Case Study

Frontline Education Mobile App

Brainstorm & develop a unified mobile experience for school employees.


Frontline Education

Project Date

Summer 2017


Sketch, InVision, MS Office, design sprints, sticky notes, whiteboards

My Role

Project lead, user flows, interviews, prototyping, executive presentation

Screenshots of the Frontline Education mobile app
Project Summary

After acquiring many smaller education companies, Frontline had 14 overlapping mobile experiences, each with their own branding and navigation patterns. We set out to create a single platform for mobile interaction that could address the needs of different personas and business lines.

We introduced design sprints to the company and developed four unique concepts for testing and review. We developed and launched the final product on-time and achieved a strong positive reception among school district employees, with over 65,000 monthly active users in the first six months. Our team won a Pillar Award for the successful development and launch of the mobile app on iOS & Android.

The Challenge

Our mobile solution had to achieve two goals:

  1. Establish a long-term platform that Frontline could build upon
  2. Provide an initial set of minimum-viable functionality at launch

We also had to address key technical and business concerns:

  • Support multiple personas, permissions, and union regulations.
  • Integrate with pre-existing systems from different acquired companies.
  • Demo our solution at AASPA's national conference for school administrators.
  • Limit roll out per district to conform with internal & union policies for training.
The Process

We applied a double diamond / design loop methodology for product discovery, iterative delivery, and validation. This allowed to us to brainstorm and test multiple possible solutions before committing costly engineering and operations resources.

A diagram of the design loop methodology, represented as an infinite loop between research and design activities

Design Sprints

I hosted four week-long design sprints to rapidly explore different problem areas before beginning development. For each, I invited 3-5 participants from design, product management, and engineering teams.

I facilitated each sprint through a series of design thinking exercises laid out in the book Design Sprint by Jake Knapp. At the start of each sprint, we defined a specific goal focused on one or more outcomes we wanted to achieve.

Personas & Journey Maps

We identified personas and drafted any relevant journeys associated with our target outcome(s) on whiteboards.

In the lean UX spirit of the design sprint, these exercises were intentionally fast so that we could iterate over them after expert feedback.

Lightning Demos

Equipped with a rough understanding of the problem space, each participant researched existing solutions and sought out inspiration from other products.

Participants performed brief 3-minute demos of the solutions they identified and how they related to our problem space.

Solution Sketches

At the mid-point of each sprint, we began sketching rough, three-panel concepts to represent different ways of solving the problem(s) defined.

We then silently voted on each idea before discussing the strengths of each.


Once our storyboard was developed, we rapidly created a high-fidelity clickable prototype and tested it with the customers and experts we interviewed on day one.

We repeated this for each idea, each sprint.

Project Results

After all four sprints were completed, we presented our findings to executive leadership. Out of the four design sprints, they greenlit our proposal for a unified experience with time tracking and leave management as its MVP target area.

I was asked to lead the development team in rapidly bringing our solution to market. I worked with our engineers to establish a Kansan-based development lifecycle with a regular, three-week release cadence.

We released the first version of our mobile app on iOS on time and achieved rapid adoption, with over 68,000 monthly active users and a strong 4-star app store rating. We released our first Android version shortly thereafter and earned Frontline's Team Pillar Award for our achievement.

View Demo of the Frontline Education mobile app

App Store Rating


Monthly Active Users


Featured Demo

2017 Team Pillar Award


Frontline Education

"I witnessed [David] build an enterprise design organization that unified the user experience across multiple business lines and bring a mobile solution to market. Both accomplishments helped lead to our acquisition in 2017."

~ Matt Hildenbrand, VP of Engineering
Frontline Education