“We want to convert likes into real figures on the balance sheet,” says Ruchira Pathirana – CEO & Cofounder of LAYOUTIndex. He describes the company as being a digital media service provider. That means they’ll do everything digital ranging from building software solutions to digital marketing for their clients. And chances are you’ve already seen their work first hand. You just didn’t know it.
You’ve likely used their apps before
Most of you reading this would have probably used the 444 or “Triple 4” service put forth by Dialog. And while it was originally conceptualized as a call center, it was transformed into a full cloud solution mobile app by LAYOUTIndex. This solution includes everything from web and mobile apps to kiosks, POS machines, and 3rd party reselling solutions. Why? Simply because running a call center is a costly venture. It’s didn’t make any business sense to keep it running.
This is where LAYOUTIndex came into the picture. They developed a wide range of digital solutions, which includes event management, movie management. app and host of other features before it was handed over to Dialog. Even to date, the 444 Platform is managed by a separate team within
Ruchia explained that most cinema ticket booking platforms in Sri Lanka are content with their current method of booking tickets. In the past, people would physically visit theaters to book tickets. Then came services such as TicketsLK that allowed users to book tickets online.
But none of these platforms looked at developing a mobile application. Yet, when people were presented with a mobile app, they adopted it as it offered more convenience. As such, 444 and Scope Cinemas were the first mobile applications to deal with booking tickets in Sri Lanka. This is why Ruchira claims many other online services aren’t so prominent anymore.
The origins of LAYOUTIndex: It all began 10 years ago
Believe it or not, LAYOUTIndex is not a new company. In fact, they’ve been in the business for over 10 years. Ruchira began the company with a few freelance developers and designers. During this time, he also secured some contracts with a few foreign clients. The projects themselves were quite small.
As time went on, Ruchira realized that having freelance developers was not a viable solution. Furthermore, their projects became increasingly complex. So he began hiring full-time developers. Eventually, the team grew to the point that developers had their own dedicated office space.
As time passed, LAYOUTIndex collected many awards. Most of these they had given to the clients they had worked with to win these awards. Yet, despite this, they had never bragged about it. In fact, Ruchira proudly stated that for 10 years, the entire was built purely on referrals. The clients they got recommended LAYOUTIndex for others looking for similar services.
Yet referrals merely mean you walk into a meeting. How did Ruchira walk out of a meeting with a new client? He credits the secret sauce of LAYOUTIndex being its focus on User Experience. He explains that it’s one thing for an app to look nice. How easy it is to actually use is an entirely different thing.
So what’s the secret to a good user experience?
“Buying a laptop 10 years ago was a big thing,” says Ruchira. In the past, people did everything on either desktops or laptops with large screens. Smartphones were popular but still gaining traction. Thus, companies began making their websites responsive on mobile screen. This was the concept of being mobile friendly.
However, today things have changed. Smartphones have become significantly more powerful. As such, people have moved towards consuming content on their phones. Now companies have to start by prioritizing how their apps and websites will look on mobiles. This is the concept of being mobile first
The LAYOUTIndex team at work This is why the
Ruchira shared that this was the secret to creating a great user experience. Simply focus on creating a great experience for your users on the devices they use. To anyone in the field of UX, this could be considered as an obvious answer. Yet, Ruchira based on his experience, is inclined to disagree.
Are companies late to the mobile party?
Ruchira went onto state that getting corporates to understand the importance of going digital in general can be a difficult challenge. This was especially true of companies with leaders over the age of 45. Such leaders hardly interacted with new technologies.
And as such, slowly begin to forget what their customers want. For proof, Ruchira points at the banks. He jokingly explained that his bank charges him a convenience fee for using online bank. Whereas, it’s really the bank the conveniently saves money when the need for a branch and it’s many costs are eliminated.
Ruchira believes that education will make reluctant corporates open to digitization. He adds that people are now waking up to a world of mobile apps. As such, there’s no choice in the matter. And now it’s not simply websites or mobile apps. With the rise of wearables, smart speakers, and other devices, there are so many different ways to communicate with customers.
This is why Ruchira repeatedly emphasizes, “Engagement is very important.” Yet, he’s seen many companies ignore trends and opportunities for engagement. By the time they see these trends, companies end up spending vast amounts of money only to play catch up. This is why Ruchira grimly states, “Companies need to stay up to date or perish.”
Yet, he admits that delivering a good user experience while staying within a budget tends to be tricky. But according to Ruchira, it’s manageable for LAYOUTIndex. “We’re facilitating and aiding a client get from where they are to where they should be, while also managing the client’s customer’s expectations,” he states.
The road ahead for LAYOUTIndex
One of these is a Cinema Management System. It’s currently in use by cinemas in Sri Lanka and abroad as well. The second is a Restaurant Management System, which comes with its own set of modules.
But the end vision of LAYOUTIndex is to be at the forefront of mobile apps and set standards for user experiences. To that end, the company is simply focusing on building solutions that solve present challenges and prepare
That means going beyond simply building apps. That means staying ahead of the digital curve. Keeping a sharp eye and quickly adapting to digital trends. Ultimately, what LAYOUTIndex aims to create with their apps is engagement. More importantly, they want those engagements with customers to end in actual sales.