Author Archive

Want digital success? Get out a pen and paper

Posted on: October 4th, 2023 by Smpl Team No Comments
Smpl digital design expert, Magnus Petterson, explains the first five things you have to do to create a successful digital product or service.

If you’ve got a great idea for a digital product or service, there are some crucial steps you need to take before you start any kind of development. And – despite this being 2023 – that includes making good use of pen and paper…

1. Ask Big Questions

Firstly, if you’re going to get your Big Idea right, you need to focus on a clear goal.

That goal must be specific.

Too many people want to be all things to all people. You will never succeed – far less change the world – if you don’t offer a specific solution to a specific need.

As we often tell clients: ‘There are already way too many solutions out there that are in need a problem’.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is my (product’s) purpose?
  • What are my (product’s) unique selling points (USPs)?
  • What am I going to change?
  • What am I going to do/make better?
  • What problem am I going to solve for my audience(s)?

Find your purpose. Solve a problem. Then the world will be your oyster.

A schematic of one of Smpl's client protoypes
Behind the scenes of a digital prototype… These get complicated fast, so keep it simple

2. Rise above the detail

People with great ideas often get very excited about those ideas and how they’re going to change the world… and that’s quite right!

You must have passion for your idea or it’s never going anywhere. The problem comes when that turns into a desire to get everything done at once.

Trying to do everything at the start kills digital projects.


All too often clients are thinking of a certain mood or feeling of an app, well before they get the fundamentals in place.

They’ll say something like: ‘The app has to look really polished, like that Apple app with those cool blue buttons!’

Again, I get it, you’re excited. That’s great. But think of digital design like creating a sculpture.

If you want to sculpt a person, you don’t start with the nose or the eye. You start with a big rock and create a rough shape. This is like the big idea that holds all the potential.

Then you chisel away and refine that shape, then you refine it a bit more, ­­ until you get the sculpture you want that is full of beautiful detail.

But your statue never starts with that detail. You always start with the big idea.

In more practical terms, you don’t make an app for the sake of making an app (or at least you shouldn’t). You make it for specific purpose. You make it to solve a problem.

The start of the process is not the time to obsess over whether your buttons are going to be blue.

Magnus working on a product… with blue buttons

3. Think beyond your customers

‘Know your audience’ is one of the most quoted pieces of advice when it comes to designing digital products and services.

This is correct and something that is crucial to know when you’re answering the Big Questions in Point 1, above.

BUT, here’s the big mistake people make with audiences: they think about their end-user(s) then stop there.

Yes, it’s crucial to define your end-users from the outset as they are ultimately going to decide whether your digital product or service is a success.

But remember they may not be the audience you have to appeal to first – the audience whose buy-in will make or break your product at the very first step.

First among equals

Your first audience could be beta customers, but it could just as easily be colleagues, investors, partners, of any other number of groups.

It’s CRUCIAL to remember this when you come to making an early prototype to show off your idea (something, in this day and age, you really have to do).

Think of a prototype as nothing more than a sequence. So, on top of being visually engaging, your prototype needs to take a specific person/audience on a journey to a specific place.

For that to work you need to be clear who your that relevant, early stage audience is, as well as who the end-user is.

For example, if you have a booking app that makes money from taking bookings on behalf of hotels, to impress investors you might want to focus on how cleverly and slickly you can take potential guests to your ‘book this room’ page.

But, on the other hand, if your app makes money from ads within it, you’ll want your prototype to demonstrate how easy and effective it is for advertisers to display their ads.

In both these cases the ultimate user goal is the same – to get people to book rooms via the app. But prototypes for those two audiences will not look the same, nor will they perform the same tasks, because you are selling a different benefit to each.

So, don’t just target an end user with your early design work. Make sure your prototypes are giving the target audience at that stage of the product development lifecycle what they need.

4. Don’t be afraid of sharing

We love a good workshop at Smpl. That’s because getting people in a room and throwing around ideas is so effective when it comes to digital innovation. (Find out how to host an awesome workshop here.)

When people get together and talk it is a recipe for inspiration and creativity.  When we meet and thrash out ideas we find new perspectives, interesting chemistry, and untapped creativity.

At the same time the different perspectives that arise help rule out ideas that won’t fly (and save lots of time and money in the process), while also offering the opportunity engaging your stakeholders early, helping them buy into your journey.

Workshop attendees hard at work
A Smpl workshop in action

Even if you don’t want to do something structured as a workshop, the lesson remains: you mustn’t be afraid of sharing ideas.

Some people don’t like to share because they are worried others will not be impressed by those ideas.

Trust me, it’s unlikely people will laugh at your ideas. If you are in an organisation or surrounded by people who will laugh at you, then arguably – as an innovator – you’re in the wrong place.

Let’s get crazy

Still, worrying is natural, I get that. So, if you or your colleagues are worried about sharing ideas because of being judged, I suggest that when you get together you start by getting people to come up with way out ideas.

As crazy as they can think of.

That takes the edge off and makes thing less tense. And it’s so hard to be creative when you’re tense. This exercise helps create a fun vibe. And, more often than you’d think, throwing out those dumb ideas leads to finding a real gem.

The second biggest concern with sharing ideas is the fear that someone will steal them.

The truth is people rarely steal other people’s ideas when they are shared (unless it’s out-and-out corporate espionage, of course…)

That’s because people are usually way too busy themselves to steal your ideas.

And so what if they do?

It’s incredibly unlikely that’ll they’ll end up doing the same thing in the same way as you. I can pretty much guarantee your product or service, when it launches, will be substantially different to where you started out.

5. Put pen to paper

Smpl is all about rapid, effective digital prototyping. But before we make the 1s and the 0s dance across your screens, we like to go old school and break out the pens and the paper.

A paper prototype is like a lo-fi, rough idea of what you want to achieve. But it is also a useful way to see things from a different perspective (often that of the user), test your idea, dodge pitfalls, and see if your intentions and customer journeys are clear to others.

Smpl designer, Tore, working on a paper protoytype
Before you go digital, go back to basics with a paper prototype

The first way to do this is to create placeholders of empty smartphone and laptop screens (these could be a simple as rectangle shapes on a page).

Using these placeholders or containers, you need to create your core customer journey, but on a very high level.

Think of it like trying to explain your idea to a child. It will need to be brief and clear if it’s going to work.

Simplify and clarify

The joy (or frustration!) of this activity is that, on each page you use to map that journey, you will have very little room and will not be able to go into much detail.

This is good.

Paper prototyping is all about forcing you to simplify and clarify.

As soon as you begin, you’ll realise how little space you have and how difficult it’s going to be to communicate your idea with your users. But this is an essential task. (N.B. Don’t cheat. Don’t say: ‘I will add something here’ and that you’ll work out what it is later. Anything you put in your diagram needs to be properly explained.)

At the other end of the scale, don’t be afraid of not having enough on the screen. People tend to want to fill an area.

Instead, remember that empty space is your friend.

Adopt the old maxim: it’s not finished until there’s nothing left to take away.


Let’s go back to the booking app idea. When creating a paper prototype, you’d say to yourself: “I want a customer to book a room. What are the most important steps on that journey? What do they need to know? What are the most important clickable elements? What do they need to be able to see? What will stop them from following that journey?” And so on.

When you have the answers you would sketch them out on however many pieces of paper you need.

Getting ready to present paper prototypes at a Smpl workshop

A great exercise to do after you’ve created your paper prototype is to get someone else to take your pages and present the idea back to you, as they understand it.

Just give them the pages, without explanation or prompts from you. When they present it, you’ll instantly see what works, and where confusion or problems arise.

It’s also great fun.

One final thought about paper prototyping: sometimes filling in diagrams of smartphones or laptops won’t work. If you have a specific process that needs a flow chart, then use that method (for example, if you must demonstrate a step where data goes to a specific server in a specific place).

To tap into Magnus’ expertise, as well as the deep design and development experience we’ve got across Smpl, get in touch.
You can email our MD Andreas, just leave us a message here and we’ll come straight back to you.

Client case study: Raising millions for robots

Posted on: May 8th, 2023 by Smpl Team No Comments

The Client

Remora Robotics

Our client uses autonomous, underwater robots to monitor fish farm environments and clean nets. This helps farmers create optimal conditions for both their fish and their business.

The Big Idea

Create a prototype to show how Remora Robotics is going to transform itself from a robotic cleaning service into a comprehensive data solution for the aquaculture market.

This prototype could then be used to engage with investors and customers to get the backing Remora needed to bring the platform to life.

The new platform will use data from Remora’s robots, as well as aggregating fish farmers’ other information sources. This will let customers:

  • improve environmental conditions and fish welfare
  • simplify and streamline their operations
  • save money (on repairs, escaped fish, and more)
  • deliver superior food to consumers

To achieve this, the new platform must enable farmers to:

  • monitor the position and progress of Remora’s robots using interactive maps and live video
  • collect and analyse real-time data collected by the robots, detailing:
    • the state of nets (and any current or potential damage to them)
    • the quality of environment the fish are living in (e.g. water oxygen levels)
  • integrate other sources of data they are collecting through other systems

How did it go?

It went this well!

Project Summary

Remora used Smpl’s super-fast workshop and digital prototyping service.

We delivered a clickable prototype of Remora’s new dashboard data service in five days.

The prototype lets customers shape Remora’s forthcoming product to their needs, gives them a feeling of ownership, and helps secure buy-in to the future service.

It has become an important part of Remora’s business model, as the company looks for more ways to support their customers.

Screenshot of Remopra Robotics prototype platform
The 5-day prototype platform Smpl created for Remora

What did the client think?

“To be honest, I was sceptical about your 5-Day Prototype promise” (says Remora CEO, Brage Amundsen). “In the past, it’s always taken me so long and been so costly to get this kind of thing done.

“But I was wrong. You were very professional and honest. When you promised something, you delivered it.

“The digital prototype is excellent. It has a very clean set-up and the design is simple and intuitive. It takes no time to work out what to click, where to click, and why.

“It gave us something professional that we can show to investors and customers that they can engage with – rather than us just explaining the idea.

“It became way easier to win people over with your prototype, rather than with slides and sketches.”

Brage C. Amundsen, CEO, Remora Robotics

Remora Robotics team with some of their robots
Remora CEO, Brage (2nd from R), with his team

The project in depth

The problem to be solved

The idea for Remora’s autonomous, underwater net cleaners was born when the team visited a fish farm.

“There was a net-cleaning boat there, vomiting out smoke,” says CEO Brage Amundsen. “Four guys were on deck carrying huge hoses, blasting the fish farm nets, which can be very stressful for the fish. Right then we knew there had to be a better way of doing this.”

Fish farmers have a mandatory requirement to keep nets clean to ensure continuous water flow through them.

This prevents biofouling [an accumulation of microorganisms, plants, algae, or small animals], keeps oxygen at optimal levels, and lowers stress and sickness in fish.

Ultimately that leads to a better product for consumers.

Brage knew automation was the answer.

“Our robots don’t just appear and clean and leave,” Brage says. “They are methodically cleaning all the time, monitoring the environment, and spotting problems, like algae growth or holes where fish can escape. This makes farmers’ business more effective and efficient.”

Film from a live Remora robot feed.

Brave new world

Remora’s solution was not just technological.

“We created a whole new business model,” Brage says. “Traditionally farmers get charged per square metre for a one-off high-pressure clean. Instead, we offer fixed costs per month and a continuous cleaning service.”

Once the robots were in place, monitoring and cleaning nets, Remora focused on a bigger opportunity.

“We started using a basic webpage that was built in-house to monitor and track the robots,” says Brage. “But we wanted something more sophisticated and better looking that customers could personalise and use themselves. This would give them a huge amount of value.”

Remora’s ambitions didn’t stop there.

“Today cleaning is primary, but we see it becoming secondary – part of a much bigger offer,” says Brage. “We want to create a data solution that brings together all farmers’ data in one place and lets them run their business much more effectively.”

The begin bringing this vision to life, Remora turned to Smpl.

A screenshot from Smpl's 5-day prototype for Remora
A screenshot from Smpl’s 5-day prototype for Remora

The Solution

Often clients come to Smpl with a Big Idea that requires shaping, both strategically and tactically (for which our business advisory team is standing by).

But Brage’s vision for the new dashboard was clear: he wanted to start creating the data platform of choice for the aquaculture industry.

“First, we needed a platform that farmers could use to monitor our robots,” he says. “That needed to cover operating times, current positions, and an interactive map of where they’ve been cleaning.”

Layered on top of that would be a dashboard where farmers could access and analyse real time data from the robots.

“Farmers need to be able to visualise data that the robots are collecting and understand the environment the fish are living in,” Brage says.

“That means giving them the big picture, as well as granular data – like the water oxygen content in a specific location. That way they can optimise operations.”

Remora team member lowers a robot into the water
Let the cleaning and monitoring begin…

Getting started

Our partnership started with Remora’s senior team meeting Smpl’s designers and engineers at a workshop, run by our Head of Design, Andreas.

Here we discussed immediate needs, as well as the future strategy.

“You guys got the concept really fast,” says Brage. “In that first workshop we were already navigating through design, user flows, and key areas of focus.”

Armed with the output of the workshop, Smpl’s team went to work on the digital prototype.

“The idea of a fast, clickable prototype was very attractive,” says Brage. “In the past, it’s always taken so long and been so costly to get this kind of thing done.”

“I was sceptical you could do it in five days, but I was wrong. You promised something, you delivered on it.”

Creating a digital prototype

The dashboard we created together lets fish farmers choose the KPI’s that are most important to them. This is delivered via graphs, data points, maps, and videos.

It has become an important tool for Remora to develop and market their idea.

 “It’s way easier to engage with customers and win them over using your prototype, rather than trying with slides and sketches,” Brage says.

“It’s something we can bring into meetings for customers to look at and click on, instead of just explaining the idea to them,” he adds.

“You captured the essence of what we wanted really well, as well as the different levels of data we wanted to present.

“Users can see and organise information, from high-level data down to specific issues in specific places, quickly. Which is just what we wanted.”

Remora robot on a net underwater, cleaning algae off
What a difference a robot makes…

The Big Question

What did Remora think of working with Smpl?

“A lot of effort went into creating what we needed,” Brage says. “On top of that, you were very professional and honest.

“We felt like you really understood what we were trying to do and were in control of it,” he adds. “You delivered more than we expected and, at the same time, built in the flexibility we needed for future development.

“Our goal is to make customers familiar with our new product, get feedback, give them some ownership of the final solution, and make sure our new service can be easily integrated with farmers’ current systems.

“What we’ve created together does all that.”

If you are creating something brilliant from scratch – or looking to build and improve on what you’ve already got – we’d love to hear from you.
You can drop our MD Andreas an email here. Alternatively, leave us a message and we’ll come straight back to you.

Client case study: Prototypes that win customers

Posted on: April 13th, 2023 by Smpl Team No Comments

The Client


A platform offering simple sustainability reporting for companies, including analysis of their entire supply chains.

Compera dashboard mock-up with graphs and charts
The 5-day prototype we built for Compera

The Big Idea

To create a single destination for companies – and their suppliers – to easily collect, validate, and present their ESG (environment, social and governance) and sustainability data.

This platform needed to:

  • enable companies to get control of their sustainability data and meet legal and customer reporting requirements
  • help big companies consolidate and compare firms from across their entire supply chain, turning sustainability into a criterium for supplier selection
  • ease the reporting burden on suppliers – and stop them being excluded from tenders – by making reporting simple, reasonable, and repeatable

In creating this ground-breaking service, Compera aims to build a simpler and more transparent ecosystem for sustainability reporting.

This will, in turn, help industry reduce its environmental footprint and be prepared for ever-changing regulation.

Project Summary

To date, Compera has used two of Smpl’s core offers:

  • Our business advisory service helped clarify and focus Compera’s approach to its brand, platform, and system, using our team of highly-experienced business leaders
  • Our 5-day prototyping service delivered a clickable prototype that became a key tool for winning customers, getting wider stakeholders on board, and even winning awards
A schematic of one of Smpl's client protoypes
Behind the scenes A LOT of work goes into our 5-day prototypes…

What did the client think?

“Working with Smpl was a dream start for a start-up. Your advice and prototype helped get us in the room and win contracts – and an award!

“Smpl has helped us turn something highly complex into something simple and visually beautiful; something that potential customers can quickly understand and engage with.

“You helped us make the system easy to navigate and made communication with stakeholders and customers a lot less complicated.”

“I would not recommend Smpl… to our competitors! But I would seriously recommend Smpl to other companies, whether they’re start-ups or established companies that need help developing their solutions.”

Lene Koll, CEO

Lene, CEO of Compera, with her award and some flowers
Lene with Compera’s (first!) award

The Project In More Depth

What problem needed to be solved?

“The problem today is two-sided,” says Lene Koll, CEO of Compera.

“On one side, the EU now requires all large companies to include their value chain in their climate accounting.

“Those required to do the reporting represent only 1% of the companies in Europe.” she adds.

“However, the reality is that they must now obtain information from all companies in their value chain – and that means a large proportion of the 99% of companies that do not have reporting requirements today.

“So even though sustainability reporting is not an official requirement for the 99%, it quickly becomes a customer requirement,” Lene continues.

“The problem is many of these businesses are unsure of how best to collect, analyse and present their own information, as well as suppliers’ data.”

Lene points out that many suppliers – particularly those in the SME market – are even worse off.

“Even those who already report on sustainability find the work challenging, resource-intensive, and that it does not yield results,” she says. “But many SME’s don’t know where to start when customers – or potential customers with lucrative tenders – demand sustainability data.

“This means they can easily miss out on contracts; and it’s made worse because reporting mostly takes place in Excel spreadsheets, which can take ages – and it’s always done differently.”

The solution:

Compera saw an opportunity to create a solution that delivered:

  • a top-down service for companies needing to track and report on their whole supply/value chain
  • a bottom-up solution that helps SMEs in the supply chain to collect and deliver data to their clients

“We wanted to ensure companies could access a simple platform for consolidating and comparing firms in their supplier portfolio,” Lene says. “If you can do that then sustainability becomes a competitive element and one of the criteria for supplier selection.

“On the other side of the coin, we wanted to ease the reporting burden for suppliers by making reporting and information sharing simple, reasonable and repeatable.”

Getting started

Lasse is a start-up expert who has created several businesses himself. Those include ForgeRock, which became a unicorn (with a $2.8bn valuation) when he floated it on the New York Stock Exchange last year.

Our relationship began with Compera’s team meeting members of Smpl’s business advisory board, including Lasse Andresen.

“Lasse’s background and experience made him perfectly placed to offer advice on Compera’s vision, strategy and tactics,” Lene says.

After discussions and workshops, led by Smpl’s Head of Design (and King of Workshops) Andreas, we created a super-fast prototype, using our 5-day Prototype Method.

Compera CEO Lene with Smpl's Lasse and Andy, standing in the office hallway
Lasse, Lene, and Andreas at Smpl HQ. Clearly happy with their day’s work


“We gained access to Smpl’s entire arsenal of expertise,” Lene says. “After the workshop and some great discussions we got a clickable prototype. And that contributed to our first contract.”

That contract is with one of the biggest firms on the oil and gas industry, Equinor.

“We particularly like how easy it is to understand and navigate the prototype, which we’ve found customers really appreciate.

“It’s become a key part of how we present Compera to customers and other stakeholders. It helped us win our first award too.”

“The prototype has also given us a better understanding how to order the next phase of system development,” Lene adds. “Our experience indicates that if the order is bad, the project often becomes much more expensive. So, we think we’ve probably saved a lot of money here.

“Now we are ready to take the next step and develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) version of the system for our pilot customers.”

Compera's Pål and Lene on stage talking about their platform
Compera’s Pål and Lene selling the sustainable dream

The Big Question…

What did Compera think of working with Smpl…?

“One of the big differences between Smpl and other agencies is you really got the problem we were trying to address,” says Lene. “It can be a real showstopper when an agency doesn’t understand what it’s building.

“Smpl’s strategic advice made it easier to explain our solution in a jungle of other systems and market noise. That gave us greater weight and impact in dialogue with customers and other stakeholders.

“The prototype has won us meetings and got us up the management chain,” Lee adds. “That’s because potential stakeholders could clearly see what we were working towards. They could also see we had a system they could use and benefit from.”

“We also predict the prototype is going to save us a lot of time and money as we go forward. It’s designed so we can adapt to feedback from customers and quickly adjust the content during development.”

If you are creating something brilliant from scratch – or looking to build and improve on what you’ve already got – we’d love to hear from you.
You can drop our MD Andreas an email here. Alternatively, leave us a message and we’ll come straight back to you.

Client case study: solving a major hospitality industry problem

Posted on: February 27th, 2023 by Smpl Team No Comments

The Client

Norwegian Experience

Owner of hotels in some of the most beautiful areas of Norway (and the world, for that matter).

Waitress holding a tray of champagne glasses by a fjord

The Big Idea: 

To create a digital platform that gives all staff across the hotel group a single, personalised, access point for information they need to do their job, whatever role they are in.

The platform needed to:

  • Make working in the hotel more efficient, effective, and enjoyable by being intuitive and easy to use, no matter the role you are in
  • Make it easy for managers to onboard and train staff, as well as deliver continuous professional development (including around evolving laws and regulations)
  • Drive a culture of openness, engagement, and learning within the hotel group

Project summary

Norwegian Experience took advantage of all Smpl’s core offers:

  • Our business advisory service helped the Norwegian Experience leadership team shape the strategy and scope of their platform 
  • Our super-fast prototyping service delivered a clickable prototype in five days, giving the team a clear vision of what they could and should do with their platform
  • Our developers, alongside our design and UX teams, worked in partnership with Norwegian Experience to bring their idea to life. The result was a ready-to-use platform that met their expectations, which was delivered within budget and inside challenging deadlines

What did the client think? 

“When we started out, we knew we had a problem, but we struggled to see how to solve it. Once we started talking to Smpl we came to a solution very fast.

“Our ideas quickly turned into a platform that is easy to use and answers the problem we had in a very cool way. It’s exactly as I hoped, and I am amazed how good it is. I’ve no doubt it will become our most important tool.”

Eyvind Flood, CEO

A smartphone on a table showing the NoHao service
‘NoHao’ is the answer to a problem that plagues hospitality: too many systems

What problem needed to be solved?

“It all started when we were looking at the dashboard on one of the hotel reception computers and realised what a mess it was,” says Eyvind Flood, who is CEO of Norwegian Experience’s Ryfylke Fjordhotell and Preikestolen BaseCamp hotels.

“Trying to retrieve and share information quickly and efficiently was a big issue for us, just as it is across the whole hospitality industry.”

Eyvind, alongside General Manager Per Kristian Djuvsland, knew there had to be a smarter way for those working in their hotels to access the information they needed – and to work smarter in the process.

“Take housekeeping, for example,” says Eyvind. “We knew it would make everything work better and our colleagues’ lives much easier if they had instant access to the tools to manage their day; information like which rooms had already been cleaned and which still needed cleaning and by when.”

But they didn’t know where to start with the project and worried about making things worse.

“As an older guy I was dreading having new apps and platforms to have control over,” says Per Kristian. “We were already drowning in them!”

Eyvind & Per Kristian with the VW bus
CEO Eyvind and General Manager Per Kristian

The solution:

As a fully integrated agency, Smpl could bring together our designers, user experience experts (UX), and engineers from the very start to take Norwegian Experience’s project all the way from inception to reality.

Norwegian Experience took advantage of all our core offers:

  • Strategic business advice
  • 5-day clickable prototyping
  • Full platform development 

Our relationship started with the hotel leadership discussing their Big Idea with Smpl, in a workshop led by our Head of Design (and workshop fanatic) Andreas.

“When we all got together and started discussing ideas, we quickly realised our initial idea – to build another programme – wasn’t the right one,” says Eyvind. “Rather than adding to the total – and the mess! –  we needed something that organised and pointed all of our current programmes and applications to one place.”

“Yes, that’s when we realised what we were missing,” adds Per Kristian. “A single point to access what you need, wherever you are in the organisation.”

“As we discussed it, we realised how powerful this could be,” says Eyvind. “It could make it easier for colleagues to organise their day, but it would also be a powerful tool for learning – not just when you start the job, but keeping up with changes to processes, regulations, and so on, on a day-to-day basis.

Using our new service, staff can now get all the info they need in one place

Creating a new culture

“We used to lose a lot of time on getting information and distributing it,” adds Per Kristian. “For example, we have lots of issues with keeping staff aligned with changing alcohol laws. 

“That’s crucial for our business because if you get it wrong the government can shut you down.”

Our discussions also revealed that their Big Idea could have great cultural benefits.

“When you are sharing information quickly and efficiently that helps build a culture of openness and learning,” says Eyvind.

“That’s particularly important to us because we are talking about staff from many different cultures and countries,” he adds.

“Some have a very collaborative approach, while others want to be told exactly what to do and when. We realised the new system we were plotting with Smpl could help solve that. It would let us assist and support them in whatever way they wanted.”

Bringing ideas to life

These insights formed the basis of one of Smpl’s 5-day clickable prototypes, which gave Eyvind and Per Kristian a first look at their Big Idea, brought to life.

“The initial prototype was very helpful,” says Per Kristian. “It was then we saw the full potential in the platform. The ability to train and onboard of staff was particularly interesting and will be a very important feature of the platform – without the prototype we wouldn’t have thought of that.”

The success of the prototype led to Smpl and Norwegian Experience creating a fully functioning, development-ready prototype.

That, in turn, quickly progressed to full development of the platform. (If you want to find out more about our prototyping process take a look here. You learn all about how we would build your product or service here.)

“I am amazed how good the platform is… There’s so much to say about it!”

Eyvind Flood, CEO

The Result

The ‘NoHao’ platform – as it has been christened – is optimised for desktop and mobile use and delivers on the strategies agreed during our discovery and early testing:

  • the transparent and accessible platform is helping management promote a culture of openness and learning across staff from many different countries and cultures
  • information can now be retrieved quickly and efficiently by Norwegian Experience staff, no matter where it is sits across the hotel’s programmes and applications
  • staff can be onboarded and trained much more easily and quickly (particularly important in an industry so reliant on seasonal work)
  • it is much easier to keep track of – and keep staff informed about – new laws, regulations, and policies
  • managers can easily update and distribute information to support their staff in their roles

“I am amazed how good the platform is,” says Eyvind. “There’s so much to say about it. One of the things we really like and that will make a big difference is the content management feature, which is really cool.

“For example, if a restaurant manager has three new wines in and wanted to teach staff what they were like, they can now shoot a quick film on their phone and upload it so it is immediately accessible.”

A smartphone showing the NoHao service with a video of a sommelier talking about wine
NoHao makes sharing insight easy and engaging

The Big Question

What did Norwegian Experience think of working with Smpl..?

“When we started out, we knew we had a problem, but we struggled to see how to solve it. Once we began talking to Smpl we came to a solution very fast,” says Eyvind.

“The platform is exactly as I hoped, and it’s so simple to use. I’ve no doubt it will become our most important tool. I can’t think of anyone who could have delivered this in the way you guys did.”

“The other thing we learned during the process was the importance of being challenged,” says Per Kristian. “The Smpl team was really collaborative and Andreas, in particular, wasn’t afraid of telling us if he thought we were on the wrong path from a strategic business, design, or delivery point of view. 

“That honesty was really important to us and made a huge difference.”

Sunset over a fjord with a hotel guest dipping their feet in the water
The sun sets over another awesome digital development project. (Source: Norwegian Experience)
If you are creating something brilliant from scratch, or looking to build and improve on what you’ve already got, we’d love to hear from you.
You can drop our MD Andreas an email here, or leave us a message and we’ll come straight back to you.

So, why should you care about Smpl?

Posted on: January 27th, 2023 by Smpl Team No Comments
Smpl is all about injecting pace, quality and certainty into digital innovation, while substantially reducing risk.

We have redesigned the way digital platforms, products, and services are created, to:

  • give you the best chance of turning your Big Idea into a massive success
  • save you time, money, and heaps of stress when testing, devleoping and launching new ideas

That’s why you should care about Smpl.

Here’s how we do that, explained in one minute

How you benefit

Smpl takes complex problems and crafts simple solutions designed to surprise and delight users.

We promise to bring our clients’ digital ideas to life more efficiently and effectively than anyone else. That’s true whether you’re building something entirely new or improving what you’ve already got.

We offer clients:

  • The confidence they are creating the right product or service in the right way for the right people
  • Instant progress from the very start, ensuring momentum is kept up, and colleagues, investors, and stakeholders remain engaged and happy
  • Delighted customers, following an expert, efficient, effective – and low stress! – development process
You can read about one client we helped do just that here
Let’s get you airborne

Who are we?

We are industry-leading entrepreneurs, designers, and developers from across the world, who came together with a simple credo:

“It shouldn’t be so damn hard to create amazing digital platforms, products, and services.”

Smpl is made up of professionals with deep expertise across the whole design and development chain, as well as seasoned innovators who have launched, grown and sold businesses themselves.

We have offices in:

  • London, UK
  • San Francisco, USA
  • Stavanger, Norway
  • Szeged, Hungary
You can find out all about our amazing team here.
Some of the amazing entrepreneurs, designers, and developers from Smpl

What kind of projects do we do?

If it’s digital and it can be built, then we’re ready to go.

We are an integrated agency that brings together:

  • Strategic and tactical advice
  • Creative design & branding
  • User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) expertise
  • Development / engineering
  • Brand & Marketing

Having all these elements – and integrating them from the start of your project – is the thing that makes us different and saves you large amounts of cost, time, and stress.

Digital platforms, products & services we’ve designed and developed recently include:

  • The Airbnb of camping – creating a one-stop digital shop for customers to plan and book their trips, while giving campsite owners a single trusted sales platform
  • An award-winning sustainability reporting platform for the oil and gas industry, allowing companies and their suppliers to chart environment impact throughout the supply chain
  • A personalised onboarding and learning platform that gives staff across a hotel group a single, personalised, access point for information they need to do their job, whatever role they are in
  • A bespoke community / social media platform for tech entrepreneurs
A smartphone with the No Hao service on the screen
The No Hao onboarding and learning platform we created for a hotel chain client

How do we do it?

When you want to build a digital solution you usually have to navigate expertise in three different silos – or often three different companies – which can be time-consuming, disjointed, and frustrating.

We have brought the whole process together, then redesigned it to vastly improve your experience and outcomes.

The expertise that enabled us to do this runs deep in Smpl. We have built digital companies ourselves, so when you meet with us, you are talking to people who know what it takes to build business critical digital solutions.

Smpl combines three core offers:

  • Business Advisory: We are here as your independent digital advisor, helping you identify, optimise, and quickly respond to opportunities. We’ve helped build clients into successful global brands, founded our own companies, and even floated them on Wall Street. And, along the way, we have built more digital platforms, products, and services than we can count
  • A 5-day clickable prototype: From day one our advisors, designers, and engineers all come together to unleash an idea’s potential. By quickly creating an interactive prototype clients gain clarity, credibility, and momentum 
  • Our unique design and development process: We have re-engineered the digital design and development process, so that design, UX/UI and development are integrated from the outset. This removes much of the confusion, cost and stress inherent in digital projects, building in partnership and predictability instead. And we can call on more than 30 developers (and have access to more if needed), so capacity is never a problem
Lasse walking a camel
Nothing to see here. Just Smpl co-founder Lasse taking a camel for a walk.

Meet Smpl’s founders

If you like stories of building billion dollar firms, alongside tales of pirates, camels, lego, and going to war by mistake, then you’ll enjoy these interviews with our founders…

  • Lasse Andresen, Smpl’s start-up titan, on building his billion-dollar SaaS company, why he doesn’t trust ‘unique’ ideas, and the power of getting started
  • Andreas Melvær, our General Manager and Head of Design, on how to make or break a digital project, why impossible ideas matter, and being mistaken for a pirate
  • Michael Millar, Smpl’s Head of Marketing & Brand, on the power of self-belief, the biggest marketing mistake start-ups and big corporations make, and going to war by mistake
  • Andras Toth, our Head of Development, on creating monsters, mistakes that wreck digital projects, and being one of the ‘Jinxed Ones’
  • Bjørn Ivar Knudsen, our Chairman and UX genius, on the random comment that inspired his market-leading tech firm, the size of fish, and having unresolved issues with Lego
  • Desi Olsen, our Head of Business Advisory, on building successful international brands and having to decide between survival and fashion
We hope this brief introduction to Smpl has been useful. If you want to find out more how we can bring your Big Idea to life faster, more efficiently – and considerably less stressfully! – than anyone else, we’d love to hear from you.
Click here to email our General Manager Andreas, or leave us a message here.

Client case study: the ‘Airbnb of camping’

Posted on: December 22nd, 2022 by Smpl Team No Comments

The Client


A digital start-up founded by entrepreneurs (and former teachers) Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad and Silje Bjelland.

Project summary:

  • Our business advisory service helped shape Campall’s strategy and tactics for its SaaS business
  • Our super-fast prototyping service – which included designing the look and feel of the product – delivered a clickable prototype in five days, giving the Campall team a clear vision of what they should do with their product
  • The result: armed with a clear plan and a tangible asset, Campall had the clarity and credibility to take their idea out to investors and customers, long before their product was built
  • What did the client think? ‘We needed to find people we could rely on and Smpl were the perfect partners. You really wanted us to succeed, believed in us, and delivered exactly what we needed. We will work with you again!’ Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad
Campall founders Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad and Silje Bjelland holding a 'We Love Camping' sign
Heidi and Silje spreading the good word…

The Big Idea

Do for camping what and Airbnb have done for hotels by creating a one-stop digital shop for customers to plan and book their trips, while giving campsite owners a single trusted sales platform.

The Problem 

Campall co-founder Silje says that if you like camping and want to book a trip it’s very difficult to find what you need.

‘If you want to go camping, you can’t go to one place to look at different campsites and compare quality, cost, and availability, and you can’t check the weather or maps, or anything like that.’

‘This is just as much a problem for campsite owners looking to get customers,’ fellow co-founder Heidi adds. ‘On top of that, this is an industry that’s not used to tools like this. Some are still writing guest bookings into a book, while others are paying large sums to booking facilitators.

‘So, Campall has to be easy, safe, friendly and secure for campsite owners and guests,’ she says. ‘Simplicity is very important; our solution has to work for everyone from pensioners to the very youngest customers.’

The Solution

Campall took advantage of two of Smpl’s core offers:

  • Expert business advice
  • 5-day prototyping

Our relationship started with the Campall team meeting with members of our business advisory board, including Lasse Andresen.

Lasse, our start-up expert, has created several businesses himself, including ForgeRock, which became a unicorn (with a $2.8bn valuation) when he floated it on the New York Stock Exchange last year. 

His background and experience made him perfectly placed to offer advice on Campall’s vision, strategy and tactics.

“You gave us exactly what we need to stand out in this industry”

Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad, co-founder of Campall

Feeling the magic

‘Lasse was great,’ said Heidi. ‘He’s done such amazing things, but he was very down to earth and he gave us wise and smart advice.

‘He covered everything from a step-by-step guide to building a SaaS company, to how to approach and deal with investors.’

Following these discussions, it was time to get Campall’s clickable prototype built, a process led by our Head of Design, Andreas Melvær.

“It was lovely working with Andy,’ Silje says. ‘He was so engaged and he really wanted us to succeed. When we were together in workshops, we really could feel the magic happening – we got so many ideas and it’s given us a really good idea of what our first MVP (minimum viable product) needs to be.’

‘And the design work really pops!’ Heidi adds. ‘It gives you an outdoor feeling – the sense of coming to Campall to do something fun and healthy. It’s exactly what we need to stand out in the industry.’

Campall founders Heidi Uhlgren Gudmestad and Silje Bjelland sitting by a lake at sunset
We wonder why Heidi and Silje like camping so much…?

‘The prototype gives us more credibility with investors’

Having a prototype – and getting it fast – made a big difference to Campall.

‘The clickable prototype was helpful because our ideas were suddenly alive in front of us,’ says Heidi. ‘We could see how it would function from the start, we could see what would work and what wouldn’t, and make adjustments.’

‘Having a clickable prototype really impresses investors,’ Silje says. ‘It looks real, it looks like we are serious, and it gives us credibility. The proof is there we aren’t just talking about this – we are doing it.’

‘The prototype clearly shows how the guest and owner flows will work and that makes it much easier for us to onboard customers on the owner side,’ she adds. ‘It means we can sell to the campsite owners in advance, which is crucial while we get the platform built’.

The big question

What did Campall think of working with Smpl…?

‘We loved it and we’re sad we’re finishing,’ says Heidi. ‘You guys made what we’re doing feel important. You’ve really joined us in taking ownership of the product and the ideas.’

The feeling is mutual, says our Head of Design, Andy, who worked closely with the Campall team.

‘Campall gave us the job of taking something that can be very complicated today and making it much easier for campsite owners and customers. 

‘Making something hard into something simple is what we do best,’ he adds. ‘They are people who have experienced a problem and have a real desire to solve it. 

‘It was a pleasure working with them and helping them on their journey.’

If you are creating something brilliant from scratch, or looking to build and improve on what you’ve already got, we’d love to hear from you.
You can drop our MD Andreas an email here, or leave us a message and we’ll come straight back to you.