Case Study – Slovak Lines

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Slovak Lines - An App to Buy a Bus Ticket and Modernize a Company
Company Type
Bus transport
Location
Bratislava, Slovakia
Challenge
Develop two native apps quickly
Solution
Prototype & user testing, developing in sprints
Outcome
New mobile apps are popular among regular customers and tourists

The Project – An App to Buy a Bus Ticket and Modernize a Company

Slovakian bus company Slovak Lines has been going strong since 1949 and it employs 340 drivers on numerous routes. Its previous smartphone ticketing app wasn’t quite as old, but it was still showing its age. Passengers stepping off a plane at Schwechat Airport needed to be able to get to Vienna much more easily, but the app was not very user-friendly, and it wasn’t doing a good job of convincing existing customers to move away from paper tickets. It wasn’t attracting new users either, so freevision was asked to create a new ticketing app from scratch with a fresh look and an intuitive UI.

Project Evolution

We were involved right from the start, helping to establish the scope and the main features. We also helped to define the MVP (Minimum Viable Product – “…a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development”).

As we’ve already noted, the app needed to accomplish two main goals:

  • Attract new customers to Slovak Lines, away from their competitors
  • Convince existing customers to use the app instead of buying paper tickets

Slovak Lines - Have The Tickets Always At Hand

The company knew that this would require a big shift in perception, so they created an Innovation Team to ensure that this modernisation effort would be a success.

Importantly, the management trusted the team to work independently, which reduced organisational bottlenecks and speeded the creation process along greatly.

They knew that an intuitive, feature-rich interface was needed, so 2Fresh Studio and the Innovation Team used customer feedback to shape the UI and UX for the new app. This approach helped the final design to come together very quickly.

Customer Core Requirements

As one of the most important providers of public coach transportation in the country, Slovak Lines wanted mobile ticketing apps that would be fast and modern. They wanted a design that would be simple and intuitive so that virtually anyone could buy their tickets quickly and easily and without having to go hunting for instructions. These apps needed to accept credit card payments and store tickets off-line, on customers’ mobile devices.

Challenges

With everything in place, we needed to create two separate native custom apps, and quickly! So, to save time, we decided to code the features of one of the apps in logical order (A, B, C, D, E) and the features of the other in reverse order (E, D, C, B, A). We could have developed them both in logical order but doing it this way allowed us to test and tweak their functionality more quickly as we went along. This approach helped us to get the completed product across the finish line much sooner than if we used the other method.

Product development and technologies used

We developed the product in these stages:

  • Brainstorming: the Innovation Team from Slovak Lines, the design studio and our own developers got together to share ideas.
  • Mobile app wireframing: we used Invision to quickly create great-looking clickable prototypes.
  • Prototype testing: we had travellers test the early version to offer valuable feedback and give us insights into how the product really worked.
  • Creation: we built iOS and Android versions.
  • Implementation and testing: we developed the Backend right at the start because there was no need to wait for wireframes. Application development itself began once the wireframes had been created.
  • Application testing: in the UX lab at FIIT STU.
  • Modification based on feedback: we altered the app, tweaking and fixing it based on feedback gathered from our intrepid band of testers.
  • Publishing: the app was published to stores. Updates: these were rolled out every one and a half months.

Slovak Lines - Have The Tickets Always At Hand

We used these technologies

For the Backend, ASP.NET Core and Azure SQL Database. It’s hosted on Microsoft Azure, and it offers security, performance, availability, and scalability in a very cost-effective way.

For the Android app, we used Kotlin, which is a modern programming language for JVM. Kotlin becomes the favorite choice of Android developers.

For the iOS app, we used Swift, which is also modern and powerful programming language, similar to Kotlin.

What our customers say

We are pleased to say that Slovak Lines were delighted with the apps that we delivered, and more importantly, their customers were also delighted. Here’s what just one of them had to say:

“I rate the Slovak Lines app very positively, it has a mini­ma­listic and clear design. I think that even a passenger who isn’t technically-minded will be able to use this app easily. It has everything the passenger needs, and I perso­na­lly like the fact that the ticket can be shared and that it is stored in the app.”

– Laura Jeleníková

Longer-term customer evaluation

After the first few months of operation, Slovak Lines has reported that the new product is fulfilling its objectives. Here is what their CEO had to say:

“We have been closely watching the digital habits of our passengers for a long time. They want to purchase bus tickets quickly, comfortably, and in a sustainable way. We view the new mobile app as an investment towards our customers' satisfaction today and in the future. It has a strong potential for interesting innovation.”

– Peter Sádovský, CEO Slovak Lines

Product Description

Here is some of Slovak Lines’ marketing material:

  • A mobile application for your iPhone or Android smartphone.
  • Travel quickly and in comfort with your digital ticket at your fingertips.
  • Are you planning a trip to Vienna or Schwechat Airport? Get your bus ticket using the new Slovak Lines App. Register, save your credit card details and easily choose from 20 daily connections. There is no need to print out your digital ticket, just show it on your phone.
  • Get to Vienna City Centre and to the Schwechat Airport 20 times a day – every hour – every day
  • You will receive your first ticket after registering at a special price - 1 €
  • You don’t have to print out your tickets, they are always ready at your fingertips in the app
  • Save your credit card info and get your tickets in just 3 taps

Application features:
App for iPhone on App Store
App for Android on Google Play

Slovak Lines - City Center and Airport
Slovak Lines - Sign Up Now And Get The First Trip For 1 €
Slovak Lines - Have The Tickets Always At Hand
  • Purchase bus tickets from Bratislava to Vienna and vice versa
  • The first ticket only costs 1 EUR (normally 5,50 EUR)
  • Save your ticket to your phone - tickets are available offline; show QR code to bus driver
  • Download ticket PDF and share (send to a friend using email, WhatsApp, etc…)
  • Add a ticket to Apple Wallet – to get departure time and location-based reminders

Backoffice web application features (only available to Slovak Lines):

  • Listing, searching and export of users with user profile details
  • Listing, searching and export of purchased tickets and payment transactions for resolving disputes