City Rally Platform

City Rally Platform

Multilingual mobile gaming system for incoming tourism

Bringing innovation
into tourism

The tourism industry is an important part of the global economy and no doubt it’s one of the key segments of the future. When combined with smartphones and tablets, it’s a marvelous place to come up with break-through improvements.

Golden Prague:
Tourist magnet

Luckily, COEX is located in Prague, one of the most popular destinations in the world. It attracts millions of tourists every year. Having travel agencies as our clients and being innovative by nature, we constantly think about improving the experience of Prague visitors.

Improving tour experience

Using a lean approach, we thought about something simple, yet something that would be ahead of the local market. After experiencing tours ourselves, observing customers and brainstorming with the client, we got pretty close - let's do the walks through the beautiful town of Prague engaging and info-richer!

City tours in the times of digital revolution: improving the service with mobile technology!

Mobile. Gamification. Teams. Task completion.

There are many activities that tourists do in the city. The key part is usually city walks. We decided to focus on this topic and based our thoughts on the fact that people are playful beings by their very nature. As our developer teams have excellent skills with GPS based apps and services, outlines of geo location and a task based game platform started to arise.

Technology: HTML5 or Native?

The way of minimum viable product

Having numerous startups experiences, we like the philosophy of a minimum viable product. And this was exactly the case. We’ve cut off everything unnecessary and created a simple user interface, enabling users to browse tasks as if they were screens in a presentation.

We built the frontend interface as a browser app, running fullscreen in native app feel and look. We optimized the interface for iPad and Android tablets. By doing this we saved a huge amount of work needed for development for Android or iOS platform, furthermore we eliminated hassle with the App store approval process.

Wireframing and UI design

We presented the idea to one of our favorite UI/UX designers and what he destilled from wireframes was very close to what we needed - a browser app with the look and feel of a native tablet application.

The map is a crucial part of the app and all the tasks have related GPS locations. Thanks to the latest localization options in browsers, we were able to indicate positions of users quite precisely. Each icon on the map is clickable and thanks to that users can switch comfortably between tasks.

Design: The Devil is in the Detail

“Walking the city can sometimes be boring and personally I do not like it much. But I like games and to let teams of tourists to fulfill tasks in an unknown city can be fun.”

Ivos Gajdorus, COEX

Backoffice: creative freedom

For the administration system we used our beloved “manage anything” MODX content management framework. Beside the advantage of many ready to made functions (user permissions, translations module, rich text editors) we had to build a new module for city games management and task creation.

Scalable, cross platform, multilingual. And yet simple.

From the start, this project had one clear ambition - the whole app to be accessible and available in various languages so it would be easy to use for all tourists. At COEX, we have been designing multilingual software since the beginning and everybody in the team knew that multilingual architecture adds a lot of costs. We realized that the content can be in any language as each game is a standalone but how to deal with a multilingual interface?

Well, after having the bright idea of “maximizing the usage of symbols and icons” it was not so difficult. With this approach, the whole user interface has less than 10 words. And to translate them into any language, including Arabic, Chinese, is just a matter of a couple minutes.

Results? Delivered!

We launched the first version of the app in 2011. The result exceeded our client's expectations by far. For the 2012 season, we had to hire extra staff to maintain the content and to develop games. Currently there are more than 8 language interfaces and content mutations. We’ve also started to cooperate with several travel agents and tourism professionals.

In 2013 alone, more than 200 city tours were organized for hundreds of tourists. This way of city exploration became popular especially among team building groups. We had the pleasure of hosting teams from companies such as Nestlé, Exxon Mobile, Liberty international and Heineken.

Season 2014

For the 2014 season we prepared another portion of updates and added other features such as videos and automatic score tables. And here is what we have learned during this project:

  • If you choose the right tools, locations and routes, task administration can be done in a dead simple way.
  • It is useless to go native for certain type of apps. Staying with web technologies can save enormous amount of time and money.
  • You can serve a multilingual audience without a multilingual interface at the beginning.
  • Doing multiple small steps is sometimes better than thinking big and aim for one big shot.

Looking to create a similar project? We can make it happen!

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