Newark, New Jersey is a city with a rich and diverse history. Residents of the city have made their mark on art, music, architecture, and philosophy. For Newark’s 250th anniversary, the Greater Newark Convention and Visitor Bureau wanted to establish a walking tour to engage its citizens and provide a means to celebrate Newark’s place in history.
We were brought on by Merje Design to help design and develop a mobile tour app for the city. The app was a companion to the on-street signage, providing users a real-time position of their current location and expanded information about the destinations along the tour. The app uses a highly detailed, GPS-based map providing visitors, residents, and students a quick understanding of the points of interest in the downtown district.
The app serves as a portal to learn about the rich history of the city. With highly curated tours, users can see a detailed route supplemented with an audio narration, a written history of each destination, and supporting videos and image galleries. Additionally the dynamic “walk ring“ helps users easily determine how long it will take to walk somewhere. At the end of the tour, a summary page pops up noting the estimated amount of time it took to take the tour, calories burned, and distance traveled.
Building the app on our platform FRMWRK.IO, allowed us to avoid the need to develop a unique codebases for each operating system, and streamlined the content management for the city’s staff through a tailored interface. The platform easily integrated with the city's event feed with the ability to view upcoming events, filter based on preferences, and see what the weather will be like on that day.
The app also featured stylized icons for the city's historical landmarks.
The printed maps and on-street signage leveraged our custom designed landmarks to ensure continuity across all touchpoints.
The Mercer County parks system in New Jersey spans the Townships of West Windsor, Hamilton, and Lawrence. With year-round recreation facilities, a diverse lineup of events, and a still-growing footprint, the parks needed an easy way to communicate with visitors. In 2012, we were approached by Mercer County Park Commission to design and develop a website and mobile app, their online presence was—as is typical for many civic agencies—buried deep within a government website and frequently contained outdated information.
With a friendly interface, simplified navigation, and easy-to-maintain content, the new site we designed provides information on the latest news, events, and festivals, as well as nature guides and a comprehensive listing of all its parks and facilities. And to help compensate for a lack of physical signage within the park, the app’s robust map helps users navigate the park.
To build the app, we created an entirely new map of the park system through an extensive GPS survey. This survey was critical—inaccurate online map services provide directions that send visitors driving through a lake! We developed accurate depictions of trails, paths, roadways, buildings, and natural elements, including dimensional renderings of architectural landmarks for easy recognition.
The success of the first app led to the design and development of a second app in 2014 for the Commission's second most frequented park: Mercer Meadows. The Mercer Meadows app integrated into the same content management system built for the website and their first app.
This integration simplifies work for the Commission staff by allowing them to edit all their content within a single platform and have it update simultaneously on the website and both apps.
Given the breadth of the site and the corresponding apps, the Commission agreed with our recommendation that a dedicated communications manager would be necessary to maintain its online presence to ensure accuracy and relevance.