Statflo's developer-friendly SDKs and enterprise APIs enable teams to create the richest conversations with customers using the tools they already use – all with little to no code. With the Building with TextKit blog series, Statflo’s Solutions Engineer Matt Hughson walks us through his journey of developing features and experimenting with integrations using TextKit.
In 2017, when I was a wireless dealer for a Canadian carrier, my dealership was awarded for top sales in the channel, and I was creating authentic retail experiences. All this was possible because I was armed with a secret weapon, Statflo. So, when the opportunity came up to work for Statflo, I took it right away. I am proud to be Statflo’s newest Solutions Engineer!
Previously, when I was a retailer and a Statflo customer, my goal was to drive as much traffic to my locations as possible. To accomplish that, I leveraged the Statflo platform by challenging the team and bouncing ideas off of my then Customer Success Manager, Laurie.
Now, working as a Solutions Engineer with Statflo, I use my experience of being a Statflo customer as the north star to create awesome integrations and concepts powered by TextKit. With TextKit, you have the ability to create widgets. Widgets are essentially tools that let you access relevant customer information without opening a separate application or page. In this article, I’m going to walk you through my timeline of building widgets with TextKit and show you how easy it is to customize them with the platform.
Day 1: Design & Concept
As a Statflo user, one of my pain points was due diligence. For each client touchpoint, we had to do some research and understand what products were available to offer our clients. With that in mind, I wanted the widget to be easily accessible for the owner or sales representative. With this widget, the sales reps can see all available products/services that their clients do not currently have. When the rep drills down further, they are given even more context about the product/service and possible sample scripts.
Embarking on my first widget and getting to know the SDK was quick and simple. My first step in the process was the design. I scoped the widget so that I could over-deliver but under-promise. I wanted a simple win that drives value for users and creates a custom experience.
From the picture here you can see the whiteboard drawing of my concept. Here, we have a simple list of topics. I drew them as boxes because I envisioned them as buttons that users can click and get more context on each of these topics.
Day 2 to Day 8: Development
Using the Statflo developer SDK, I built a single page web app that acts as a checklist and provides additional context on all of the topics highlighted in the image.
Since the design I had in mind was for a single page application, I decided to use ReactJS for the frontend framework. The widget was fed the data from an API instead of creating a backend database. For prototyping, I used the Google Sheets API, but any API can be used instead of Google Sheets with a little bit of tweaking. That's it - that's how easy it was to build this customizable widget. In the video below, you can see the functioning prototype of my whiteboard design.
My key takeaways from this exercise of building with the widget SDK are:
1. It's really straightforward to go from concept to development
2. It doesn't take a lot of time to get from your whiteboard chicken scratch to a functioning prototype.
Day 9: Results
Part of the success of the first widget was the development timeline and how quick it was to create. I’ve been developing frontend web applications since August 2019. When I worked as a consultant, my role revolved around automation and integrations. Therefore, I wouldn't call myself a senior developer. The reason why I'm highlighting this is because to get from concept drawing to prototype, it only took about a week and a half of part time work. This timeline speaks volumes about the quick turnaround time of building widgets with TextKit.
This week I am working on a tag/word cloud widget. After that, I'm hoping to take a deep dive into the Sendable SDK. As I grow into my role and start building more prototypes, I’ll be sharing my TextKit development journeys with all of you. Let me know in the comments below if you have any requests for concepts of widgets/sendables or have any questions about getting started with TextKit.