AmsterdamStandard helps companies building and extending their development teams. One of our dedicated mobile teams is working on a SkinVision project. SkinVision is a medical service that is designed to provide accurate and timely skin cancer detection, along with the most reliable personalised skin health advice and health path recommendation. We’ve interviewed a few members of the team to share their experience about the project with us.
At SkinVision, every single day is a new opportunity to make a difference! Did you know that 1 in 5 people get skin cancer during their lifetime? SkinVision mobilises and empowers consumers to act on and manage their skin health. At the center of the service is the SkinVision app, which is a regulated medical device that merges AI technology with the expertise of skin health professionals and dermatologists. SkinVision is a service of choice whether you want to address your most immediate concerns or introduce the most intelligent skin health regime to your seasonal rhythm.
Prior collaboration with Amsterdam Standard
SkinVision was founded in 2011 and headquartered in Amsterdam. During these years, SkinVision was working with various agencies to support their app development process. Unfortunately, their feature-based outsourcing was not an ideal choice for long-term continuous development. In June 2020, Amsterdam Standard’s dedicated team took over the Android & iOS development for SkinVision. The primary purpose was to make the application more user-friendly.
The main goal of the project
The principal functionality of the application - making a diagnose, was up and running. However, the onboarding process and the overall user experience of the app demanded improvement. Together with the YouSir design studio, we started to work on it. We reviewed the whole onboarding process - from the sign-up process to payment flow to the main functionality and the users’ feedback. Now the application’s design is much more intuitive and deliberate. We considered different types of patients and their characteristics like age, mental state, and tech skills. We enhanced the app’s functionality and reduced usage errors to a minimum, giving users a friction-free way of using the app. SkinVision app now provides users clarity while also taking the patient’s emotions into account.
The Amsterdam Standard team
Currently, the Amsterdam Standard’s team for SkinVision consists of 4 specialists - Jakub and 3 x Marcin. One Marcin is a team leader; he provides a holistic view of product development and builds a great team with a positive spirit. Jakub builds and extends the iOS version’s functionality and refactoring while Marcin does it for the Android version. And, one more Marcin helps in the development and maintenance of the backend.
Challenges of the project
- Firstly, our team has to deal with the inverted codebase left by different companies that worked on this project before us. We’ve already reviewed and unified the code for some parts of the application, but some parts are still untouched by us and will require review later on.
- Secondly, we encountered the challenge present for most new projects - not knowing the whole domain. Usually, when you start working on a small part of the project, it takes time to understand the logic and processes of the entire system.
- Thirdly, we had to adapt to the specifics of application and regulations to the development process. SkinVision is a certified medical device that requires a particular approach to development that is similar to dynamic sprints. The main requirement of the development process is that all the specifications need to be ready before the release, and the next features should be planned upon. On one side, this approach is less flexible, but on the other side, it gives us better structure and a clear overview of the next steps.
- Moreover, we are working as a small team where each person is responsible for their platform or technology. Sometimes there is a limit to the workload we can do. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent opportunity to learn a lot and take full responsibility.
Developing the unique functionality
While there are chunks of the system that are present in almost every digital product like the sign-up process and the payment flow, there are a few unique features we have created for the SkinVision apps:
We copied the real-life experience of visiting the doctor into the app by allowing users to pin their skin spots on a digital version of their body. By creating a body map, we have significantly improved the user experience. Creating our algorithm to keep this data in the app was a challenge that turned out to be a success.
Taking a photo of the skin spot and receiving the assessment
Receiving a risk indication to users based on their skin spots’ photos is the application’s main functionality. Thanks to AI and backend developers to make this technology possible.
Each project, in a new domain, and not only in the Medtech field, requires learning new terminology. You need to learn and understand a set of specific processes, types of data or operations. For this project, we had to discover a domain connected with medical aspects and image processing.
Working together with the Machine learning (ML) team.
SkinVision’s machine learning has developed a CE marked, clinically validated algorithm which enables the app to advise on what a user should do next so that he/she can see a doctor in time if needed. When the ML team has to deal with mobile technology, they come to us for advice and assistance. We are happy to cooperate with them in this way and to learn from each other.
Impressions from working on the SkinVision project
Marcin shares that the different approach to development and amount of documentation gave him goosebumps at the beginning of the project. But with time, he got used to it.
"We need to be Agile ourselves, what means be flexible to adapt to various requirements and keep working effectively to deliver value to clients."
Moreover, it was great that we quickly started to feel like a part of the SkinVision team. Our only difference from their in-house specialists is that we can’t be present in their office. Yet, with the current restrictions, their in-house employees are mainly working from home as well.
Jakub adds that it’s nice to work on a project with a good purpose. And besides that, he enjoys working in close collaboration with other specialists and teams. “Our day starts with daily stand-ups with the SkinVision team to share the updates and to organise the team’s workload, says Jakub. Moreover, we are quite flexible in choosing the way to implement features. When it makes sense, we replace the use of external libraries with our code. For me, it’s a great project to learn with a great deal of flexibility.”