Tuesday, October 1, 2019

It’s Time to Take Wayfinding Into Your Own App

We’ve seen an increase in brands using wayfinding and location-based technologies over the past couple of years. Sporting venues, malls, and airports are making use of Apple’s new Indoor Maps feature to enable guests to navigate turn-by-turn in their venues, retail locations are using beacons for scavenger hunts and targeted ads…but, let’s face it. Those technologies aren’t exactly a breeze to implement in a timely manner. You’re at the mercy of Apple’s approval for Indoor Maps, and beacons require quite a bit of time, money, and resources to get up and running. But here’s the good news: there’s a new way to take wayfinding into your own hands (or…into your own app, rather.)

Leveraging the Power of Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are apps that don’t require an app store download, and can integrate native hardware features like offline caching, use of the camera, gyroscope, and more. This is a huge development in mobile engagement, and brands that are implementing PWAs are seeing some major results thanks to their accessibility as compared to native apps (goodbye, app store hassle!). But why are we talking about PWAs here? Because they’re the perfect tool for creating wayfinding experiences. 

Easy Access, On the Go

When customers are looking for directions, they’re typically in one of two states of mind: either in a rush to get where they need to be, or already on-site and needing to get their bearings quickly. In both of these situations, your customer needs quick access to an easy-to-use navigation system, and I can confidently say that a traditional app store download is not the way to win them over in that moment of need. There’s nothing worse than waiting for an app to download, especially if the connection is spotty or non-existent. PWAs enable your customers to access turn-by-turn directions in seconds with a simple scan of a QR code, a text, or a “tap” to NFC-enabled signage. And, PWAs cache information as users browse, which means the app will keep navigating even if they step into spotty service. 

A Branded Experience

And, arguably the most compelling case for creating your own wayfinding app: you get to own the entire experience. Instead of relying on a third party and settling for cut-and-dry directions, you can integrate your own branding, own points of interest, and even your own extra content along the way! Imagine overlaying your wayfinding app with a fun scavenger hunt, or calling out special information about points of interest along their way. This takes a sometimes stressful navigating experience, and makes it a part of their overall experience with your brand and venue. 

Ok, now if you’re wondering how to get started in building your own PWA for wayfinding, you’re in luck! We just released our Wayfinding Starter Kit, which enables you to build your own powerful wayfinding app super quickly (we mean it–ours took about an hour to build!). Check out this demo to see how easy it is to get started, and reach out to us if you want a full demo of the Lumavate platform.