How a new app makes learning to drive easier with Splink Industries.

In the UK, over one million of us every year learn to drive - and while we might be more worried about our parallel parking, passing the driving theory test itself is no easy feat. In fact, statistics show that around 47.7% of us fail the theory test first time.

Enter Splink Industries. Splink recognised that despite the potential and soaring popularity of app-based learning, many opportunities were being lost to help people learn effectively and intuitively through the smartphones in their pockets. With that in mind, Splink set out on a mission to improve mobile learning experiences for everyone - starting with driving theory tests.

As a brand new company with a great idea, the team at Splink Industries turned to AND to provide the expert technical and product expertise they would need to turn an exciting concept into a fully-fledged app.

Although the Splink team had created a vision and outline plan for what they wanted to achieve, it was necessary to really validate the concept with learner drivers.

An initial research and Discovery phase saw the team analyse competitor app offerings and develop a roadmap for a first release. An initial set of five core user outcomes were identified, and a range of UX practices were used to validate these directly with learner drivers:

  • Testable wireframes and low-fi prototype allowed the team to validate concepts with learner drivers as early as possible.

  • Guerilla testing outside theory test centres helped to capture in-time and real-world user insights.

  • Research into learning methodologies and approaches informed the UX approach and shaped the creation of a smart learning algorithm.

On average, learner drivers spend just two weeks revising for their theory tests - but in that time, have some 700 questions to revise for. To make the process of revision faster and more effective, AND’s development team built a smart, custom algorithm to support a user’s learning in just three weeks.

The algorithm assesses a user’s past performance and question difficulty. This means each time they begin a new quiz session, the algorithm creates a question set that mixes both questions the user needs to revisit, with new ones. This is a learning technique known as ‘spaced repetition’, a highly proven method for retaining information in our long-term memory.

With no brand in place at kick off, launching the app to market faced a potential bottleneck as developers waited for final branding and designs to develop.

To mitigate this without losing momentum, branding and UI designs were kept minimal throughout development. This allowed build work and user testing to progress unhindered. Figma, a design collaboration tool, enabled the team to collaborate and iterate these minimal designs in real-time.

When design work was finalised, the team were then able to quickly roll it out across the app’s UI. To better enable future development, AND built a design system with all necessary patterns and components to make shipping future releases faster and more efficient.

  • The app is currently rated 4.9 out of 5 stars on the App Store, and ranks fourth overall in the Education category.

  • It was featured as App of the Week in the App Store in its second week of launch - and has been featured multiple times since.

  • As a result of its initial success, the app has been shortlisted in two categories at the 2020 Effective Mobile Marketing Awards.