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 with the dynamic “walk ring“ users can 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.
Built using our platform, FRMWRK.IO, which 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.
AIGA, the professional association for design, is a non-profit organization with over 25,000 members in 70 chapters across the country. Although the chapters are independently run, AIGA wanted to build a platform that would allow them to create a rich online presence with minimal technical effort.
Enter: iKit. At its core, the iKit is a plugin for WordPress, the CMS selected by AIGA for its ubiquity and easy set-up. The chapters simply install the iKit plugin as they would any WordPress plugin, enable the iKit theme, and customize from there. The plugin centralizes AIGA’s content (social, news, jobs, events, etc.) and the theme styles and displays the content. Once a chapter enters their specifics (like zipcode, social handles, and chapter ID), the plug-in pulls in the content relevant to that location.
Although iKit launched with only one theme, AIGA commissioned us to create additional themes to offer more variety. Because we knew that visual trends in the design community would inevitably change, we designed the front- and back-ends to work independently from each other with defined integration points. This allowed us to design a new theme without modifying the backend plug-in, and chapters were able to simply enable the new theme to implement a total visual redesign. Additionally robust setting options allow chapters to modify aspects of the visual design.
The iKit has been a major success with 95% of local chapters adopting it. Its success hinges on the speed of deployment – about 15 minutes per site – along with how simple it is to use and update, thanks to its modular design. So far, chapter implementations have been diverse, and the framework has accommodated the needs of web admins with all levels of technical expertise. All of these advantages have made the iKit popular with the AIGA community as a whole, and we continue to add new features and visual improvements based on online and in-person feedback.