ArtPrize Android & iOS Apps

ArtPrize

ArtPrize is running the world’s largest open, independent art competition.

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MESSA and its design logo are marks owned by Michigan Education Special Services Association, registered in the U.S.
For ArtPrize 2017, Atomic completely revamped the app’s registration workflow, decreasing the dropout rate and improving the user experience.

ArtPrize awards $500,000 in prizes to works of art selected by public vote and expert jury during a massive 19-day event. This requires a great deal of logistics, including mobile apps for 60,000 event-goers.

The ArtPrize app helps visitors find 170+ venues in the 3-square-mile ArtPrize district and vote for their favorite entries in real time. Atomic works with ArtPrize to update and improve their mobile app each year.

In past years, users could only register after they arrived in the ArtPrize district. This was difficult because the cell network is often overloaded during the event.

For 2017, the team designed a new registration process. Users can now create an account and confirm their identity at any time. The final step of registration happens automatically when they enter the ArtPrize district during the event.

Our visitors have been thrilled with the app, and our experience with Atomic has been great. Their people are very much on point—professional and accommodating. I’m very happy with the team.

Jeff Wheeler, ArtPrize Director of Technology

Coordinating Stakeholders

In addition to team members Grand Rapids and Atomic Object, this project brought together lots of different groups. Having this many cooks in the kitchen required a lot of coordination and a complex project schedule that balanced several timelines and sets of constraints.
Recycling data from the GR Public Services Department
Dozens of vendors with rewards of various sizes, types, and durations — recruited and coordinated by Local First
The myGRcitypoints information website, created by The Image Shoppe

Technical Specs

Atomic designed the system architecture and wrote software and firmware for:

Custom Protocol
Reduces required bandwidth and handle collisions, allowing reliable transfer of a high volume of information through RF and cellular communications back to the data collection service.
Gateway Devices
Each is a Technologic TS 7800 single-board computer with a custom RF receiver. They run a combination of C and Ruby on an embedded Linux system.
Web App
A JRuby on Rails application using an Oracle database that deploys to IBM Websphere.
Atomic has skin in the game. They provide in-kind services for ArtPrize, and so they’ve been part of our voice when we’re creating our products. That’s invaluable. I look forward to working with their team again next year.

Jeff Wheeler, ArtPrize Director of Technology

Voting Infrastructure Upgrade

In 2016, Atomic overhauled the app’s voting system. Many ArtPrize venues have poor cell reception, especially when thousands of voters are competing for bandwidth. To solve this, the app stores votes until the user’s phone gets an internet connection.

In past years, data syncing was buggy and would sometimes return errors, delay voting, or display votes incorrectly. It also had trouble syncing votes cast using different methods.

Atomic restructured the entire voting infrastructure — creating a simpler, more reliable system. Thanks to the new approach, votes cast via the mobile app rose from 65% of all votes in 2015 to 75% in 2016.

Stability Improvements

In 2015, the Atomic team re-engineered the ArtPrize app code base, fixing persistent stability issues and adding geofencing, dynamic updating, and integrated navigation.

Atomic provided Android app development and iOS app development for the ArtPrize 2017 mobile apps. Conduit Studio provided visual design and information architecture on the project.

The Atomic Team

Here are some of our current Atoms who worked on this project. Click their photo to read their bios!

Project domain(s)

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Services provided

System Architecture
Visual Design
Software Development
Deployment

Tools used

Objective-C
Java