The Trans Canada Trail is often called the Great Trail, and for years it has lived up to the name. Traversing 24,000 km from coast to coast, the trail was created by thousands of dreamers, volunteers and partners to connect the country. Each year, thousands of Canadians and tourists explore the trail, but more than ever before, people are bringing their mobile devices with them to capture moments and track their progress along the way.
As the Trans Canada Trail team noticed this trend, they saw the opportunity to embrace mobile and find a partner to help them do it right. The team turned to MindSea to lay the foundation and design an iOS and Android app that would enhance the experience of exploring the Great Trail.
It’s great to work on a project that has a large target audience and is solving a problem with momentum. However, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype and make decisions based on gut instinct rather than research. At MindSea we pride ourselves on building apps that are based on data driven insights and we work with our clients to find them.
To kickstart the development of the Trans Canada Trail Blueprint we held a strategy session to identify goals, priorities, user stories and ideal features. We did this by having conversations with both the client and the people who would be likely to use this app. Through this process we were able to uncover insights like the value of having offline access, social sharing and the two distinct audiences that would be using this app.
Whether you're solving a new problem or one that has existed for decades, the solution should always stem from an understanding of the people you're trying to serve. If you don't understand their various needs, it’s impossible to deliver the optimal experience. In this case, our solution needed to offer value to both serious hikers and those who would casually enjoy the trail.
As we do with all Mobile Blueprints, we started the design process by creating sketches of what the app experience could look like. We used these sketches to validate the approach with Trans Canada Trail and give them an idea of the direction we were heading in the wireframing process.
The Trans Canada Trail desired an app that could be used by people from all walks of life. It was our goal to create a trail guide and trip planner that equipped adventurous people to explore the Great Trail safely, fully and in a memorable way. Once sketches were complete, we created wireframes to arm us with feedback from outside our office and help us find the best mobile solutions for Trans Canada Trail’s needs. Working from our own expertise and knowledge of mobile is a great advantage, but through collaboration, we were able to unlock insights that could only come from clients.
From the beginning, we knew that mapping technology would be an important part of the user experience for this application. We knew that people would want to use maps to plan their trips but also to track their progress along the trail. We designed a mapping system that would let users visualize how far they've come and what lies ahead, and calculate distances between locations on the trail.
We don’t try to cram every feature into version 1. Once we conducted the research, spoke to users and created the app’s user flow, look and feel, key features and requirements we developed a product roadmap that helped the Trans Canada Trail launch their MVP and plan for future iterations.
We recognized that this wasn’t going to a cookie cutter app as soon as we saw the significant amount of data required to meet our feature set. Thus, we conducted a technical audit to arm Trans Canada Trail with a better understanding of the technical requirements. We reviewed their existing data sources and servers to recommend an app architecture that would be optimized for performance, scalability, reliability, availability, cost, and ease of management.
In addition to the product roadmap & technical audit delivered to Trans Canada Trail we also provided a timeline and project budget that they could use when taking the project to tender. Our mobile Blueprint process armed the Trans Canada Trail team with everything they needed to find a partner who could bring it to life.
We helped Trans Canada Trail design and launch an exploration app that connects Canadians and tourists to one of the world’s greatest trails.
Users can download trail maps for offline use, get directions to a nearby access point and view photos submitted by other adventure seekers.
Users can shop for Trans Canada Trail merchandise without leaving the app.
Engaging onboarding screens offer sponsorship opportunities for Trans Canada Trail partners.