MESSA iOS and Android Mobile App

Michigan Education Special Services Association

The MESSA mobile app makes complex health benefits information quick to access and easy to understand.

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MESSA and its design logo are marks owned by Michigan Education Special Services Association, registered in the U.S.
MESSA came to Atomic looking for a consultancy to partner with their web development team to build a native mobile app.

MESSA offers health and disability insurance to over 189,000 Michigan public education professionals and their families.

The health plan administrator knew their next generation of members expected a native mobile experience to complement their highly rated responsive web app.

MESSA already had an experienced web development team. They needed a firm that would build a best-in-class native app while training their web team in mobile development.

MESSA chose Atomic to do both.

“I’ve never worked with a vendor like Atomic Object—the knowledge, the people skills, the management style were all exceptional.”

Teresa Bendall, Development Manager and Web & Mobile Product Manager at MESSA

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.

Building for the Future

Atomic designers did real-world research to discover which features MESSA members valued most. Features such as deductible progress, member card information, and customer service are at the touch of a screen.

To complement the MESSA team's experience in web frameworks, Atomic built the app in React Native. MESSA developers could maintain and build out the app even after Atomic handed off the project.

Using Extreme Programming techniques such as full stack development, peer-reviewed code, and pair programming, Atomic set the MESSA team up for success by sharing mobile development best practices.

“Your crew is exceedingly talented and helped lead us through the questions we needed to talk about. I’ve never worked with a vendor with such exceptional collaboration.”
Teresa Bendall, Development Manager and Web & Mobile Product Manager at MESSA

“It was rewarding to work on an app that brings value to other people’s lives and also experience how the MESSA and Atomic teams aligned.”

Nathan Papes, Software Consultant and Developer at Atomic Object

Atomic provided research, design, and development services while partnering with MESSA's web development team to deliver an app they could maintain well into the future.

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

Software Product Design
User Research
Visual Design
Software Development
Deployment

Tools used

React Native