Facet Digital Case Study: SYMBIS
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SYMBIS Assessment


MVP planning, UX Design, Information Architecture, Visual Design, Cloud Architecture, Application Development, Third-Party Service Integration, Marketing Website


HTML5, CoffeeScript, Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, Heroku



New York Times best-selling authors, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott partnered with Facet Digital to develop a marriage assessment web application based on the ‘Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts’ book and video series.

The Backstory


More than a million couples have used the award-winning Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS for short) book and video series in preparation for a strong and passionate marriage. Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott (L&L) envisioned an opportunity to apply their proven strategies into an application that provides couples with a deeper understanding of each other. “We wanted to take our experience counseling couples and create an assessment app to prepare couples for lifelong love, and we need a development partner to craft our vision into a compelling application that is useful for engaged couples and facilitators,” says Dr. Les Parrott.

The world’s most practical pre-marriage assessment. Grounded in research and infused with practical applications, SYMBIS guarantees edge-of-your-seat engagement with couples.

The Challenge


The Les and Leslie team knew they needed a partner; one that understood their vision, had the skill-set and methods to build a high quality product within a short 10-week development period. The app needed to meet the needs of the engaged couple, the assessment facilitator, and the SYMBIS administrator overseeing the entire platform. It also needed to scale without over-engineering.


Our Approach


For two weeks, L&L Executive Director Ryan Farmer and Facet designer Leif Jensen closely collaborated on the design phase, wire-framing every detail of the experience until they had a solid MVP that met their budget and release schedule. The wireframes created during this phase, which we call “Phase I”, produced the necessary information for Facet’s engineers to create a database ERD, network architecture diagrams, cloud operations cost estimates, software stack specifications, and a detailed cost estimate for front and backend development. They also produced some pixel-perfect mockups of the application, which allowed the team to start getting customer feedback, and even some pre-sales.


At Facet Digital, we highly recommend doing a thorough Phase I design exercise. It reduces overall project risk by serving as a compass that always keeps the entire team pointed toward the destination. Having wireframes at this stage allowed Ryan to demo the experience to early prospects, recording usability feedback and validation, and even closing pre-sales with many of them.

The Result


The assessment application focuses on couples, facilitators, and the SYMBIS admin users who track all the transactions within the product. It usually takes a couple about 30 minutes each to complete the assessment from their desktop or tablet. Then a facilitator prints out a personalized assessment report and counsels the couples, providing countless insights about the relationship. “Facet took our vision and ideas and crafted them into an application that was simple to use and understand, yet powerful enough to scale for success,” says Ryan Farmer, Executive Director.


Facilitators use the application for assessment counselor training, certification, and managing the couples in their care. Quality is preserved in this ecosystem by spoon-feeding SYMBIS facilitator curriculum in digestible increments where certification can be done at one’s own pace. Couples take a 30-minute assessment and walk away with beautifully personalized insights and road map to make their marriage everything it was meant to be. Helping engaged and newly married couples just got easier. You’ll love the depth and breadth of this sophisticated instrument.

We could have never built this application without them. I am so glad we chose Facet Digital. We’re going to be working together for a long time.


Dr. Les Parrott

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