Canadian entrepreneur Steven Herson stumbled across an idea for an educational platform when he was researching a subject online. He realized that while educational resources were everywhere on the internet, there was no single place where all these resources for different subjects could be curated or even collated based on their subject matter.
Sure, there were plenty of lists created by enthusiasts and groups that focused on individual subjects, but none of them followed a consistent pattern or style. Plus, these lists represented just one search result among thousands, and they usually didn’t appear on the first page of a Google search.
Steven realized there was a significant gap in the market. There was no single platform that could help people collate and curate the very best resources required to learn any given subject. He imagined a website that would curate everything from theoretical knowledge to training, on virtually any topic under the sun.
His vision for Podeum, as he would come to call the platform, was to become the preferred destination for educators and learners alike. The only thing keeping Steven from bringing this vision to life was finding the right tech partner.
As Steven dove into the world of software development and outsourcing, he interviewed a number of companies with experience building platforms like the one he envisioned for Podeum. One of those potential partners was Net Solutions, which stood head and shoulders above the others.
Convinced he’d found the right partner, they rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
Given that Steven was launching a new category of online products, it was important for Net Solutions to work with Steven and document his vision. With this in mind, they took the time to carefully prioritize the critical features and functionality that would define the system. After all, since there was nothing quite like Podeum on the market, they couldn’t model it after another platform.
With references provided by Steven, the design team at Net Solutions crafted an intuitive interface for a responsive website, optimized for mobile delivery. The app interface makes the platform seem deceptively simple, while packing a punch and providing a number of helpful features.
Steven envisioned a platform that was simple and straightforward, but also contained some powerful features that would enable his users to post, search for, and easily retrieve any content they wanted to see.
With this in mind, Net Solutions created the following features.
Channels: The app allows users to create content channels where they can curate content by subject matter.
A Variety of Formats: The platform allows users to upload educational content in a wide range of formats, including YouTube videos, On-Demand video courses, podcasts, blog content, and downloadable files like PDFs.
Automatic Parsing for YouTube Videos: When adding YouTube channels, the platform automatically parses the videos within and adds them individually to the channel.
Powerful Search: When users come to the site, they can search for their desired topics. The system presents them with channels and links to curated content that matches their search criteria, which they can then explore for further learning.
Engagement Features: Users can comment on, and “like,” any given resource. They can also mix-and-match links from multiple channels to create their own channel.
Displaying Popular Links: The platform tracks popular resources, and the users can filter results to show links that are new, hot, trending, etc.
Subscribing to Other Users: Any user can subscribe to other users and channels. When they do this, any new posts from those users or channels shows up in the subscriber's custom activity feed.
Powerful Administrative Tools: The admin has full control over the system, with powerful functionality at their disposal, including:
Steven had a vision, and Net Solutions took the time to understand it.
Given the complexity of the undertaking—building a platform that wasn’t quite like anything that had come before it—they realized how important it was to explore all the implications of each feature, and each design decision. In order to be truly efficient, they worked side-by-side with Steven during the planning stage, before writing a single line of code.
Once they had built the first version of the platform, Steven and Net Solutions tested it with a limited audience. They then gathered user feedback and used this information to improve the existing system.
The end result? Net Solutions delivered a product that Steven was proud to take to market.