expect from a high-quality development company, but they are also great on the creative side of things, providing us with an amazing design. Their client focus is very evident; their customer service was always highly professional and considerate.
After positive feedback from the users, the Work Room decided to develop an Android version of the original iOS app and asked Boldare to do so. In October 2019, the Work Room hit the Google Play Store. It also turned out pretty soon that not only individual professionals but also companies search for that kind of service, so the startup introduced prime passes and prime subscription plans for entities.
The Work Room, with a tailored offer for a specific niche, has the chance to positively impact not only the co-working but also gastronomy industry in London, by offering a more flexible approach to renting workspaces alongside user-centered promotion of restaurants. It might be a very tasty recipe for success.
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