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An App for the Elves: Santa Goes Low-Code with OutSystems

Santa needed an app for his elves. Every December, thousands of letters addressed to Santa arrive at post offices all over the world as eager children share their wish lists. But what is magical for a child can be a nightmare for the mailman. 

There had to be a way to help Santa’s little helpers. (No, not the North Pole elves; that’s a different story.) It was his earthly assistants at the post office who struggled to make sure every child received a prompt reply from the man in the red suit.  

So this year, OutSystems and our partner Truewind set out to build a user-friendly app to help the post office elves answer as many letters as possible this holiday season. The goal? It was obvious: No child left behind!

low-code app development

Streamlining Letters from Santa

App designers set out to reduce the time spent entering the child’s name and address then printing the letter. After studying the employee experience, they quickly streamlined the entry process with a address lookup feature and by combining keyboard input with a fast tab-based navigation, versus forcing mouse clicks.

To make boring tasks more fun, a simple quantifier tracks how many letters are sent and how many remain. The “elf” can immediately see how many children will experience the magic of Santa.

An App in the Blink of an Eye

In four to five weeks, two full-time and two part-time developers developed and tested the app. It’s integrated with the post office’s “return address” service and with a backend system that automatically generates files to print the personalized reply letter. Response time was ultimately reduced by one-third, and now each seasonal “elf” can reply to several hundred letters each day.

“Santa’s elves” have now entered the digital age.

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Those of us that must help, had a duty to perform by knowledge and gentleness. That is why we must work harder.

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