Bloomfire Social Learning Platform

Bloomfire

Bloomfire creates a company-wide social learning network where employees can store and share knowledge. Atomic helped founder Josh Little select his market, create a user-focused product, and launch on time and on budget at South by Southwest.

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MESSA and its design logo are marks owned by Michigan Education Special Services Association, registered in the U.S.

Josh Little, founder of Maestro eLearning, noticed a common challenge in many organizations: formal training just can't keep up with demand. In fact, most employees don't learn what they need to know through company training — they learn it from coworkers. And these isolated lessons can't be captured, harvested, or shared within an organization.

Josh wanted to create a social learning network for businesses, a place where employees could ask questions and share knowledge and expertise easily. He asked Atomic to help him strategize and create the platform, which he called Bloomfire.

Teach and Learn

Bloomfire allows everyone to be both learner and teacher. Employees can create “courses" of uploaded content, including slides, text, video, and screencasts. Bloomfire even has built-in browser webcam integration to make screencasts and video easy.

Employees can then review the lessons their co-worker have created, follow favorite teachers, and leave comments on course materials. Behind the scenes, the app allows admins to manage users and content, while also collecting valuable analytics on how the site is being used.

The gang at Atomic Object has a reputation for excellence and backs it up with their work. I hired AO because 4 out of 5 developers recommended them as the shop that could get it done right and fast. They delivered. Bottom line: if you have an important piece of software to develop and want to do it right the first time, look no further than Atomic Object.

Josh Little, Founder of Bloomfire.com

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.

Fine Tuning Every Step of the Way

The original vision for Bloomfire was much broader than a social learning platform. But Josh asked Atomic to help him focus and funnel that vision into a unique, viable product.

Based on Josh's subject matter expertise in corporate learning, the Bloomfire/Atomic team developed provisional personas and used them to create a story map of high-level features. Atomic also did preliminary design for a set of interfaces, which allowed us to fine-tune the scope and budget before development began.

Josh wanted to present Bloomfire at a series of industry trade shows, so we had to meet a series of hard deadlines. By using a test-driven approach, the team was able to confidently add features right up to each major release point. We had a cohesive feature set for each milestone up to the ultimate unveiling at South by Southwest.

The Atomic Team

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

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Project domain(s)

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Services provided

Software Product Design
Information Architecture
Interaction Design
Visual Design
Software Development
User Testing
Exploratory Testing
Deployment

Tools used

Ruby
Ruby on Rails
Automated Celerity tests using Cucumber
Delayed Job
Sphinx Search Engine
EC2 Cluster Management
jQuery