The Actives Challenge

The Actives Asked Slate: build us an MVP

When Joel James from The Actives asked us to help build them an MVP (minimum viable product) we jumped at the challenge! The Actives is an eco-health lifestyle brand, web app for families, schools and businesses, rewarding positive lifestyle behaviours and encouraging society to collectively make small daily changes to help secure a better and brighter future for ourselves and our planet. Who could say no to that.

The Ask

We have all been kids before, it's likely we know someone that has children or have kids of your own. But how do we engage those children in tackling environmental and health problems at a level that educates, and inspires tangible results?

Inroducing The Actives: Action-based challenges to help schools and families save our environment through sustainable living. The Actives asked Slate to build their platform, managing children, schools and parents alike via easy to use and accessible app(s) so all could participate in The Actives - challenge accepted!

The main driver for The Actives was to build a simple yet intuitive app that was fun to use for both adults and kids alike. The digital journey needed to fit in with everyday busy lifestyles, offering speed and convenience but with a rewarding element re-inforcing the eco-health benefits. As a team of proactive parents/guardians, The Actives were focused on delivering value to schools through motivational and educational resources and activities which help them not only engage but also bring together their communities to better support their sustainable, healthy and environmental initiatives.


Children love to be acknowledged when they do something ‘good’ for either themselves, for others or for their planet. The Actives Challenge recognises this ‘good behavioural action’ in the form of a ‘Zap point’, the currency of the platform.


It was important that we surfaced childs progress with easy to understand visuals as they challenge themselves. Small measurable actions can really make a world of difference to child health and well-being, and our planet.


The Actives provide weekly prizes but the best results are generated when the parents and children create their own e.g. pocket money or choosing their favourite meal. The right UX was key to delivering this message.

Timeline: 3 months

The Actives took full advantage of Slates' virtual CTO and Product Design services meaning we could hit the ground running. Through a series of discovery sessions we worked with the team to strategise and plan, learning from previous mistakes. The eventual ease of use of the tech was identified as critical and the speed of iteration between new versions was highlighted by Slate as a key to success. We chose to deliver through a web-app rather than traditional app-store delivery which can add unnecessary burden to projects that need to move fast. We could still deliver key functionalities including use of device cameras, yet without app store publishing slowing us down.

After identifying the best suited cloud provider, we got to work building the solution using a code tools best suited for for speed of delivery. Of course security was top of the agenda and utilising fully managed backend infrastructure was a big part of the story. Slate targetted delivery of multiple test versions of the app daily with short feedback cycles between versions. Trello boards were used heavily as we moved issues, features and bugs from 'to-do' to 'done'.

Slate Delivered

We designed multiple apps for The Actives to run the platform from. It was not just parents who required access to the system to award Zaps to kids, but teachers needed access to be able to Zap kids and monitor whole class performance. We created our own eco-system of apps much in common with the ethos of the solution as a whole.


Beyond engaging communities, we also enabled schools to report on the effectiveness of their initiatives by providing insights and data – bridging the gap between school and at-home engagement. Teachers found they could easily reinforce and revisit their eco-health initiatives, set interactive challenges, and track and reward children’s progress all in the platform.


The ability to 'Zap' was fundamental so Slate worked with The Actives to minimise time-to-zap to be as short as possible so that rewards and benefits of the system were as close as possible at all times. We developed a QR code scanner directly from the web which works in tandem with Zap bands that are given to the kids to participate. The kids love wearing the bands and giving them digital eco-rewards has never been easier. Teachers have access to a special version of the scanning functionality allowing them to scan an entire class of kids in just a couple of minutes.


The big challenge when developing The Actives platform was the range of ages of potential users starting with young children. Kids are given access to their own dashboard via the parents app where they can choose and customise their own avatar giving them their own identity within the platform. Finding the balance between child-friendly and adult-friendly UX without compromising on experience was a unique challenge that was also a fun part of building out the user journeys.

Dont take our word for it

Hear from Joel James - founder of The Actives on why working with Slate was key to success.

Watch the video

Small actions make a world of difference. Watch this promotional video around the delivered solution and learn more about how you look after your own well being and the environment. The Actives digital platform supports kids, adults and schools to live healthy lifestyles and create hapy and sustainable environments. Learn more at

Working on The Actives and continuing to deliver features with a very active and young community of users has been a pleasure and is something us here at Slate are very proud to have been a part of.

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