For the Dutch offices of the international law firm Allen & Overy we developed an iPhone app showcasing their standard employment contract. To author the content of this app and its non-linear navigation, a special backend was produced.

The Dutch employment department of Allen & Overy wanted a native iPhone app to read and browse their standard employment contract. All the content of the app could have been simple (hyper)text and no special iOS features seemed neccessary, so theoretically the app could have been made just a web app.

However, a requirement was also to have the app work when no network connection was available. And the content needed to be loaded much faster than possible with a web app. Therefor we developed a native iOS app, taking advantage of Core Data and all of its performance benefits.

The biggest challenge of this project was to assist the client to author their content and create a consistent corpus of articles and references. Normally legal documents are lengthy linear pieces of text, in which every aspect of the case is unambiguously described in full detail. Yet, when authoring hypertext, paragraphs must function as much more authonomous blocks and cross references are used to navigate between them.

So, despite the fact that all content would be static and didn’t needed to be updated after the app was released, we started this project by developing a special backend to which the client could log in, and author the content. We partly mimicked an iPhone simulator in the backend so the final navigation of the content in the app could be experienced as much as possible. We also included validation in the backend to prevent the client from accidently creating broken links.