Hermes mobile application is made for seasonal migrant employees in the agricultural and forestry sectors, as well as employers in these sectors. The application’s goal is to make information about the rights and duties of Finnish employers and employees easily available. The free application offers reliable information in five languages: English, Swedish, Finnish, Ukrainian and Russian.
The WORK2030 program has funded the Hermes project. The partners of the project include the Federation of Agricultural Employers MTA, Yksityismetsätalouden työnantajat ry [represents private sector employers in forestry], Metsähallitus [a state-owned enterprise that produces environmental services for a diverse customer base], and the Migration Institute of Finland. As the technological partner, the Finnish Industry union wanted a solid operator with extensive experience, an interest in a working life project, and the ability to work within a tight schedule.
HiQ had the right expertise and the team was quickly available. We got a good and enthusiastic team that explained us the boundaries of technology from the beginning - what is possible and what is not.
Head of Research at the Finnish Industrial Union and Project Manager of the Hermes projectAnu-Hanna Anttila
HiQ's Business Director, Jonas Pomoell, is happy about the Finnish Industrial Union’s innovative way of developing an equal working life with modern technology.
"It's great how the Finnish Industrial Union has created an application that is unique even internationally. It tackles the problems of working life and helps people work together despite different languages and cultural backgrounds. The concept can be duplicated for other industries as well."
The offline information bank is always available
The mobile application was chosen as the format for the Hermes project so that the necessary information would always be available on the go, even when experiencing a poor network connection in the fields and forests. The wide range of users and devices was also taken into account: the app works flawlessly on different screen sizes and even on older phone models.
User research was heavily utilized in app development. A total of 40 migrant members of the Finnish Industry Union tested the beta version, and feedback was collected both individually and in the form of group work.
In the process, it became apparent that only a few of the users are native speakers of the languages offered by Hermes. That’s why it became necessary to enable a seamless transition from one language to another so that users can compare text in two languages. Flexible language switching makes the application a communication tool at the same time, as the employee can first show a piece of text in, for example, Ukrainian and then change it to Finnish for the employer. Another observation was that not all users fall under the scope of only one contract sector: the same user may work in more than one sector in Finland.
"Application users may not have anything else in common other than that they came to work in Finland. They don't necessarily know which industry information they want to browse or which language to use. With the help of testing, we were able to streamline transitions significantly and strengthen user-friendliness even more," says Anu-Hanna Anttila.
The app's usability was also improved by adding symbols and strengthening color variations to make the user's navigation as straightforward as possible.
A user-oriented solution that is easy to maintain
Hermes application was created with Flutter technology, which enabled cost-effective and agile application development and will continue to support easy maintenance. The completely serverless solution works perfectly offline and updates itself when the network is available. With the help of the content management system, the Finnish Industrial Union can manage content and translations independently. Changes can be made independently without the need for technical support or new application versions.
HiQ wanted to ensure a customer-oriented solution, which enabled the Finnish Industrial Union to produce texts dynamically, regardless of technical developments. The preview feature and Cyrillic alphabet were used by the content production team already in an early stage, which contributed to working on a tight schedule.
"We have operated in a modern, multi-professional way and enabled continuous iteration while working simultaneously. Working with the Finnish Industrial Union has been easy because they have always had a clear vision of what to do and why. Decision-making and prioritization have been straightforward," describes HiQ's Jonas Pomoell.
The Hermes application will be launched on November 30, 2022, after which HiQ will ensure that the application remains up-to-date and secure within the framework of the three-year contract. The application offers real-time analytics in a dashboard view, where Hermes task group can monitor the effectiveness of the project.
Anu-Hanna Anttila praises the smooth cooperation with HiQ.
"I appreciate that the team remained essentially the same, which has made the work really intense and smooth. I am proud of the whole project. We have been able to tackle difficult issues in a user-oriented way and respond to the challenges of a multicultural and multilingual target group," says Anttila.