digital experiences that people love
Jon Waring
11th Nov 2015

Crocodile App Update

crocodile_team

Earlier this year, I was part of the team that won the Bristol Green Capital Digital Challenge – with Crocodile. Our school walking bus app. Our first pilot starts next Friday with several schools.

The journey from prototype to pilot has meant a steep learning curve. Here’s a brief look at what worked and what did not.

You can create a lot with a forced deadline.

The hackathon format meant we only had 24 hours to create something. The adrenaline and forced decision making meant we created A LOT in a short period. We thought we could carry this approach through to the production of the app. We were wrong.

Things take longer and cost more in the real world.
The day job soon takes over and we found it a challenge to get any meaningful time together as a team. In the end, we chose to treat Crocodile as a fee paying client and run the job through our respective studios. This meant costing, scheduling tasks and matching calendars. It also required more of the budget than we’d hoped.

Design for the real world.
When we designed the app over the weekend, we thought we’d nailed it. We visited schools that ran walking buses, and it was clear that looking after a group of excited children while using the app was impractical. Plus, the organisers had a range of devices: Windows, Android, feature phones or no phone at all! We’d solved the wrong problem with our iOS app. The actual need was for a web app that arranged things before the walk.

croc_appThe road ahead.
Design is problem solving. A way of thinking and determining people’s real needs. Our UX research helped us create a much better product. One that will reduce traffic and pollution around schools. Increase safety and give children a better start to the day.

We have also discovered a few other needs along the way, which suggests Crocodile has a bright future.