In April 2020 Rachael Grimaldi, a local NHS Anaesthetist, reached out via WiredSussex; she had created a series of communication flashcards for frontline teams struggling to communicate behind PPE, which she'd made available at (a neat little SquareSpace site). The site was proving popular but her biggest challenge was users often having no internet connection and so she was looking to develop an app. At the same time, we had additional capacity with various jobs for travel companies and festivals cancelled and were keen to help so this seemed a good solution all around.

It felt like about two months work. For obvious reasons Rachael wanted it pronto, ideally in about a week.

After a long conversation or two, we mapped out what an MVP looked like and what we would want to add after that. The key features in the MVP were:

  • Multilingual
  • Text to speech functionality
  • Ability to upload a profile image and some basic details that could be displayed to give a warmer welcome when carers faces are hidden behind PPE
  • Ability to quickly search Flashcard

Our solution

The backend of the appliction is built using Laravel, which looks after all kinds of magic including:

  • Authenticating translators (we have a team of around 20 translators)
  • Importing content from SquareSpace
  • Creating translations (via the Weglot API)
  • Creating audio files (via SiteSpeaker)
  • Caching and exposing the data which is consumed by the mobile apps

The mobile apps are built using React Native. We used Expo as this allowed rapid prototyping and distribution (Rachael is in America at the moment and uses an Android).

The Launch

Ten days from the first line of code, CardMedic was in the AppStore. Since launch the app has been featured by the Guardian, BBC, promoted on and we even got a letter from the PM himself.

Get it on Google Play

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