Driving Customer Engagement with a Custom Mobile and Web App

First Line Technology

First Line Technology designs and manufactures disaster preparedness and response equipment for the military, the government, and first responders. One of its primary product lines is Dahlgreen Decon™, a decontamination solution for chemical warfare agents, toxic materials, and other threats. As part of its service offering, First Line offers users access to the Decon Field Guide web and mobile app, which allows first responders to look up proper decontamination methods for hundreds of known and emerging threats in real-time.

The Challenge

First Line was unhappy with the quality of its existing React Native "Decon Field Guide" mobile app. It needed to refresh the app in order to drive higher engagement with its customer base.


The Solution

First Line partnered with Gnar to review and assess the state of its existing React Native app. We began with a full technical review, which revealed fundamental code and UX issues. Our assessment revealed that it would be faster and more cost-effective to build a new app rather than refresh the existing tool.

We kicked off our design and discovery process, which allowed us to collaborate with First Line to redesign the UX, add desired new functionality, and enhance the overall look and feel of the app.

We began with scoping meetings to discuss the Decon Field Guide's use cases and to receive a crash course on responding to chemical warfare agents. From there, we discussed redesigning the app and incorporating feedback from existing customers. First Line's internal marketing team completed graphics work, and Gnar engineers built those graphics into the new application. We then developed wireframes and moved into development.

This process resulted in a cleaner, easier-to-navigate user interface and additional functionality, including pictorial decontamination instructions, an in-app timer, and improved threat index search functionality. We also added user support resources including videos, manuals, a term glossary, and FAQs.

In addition to the mobile app, we constructed a version of the Field Guide that’s available on a WordPress web site. We built new WordPress post types for the videos, manuals, term glossary, and FAQs, and FirstLine now has direct control over updating the app.

We weren’t just a project to them. Even now, they catch up and ask how the app is running, and not from a sales standpoint. They really care about our end-users. We’re not directly using the application—it’s our customers, and their feedback is that it’s a massive improvement. Our first responder community doesn’t get a lot of good apps, and they’re amazed that Gnar was able to deliver exactly what they needed without being first responders themselves.

Amit Kapoor | CEO, First Line Technology

The Results

By starting from scratch to create a well-documented and well-tested application built in accordance with software development best practices, we created a foundational app that First Line could build upon going forward.

Our work redesigning and building a new Decon Field Guide app helped First Line achieve its desired result: higher customer engagement and an improved experience for app users. Since launching the new mobile app, First Line has more than doubled its number of users to over 3,000. The previous app only saw one user over the course of 2-3 days. Now, 10-15 people use the app every day.

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