The brief: The Metlink Commuter app should allow public transport users of Greater Wellington to quickly access information related to their journeys, while out and about. It was designed for everyday commuters in mind, who know which stops they are going to, and which services they take, allowing a simple way to see on a map where and how far away your bus or train is.
We built the Metlink Commuter App using a hybrid app approach. We utilised the Ionic Framework which is built on Angular to handle all of the interactive states. This approach meant that we could build once and deploy to a variety of platforms including iOS and Android.
Using the hybrid approach has enabled us to build a solid foundation which we will be able to extend in the future with deeper integration with the website, or to duplicate out for other Metlink apps for other use-cases.
Somar, alongside Metlink, did user testing throughout the prototyping and design process to help identify problems and remedy any issues early on. Often these sessions were carried out in the streets of Wellington, at bus stops or at the railway station to connect with local commuters. After feedback sessions, the design and development team made improvements to create the best experience possible for the app. During the project, Somar also generated user testing documents summarising the findings for Metlink and the Greater Wellington Regional Council, a process that the client enjoyed being a part of.
We have identified that the Metlink website is a central point of communication for Greater Wellington Regional Council. It is used to notify users of service delays and disruptions alongside real time information, journey planning and timetables.
It made perfect sense to further integrate website functionality with the Metlink Commuter App, and as such, we have built in integration for push notifications to be sent centrally from the website out to users of the app. This means that Service Updates and Delays can be loaded in one central location and pushed out to all users with ease.
Every project has issues and roadblocks. Somar roll with the punches and learn from everything we do:
Inheriting a Previous Project
Somar Design Studios came on board to help build the Metlink Commuter App project after a similar project was not seen through to it’s completion. The app was built from the ground up, avoiding those same technical limitations that the previous project experienced. Somar proposed and opted to use the Metlink website as the backend data provider for the App - a solution that already provides up to date realtime information to Wellingtonians. This presented a unified data set which is highly available through the robust infrastructure we have already put in place.
Working with Scale
It can be simple to pull together quick project - be it website or application. It requires a whole new approach when you have tens of thousands of users relying on your application to work for them reliably and consistently. We had to approach this project with considerations for how public transport users will use this app - with large peaks during commuting times and unforeseen delays or disruptions on the public transport network.