Power to the promoter

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Lana Strategy Project Manager

6 Apr 2017  ·  6 min read


You might have come across the story of our Appmiral before, as it is one of those in-house realizations we are very proud of. In this blogpost we shed some light on our latest updates to the platform.

Since its launch eight years ago, Appmiral has become an established music festival application platform (you can check out our infographic here). It’s always been one of the projects that contributed to our own learning process as November Five – it’s allowed us to develop and hone skills that became crucial to the projects we complete with our clients.

Prime among those, we both expanded and applied our design and development expertise by bringing Appmiral’s UX to its current state of maturity.

 

We’ve taken the user experience through a massive evolution over the years, and it was always the first thing on our minds when defining next year’s roadmap.

And it paid off: we’re really proud of the experience we can offer to festival visitors today!

Rebrandable apps

However, with that said, it was time to dive into another aspect of our festival platform. This year, we took the optimal user experience philosophy Appmiral stands for to the next level. Because with all the app improvements, we never lost sight of our “other” customers – or rather, the ones that actually buy our product!

Yes, we’re talking about the festival organisers and the part of Appmiral they use: our content management system (CMS), which is now completely renewed to deliver on the UX we promise with the app.

Of course, there has been a CMS component behind the Appmiral apps from the start, allowing festival organisers to tweak and input their own content. However, so far, we’ll admit this CMS was functional but basic – most of our UX effort and expertise went into fine-tuning the actual apps.

Well, no more! This year, we redesigned the CMS to be more user-friendly and visually pleasing. We also added several features to improve organisers’ time management, including content previews, a connection between push notifications and cards, and generally more customizable fields to really make the app your own as an organiser.

So let’s dive into the details…

Communication is everything

We believe there are a couple of events that make a festival the unique experience a visitor is looking for. And although most of them require visitors’ actual presence on the grounds, we do feel we can extend the customer journey from those few actual festival days to weeks before and after.

First of all, we believe that content and communication remain the key to engaging a festival visitor before the kick-off of the festival. This is why we created our app news feed to collect the most important content any user needs. What better medium to update alternative routes and parking lots, when our rainy weather decides to flood the parking grounds, for example? Or when an artist cancels last minute because they broke their leg on a previous gig?

Of course, creating this content is in the hands of the festival organiser. However, Appmiral guarantees an easy way to input the different types of content that the app requires.

Since a couple of years, all of this content, represented as cards in the app’s news feed, has been defined and designed by our designers using personalised style guides for each festival.

App and CMS

Today, the CMS allows organisers to create and schedule cards, which they can (pre)view on the festival dashboard. This lets each festival organiser create and deliver dynamic content at the right moment. As an organiser, you can now see a timeline of all upcoming content, helping you maintain the overview of your communications; and you’re offered a number of quick actions for easy creation of new content (create a card, create a push, publish a lineup change).

CMS screen

Find your way around

Additionally, the platinum tier of the application contains a dynamic map, projected on the native map of the device. This may look like a simple, good-looking overlay on top of the usual native maps, but there’s more to it: visitors can locate every ‘POI’ with their exact geo-coordinates. From an organiser’s point of view, this means there’s a lot going on under the hood.

For starters, we allow for a lot of personalisations in the festival map, including pictures, individual thumbnail images, adding the menu in the POI description, … Heck, the organiser could even take a picture of the guy baking your fries to represent that food stand in the application. But we quickly realized how many food and drink opportunities there are on the festival grounds – making these customisations very time-consuming for the festival organisers!

In the new CMS, we’ve tried to make their lives easier: we’ve allowed them to sort these POIs into different categories, quickly and easily, and allow them to update certain aspects of a whole category of POIs, all at the same time. We also immediately render the result in the CMS to look like a preview of the map, making it easier to see what changes will look like before they’re presented to the public.

Integrations everywhere

Now, we don’t doubt that the CMS improvements we described above will make our festival teams love Appmiral even more.

But perhaps the biggest change or evolution is going on behind the scenes. We asked ourselves: when we offer extended personalisation of the apps, aren’t we making it harder for an organiser to manage it all? And will an improved CMS UX be enough to counter this complexity?

We strongly believe we need to be integrated with the software organisers are already using to really offer the best possible experience.

That’s why we currently synchronize automatically with the schedule on their website, allowing the user to set-up the schedule once to get it in the application; from there on forward, each change will be updated in our CMS as well.

This is the reason our roadmap today is heavily focussing on third-party integrations with typical festival suppliers like ticketing companies, cashless payment providers, and more. This will allow for an even more personal flow, for both the app’s end user and the festival organisers.

Among the things we’re currently implementing are an integration with Crowd Connected, which will include personalised notifications, based on a visitor’s current and historic location, and creating heatmaps to analyse the hotspots on site. This will let festival organisers upscale the festival experience or enrich partner/sponsor campaigns with contextual, segmented info.

We’ve also entered into a partnership with BeatSwitch, to build a direct integration with their top-notch festival management software.

Our dream? Making the whole process fully automated, allowing organisers to order a finished application and importing all data in a few clicks!

Are we there yet? Not quite – but keep your eyes peeled…

PS: Are you feeling a sudden urge to contact our team and become a part of the Appmiral journey? You’re in luck!

We’re always looking to get more festival organisers on board – as you can see, our product offering is better than ever, so get in touch.

And we’re also hiring: Appmiral is looking for its first dedicated product manager!