A French software firm took its popular drivers’ education content and made it available on Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices, with information stored on Windows Azure. The result is a fast-selling
solution that is simple and fun for users to access the training material anytime and on any device.
Getting the attention of a country’s youth market can certainly help a company on the road to success. Avanquest Software has figured that out. Avanquest, a successful independent software vendor based in France, has been making personal and professional software
products since the mid-1980s, including one that is particularly appealing to the 16-24 year-old demographic—training software that helps people study for their driving tests.
With the popularity of mobile devices, social media, and other delivery channels, Avanquest wanted to find a way to make the driver’s education service even more appealing with features such as anywhere, anytime availability, easy ways to store notes, and the
ability to track progress on tests so a user can immediately resume where he or she last left off.
“Around 1.5 million people take the driving test in France every year,” says Manuel Coelho, Chief Operating Officer for the Avanquest InPixio division, which provides creativity and learning software. “It’s a difficult test, and young people put a lot of time,
effort, and money into passing it since it’s something they are quite excited and passionate about. Because we have so much experience in the educational software field, we wanted to find a way to make it easier for people to study for the test.”
Merging to the Fast Lane with Windows
Avanquest got a big assist with the arrival of the Windows 8 operating system which, along with the Windows Phone platform and the Windows Azure cloud platform, helped the company create Code de la Route, an application that helps people study for their driving
The solution includes educational videos, complete sample exams, and an intuitive interface, allowing customers to prepare for their exams with a consistent experience across multiple types of devices.
The Windows 8 version of Code de la Route caught on quickly after its introduction and is now a top-selling app in the Windows Store, bringing in a revenue stream to Avanquest through two pricing models. First, there is a free application that offers paid add-ons
containing new tests and exams. A full-priced app costing €9.99 (U.S.$12.80) that includes a complete range of related content.
By mid-2013, Code de la Route had been downloaded more than 65,000 times. In addition to the Windows platform, it is also available for iOS and Android devices. Avanquest liked the look and feel of the Windows 8 user interface so much that it company used the
Windows design for the iPhone and Android versions of the application.
A Richer User Experience
Many of the educational features in Code de la Route were available in a previous desktop app. However, the combined richness and power of Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure helped Avanquest get into high gear with a richer, more compelling user experience.
||Features like live tiles and the interactive user interface in Windows 8 provide a rich experience for users, making it easy to jump in and out of particular parts of the course and keep track of where they are in their training. It
brings an entertainment aspect to the app that makes it really fun for users.
| Manuel Coelho Chief Operating Officer, InPixio,
“Nowadays, smartphones and tablets are very common, particularly among our youth audience, so we saw a path to a great app in that market with Code de la Route,” says Coelho. “Features like live tiles and the interactive user interface in Windows 8 provide
a rich experience for users, making it easy to jump in and out of particular parts of the course and keep track of where they are in their training. It brings an entertainment aspect to the app that makes it really fun for users, in addition to offering great
content such as high-quality questions, thousands of photos, and professional audio commentaries.”
The “anywhere, anytime” availability of the app and the storage of temporary information—such as incomplete mock tests—was also important to attract users. Windows Azure was critical for this aspect of the app.
“We have a lot of users who are very mobile. Perhaps they are on a bus or at a friend’s house, and want to use Code de la Route to continue studying,” says Coelho. “Windows Azure provide a safe, reliable place to keep users’ information in the cloud. It lets
them to see the same information no matter what device or platform they are using on the front end. For example, they can view their exam history on a smartphone or a tablet or laptop—whatever they happen to be using.”
This is the first version of Code de la Route to consume a set of cloud-based services. “It’s why we chose Windows Azure as our cloud platform of choice,” Coelho says. “Windows Azure provides powerful backend services that work with Windows 8 and Windows Phone
to increase the functionality of our apps.”
Driving Forward with New Windows Apps
The “triple Windows” combination has been such as benefit for Avanquest that it is now using the same approach for other software titles.
“We were so enthusiastic about the results from Code de la Route that we are using the same platform for our InstaCards application, which lets users send Instagram photos by regular mail with just a few clicks from devices,” says Coelho.
Other Avanquest applications built on the same combination will come to market in 2013, including an application designed for young children. All of the titles will be available in both Europe and North America.
“We are convinced that we made the right move in developing a ‘triple Windows’ solution for Code de la Route,” says Coelho. “Choosing this solution and working closely with Microsoft was natural and the best option for delivering powerful yet easy-to-use software.
It’s enabling our customers to have the cross-device user experience that is so important for the consumer market.”