PORTFOLIO • Startup Founder

Runar App

Discover my approach to team creation and how I launch startups in this showcase of the first iteration of the Runar App.

My Startup Responsibilities

As the Startup Founder, I have overseen the development of the Runar App. This has involved many roles, including Product Owner, Visionary, Team Coach and Supervising Manager. I have also supported the development of mentees as Product Design & Product Management Mentor.

Learn more about the project, its processes and our approach below.

As an app, this project has required both a Product and a Development Team. Hailing from a design background, initially I found the recruitment and management of the Development Team to be a challenge. To address this obstacle, I recruited a Dev Team mentor, who advises me on technical points. In return, the Dev Team mentor has gained managerial experience in the mentorship role.

The Product Team features a Product Manager, Product Designer and Development Team mentor. Since the start of the project, this group has worked on hypothesis validation, ideation, product strategy and the implementation plan.

Runar App in Numbers

Team members
Stars on Play Market
Years from the start

App Details

Runar App
The Runar App is an educational, fortune-telling app. It allows you to immerse yourself in Scandinavian culture and learn about the ancient Sagas and Runes. An interactive app, it invites you to experience new insights about the inner and outer world through Runic Divination.
Currently, Runar is available on Android. We will be releasing Runar on iOS soon! Install and explore the ancient traditions of Scandinavian fortune telling!
  • The app allows users to learn about the Scandinavian Sagas and the meaning of each Rune.
  • Runar lets users discover their fortunes through Runic Divination.
  • Featuring an immersive design with high fidelity visuals and audio, it envelops users in a mystic atmosphere. All designed to inspire an atmospheric feeling reminiscent of ancient Scandinavian culture.

How We Developed the Runar App

Product Design Process

This section provides an overview of the Design Process Stages
that supported development of the Runar App.
Product Design Process diagram
The Discovery Phase involved research, competition analysis and consumer audience development. This phase involved the following steps:
  • Researched Scandinavian traditions, runes and the meaning of their layouts.
  • Completed competitor analysis for iOS and Android.
  • We used the Jobs to be Done framework to define, categorize, capture and organize customer needs. This approach helped us identify competitors, as the application is targeted at a very broad audience.

I worked with the Business Analyst during the Define Phase. During this stage we designed the application's information architecture. To achieve this we used the following processes:
  • Created a Mind Map for Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in Miro.
  • Establish each feature's User Flow with low fidelity wireframes.

Visual Design
To develop a concept for the Runar App's visual design, we undertook the following processes:
  • The Designer created mood boards based on the Product Owner's vision and requirements. This involved creating a design with natural materials matching those used for ancient runes. Designs were of wood, stone and animal fur.
  • We developed six possible color schemes.
  • Following review, we settled on two color schemes, one light and one dark. We took these into the Conceptual Design phase.

Conceptual Design
Using the two final color schemes, we developed two application concepts. From these concepts, we chose a dark theme for the ultimate design. Having agreed the design, we developed it further using the following steps:
  • Developed a clickable, high-fidelity prototype based on the dark theme.
  • We then tested the prototype with real users and received feedback.
  • Reviewing the feedback, we refined the design and addressed identified issues.

Following the creation of a working prototype, full development of the app began. This stage of the project featured the following steps:
  • Development of a logo for the App; a rune stave.
  • Finalization of application mockups for iOS & Android.
  • Development of the design system.
  • Designing, drawing and texturing of 43 unique runes.
  • Conversion of the rune images into sprites, to make them easier for the developers to use.

While designing and laying out the app, our team's front-end developers adapted the design to iOS & Android devices' small screens.
The Design and Development Team worked together to achieve a final layout that worked on every platform. This required effective collaboration and communication.
Successful collaboration at this stage led to the public release of the Android beta version of the Runar App.

Design Tools Used

During every stage of development, from ideation to quality assurance, we used a range of apps and services. We chose these platforms to promote collaboration, making sure everyone had an overview of progress and their tasks.
I've listed our applications below:
miro tool logo
adobe photoshop tool logo
figma tool logo
Miro is an online whiteboard and visual collaboration platform, ideal for teams working remotely. We used this tool to create mind maps, user flows, wireframes and click models for the app. This collaborative software allowed us all to comment on proposals and development decisions. Miro helped promote an innovative ideation phase.

Adobe Photoshop
We used Adobe Photoshop to develop the app's visual content and bitmap assets. While various "modern" app design tools can be used in place of Photoshop, most do not stand up to the power and versatility of this program.

Figma is an online interface development and prototyping tool. It allows real-time collaboration between teams. We used it to create the app's mockups and prototypes.
It also supported the delivery of assets and mockups to the Development Team.

Development Process

Discover more about the Runar App's Development Processes, illustrated in the diagram below:
Runar app Development Process diagram
Our Approach to Developing the Runar App

After finalizing the app's requirements, the developers decomposed the tasks into sub-tasks. These sub-tasks were then distributed to specific team members.
We used Git and GitHub to develop the code. This helped us keep builds organized and allowed the team to work on tasks in parallel.

Throughout the project, the developers used pair programming, an agile software technique. This sped up the development process, while improving each member's teamwork skills.
After the implementation of a new feature, developers created a Pull Request. This notified other team members of progress and prompted them to review the proposed code.
Following review, each segment of code was either sent for revision or integrated into the testing branch. The merged code was then finalized.

The following step is dependent on the type of technology used:
  • Server-side, new code is automatically pushed from the testing branch to the testing server.
  • For mobile applications, the developers compile the application. They then send the finished application files to the QA engineers.
  • Once server code has passed testing and a Senior Developer approves it, it's sent to the production server.
  • For mobile applications, after clearance they're published on the Apple's App Store and on the Google Store.

Runar App - Development Technologies

To develop the application, we used the following technology stack:
java logo
mongo db logo
node js logo
heroku logo
github logo
kotlin logo
swift logo
Server Technologies

An open-source, back-end JavaScript runtime environment, based on the V8 engine. It allows developers to write JavaScript instead of highly specialized, server-side scripting languages. This simplifies development. For Runar, we used Node.js for database scripting and user authentication. Our advertising distribution system was also written using this technology.

A general-purpose programming language. Used in the auxiliary module for working with our database.

A document-oriented database management system. Unlike other DMSs, MongoDB doesn't need descriptions of table schema, protecting our raw data. This tool serves as the repository for the Runar Apps' user and advertising data.

This is an application programming interface that conforms to a specific software architecture. This defines how the components of a distributed application interact on a network. We chose this approach because of the lack of an explicit binding to the client's technologies. This allows flexible customization of interaction with various client applications.

A cloud PaaS platform that supports many programming languages. For the Runar App, this platform hosts our test and production servers.

The largest web service for hosting IT projects, promoting joint development and collaborative working.

Runar App - Mobile Technologies

To develop the application for the iOS devices, we used the Swift programming language.

The technology stack for iOS includes:
  • Auto Layout - this dynamically calculates the size and position of all views in a hierarchy based on constraints. This constraint-based design approach generates user interfaces that dynamically respond to internal and external changes.
  • REST API - we implemented this protocol-oriented approach to differentiate client-server needs, user identification, data storage and interaction with advertising services.
  • SwiftGen - a tool that automatically generates Swift code. Used for accessing application resources, ensuring that resources are type-safe.

To develop the application for Android systems, we used the Kotlin programming language.
We built the application in accordance with the MVVM architectural pattern.

The technology stack for Android includes:
  • ConstraintLayout - this tool allows you to create a single screen layout that displays the application interface correctly on a huge number of devices with different resolutions and screen ratios.
  • ViewModel, LiveData & Navigation components - the components from Android Jetpack for organizing convenient navigation and data transfer within the app, in line with the MVVM pattern.
  • Room Database - a library from Android Jetpack that unlocks more convenient and accurate SQLite database access. It's used to store various data sets for the application.
  • Retrofit 2 - REST API client for organizing communication and data exchange with the backend of our app.

    Runar App - Team Management Process

    Throughout the development of the Runar App, we have aspired to adopt an exemplary approach to team management. This materialized as a self-governing team, like commercial startups in real world settings. We achieve this by ensuring that everyone within the team always has a clearly defined role and area of responsibility.

    The team works as an organism and the success of our product depends on the contribution of each participant.

    During the project, I've promoted transparency and worked to make sure everyone has a valuable experience. For this healthy team interactions have been fundamental. This required team structures that promote the fluid exchange of information and roles that encourage flexibility. Ultimately, this has helped team members achieve their assigned tasks.

    For improved interactions, we used an adapted Scrum framework. This has in turn supported KPI improvements. At present, our adapted Scrum involves the following events:
    • Daily status meetings
    • Backlog Refinement / Grooming Meetings (when necessary)
    • Weekly demos

    We omitted other events from the Scrum rhythm to save time. This is because many team members work on the project on a handover basis. Sprint planning has also been unnecessary because developers determine which tasks they will take on for the weekly sprint.

    As a startup committed to our developers' well-being, we don't operate sharp task deadlines.

    The team includes two mentors - one in Design and one in Development. Their roles are to help the team solve the most daunting challenges, while supporting improved team interactions.

    Team Management and Communication Tools

    To facilitate teamwork and the oversight and organization of tasks, we use the following tools:
    trello logo
    telegram logo
    telegram logo
    google workspace logo
    We use a Trello Board to track the project's status, providing a breakdown of all outstanding tasks and responsibilities. Each team member has their own area of the board, where their tasks are tracked. This has promoted transparency throughout the development process.

    We use Confluence for documenting requirements, features and necessary product solutions description.

    Telegram messaging software is the platform we use for the team's conversations. Using team-wide group conversations allows us to discuss technical options and design decisions together. This ensures that everyone is up to speed and engaged on the project.

    Google Workspace
    We use Google services for team video calls and to create and share project documentation.
    Do you want to learn more about the Runar App or the Development Team?
    Or are you interested in my Startup Management Expertise?