Modern navigation apps have become pretty advanced, unless you need to stop along the way. The ask from our client partner was simple: define the strategy, design, technology, and distribution behind an elegant, simple navigation app that makes it easy to plan stops along your route.
The market for navigation apps is crowded, and dominated by giants. In such a competitive landscape, social distribution, seamless user experience, and back-end technology were essential to paying off on our main strategic insight: navigation apps are failing users who need to make multiple stops.
UX and Design
Creating a product that users interact with and rely on heavily dictates one essential UX goal: understand the consumer behavior behind navigation apps. We began with a competitive UX analysis, followed by stakeholder and user interviews, which in turn informed user flows and personas for primary user groups.
In order to differentiate Sirca from big-name competitors, we took a bright, colorful, and congenial design approach, focusing on strong typography that establishes hierarchy and user flows. We even tested various color palettes under myriad light conditions to ensure a product that was attractive and easy to comprehend under practical usage, any time of day. Furthermore, two simple questions, “Where ya headed?” and “Need to make a stop?”, give Sirca a distinct, yet practical voice that served to create an experience that was delightfully useful.
Instead of forsaking the all-important user experience in favor of an easy-to-implement, but restrictive Google Maps API, we chose to implement the API using Ruby’s Sinatra framework. Other backend technologies included ElasticSearch for caching of searched places and autosuggest terms, PostgreSQL for our relational database store, and Redis for a non-persistent caching solution.
The iOS app was developed using the Xcode IDE and written in Objective-C for maximum portability. The Android app was developed in Android Studio and written in Java. We chose to implement both mobile apps as native solutions due to the demanding performance needs, custom design, and complicated animation required.
“Since I started using Sirca, I haven’t even touched Google Maps. Sirca is so much better at finding the places I need along my route.”
Smart thinking, compelling design, and a process that flourishes with your contributions.