Website redesign and app development project updates

Posted: April 29, 2022

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Sprint Reports

Sprint close: April 27, 2022

Past two weeks

The ADK Group design team continued with dashboard and profile management designs and began work on the fares and discounts marketing site as well as creating profile and log-in prototypes. User testing was run in parallel for these features to gain feedback to integrate into those designs. The ADK technology team facilitated a demonstration of the Contentful content management system to the Steamship Authority team, who had the opportunity to ask questions and get better acquainted with the tool. A reservation prototype was built using semi-real data so that the site can be used in a real-world capacity.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 8, April 28, 2022 – May 11, 2022

The ADK design team will continue working on the fares and discounts marketing site prototypes and begin work on the marketing prototypes, operation section pages, profile/logging in and dashboard updates. User testing will continue on an as-needed basis for the aforementioned features. A component workshop will be held between the ADK design and technology teams to align on the items in development.

The ADK technology team will also begin work on the my account/reservation dashboard, which will build a persistent logged-in state, and begin to manage features within a user’s account. Work will begin on the API gateway, which will allow for email service setup and contact forms, login, and persistent state management. Pulling of real content into the prototypes will be done in Contentful, along with management of global components.

Sprint close: April 13, 2022

Past two weeks

The ADK design team put together prototypes for the booking flow process. Using these prototypes, the booking flow was demonstrated to the Steamship Authority team to elicit responses as well as to conduct user testing sessions to gain a sense of both back- and front-end user understanding to ensure the feedback is incorporated for the best possible experience. The ADK technology team was able to complete development of the booking bar web and mobile prototypes. Indexing of vehicle year, makes, and models for selection during the booking process, as well as the API caching strategy and Contact Us API endpoints, was completed.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 7, April 14, 2022 – April 27, 2022

The ADK team plans to continue forward iterating on the booking flow designs as well as beginning to work on the fares and discounts flow much in the same way it was done during Sprint 6 by obtaining assessments from both the SSA team as well as users. The ADK technology team will be building out the booking flow and account creation prototypes for both the desktop and mobile versions.

Sprint close: March 30, 2022

Past two weeks

The ADK design team worked on building the site map, which will allow the technology team to begin development of the website. User testing sessions were held between ADK and the Steamship Authority to review wireframes of the mobile approach in order to glean feedback on the process and flow to move forward on designs. The ADK technology team met with Steamship Authority team to review both the Contentful content management system and mobile app strategy, both of which have been approved and will be moving forward.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 6, March 31, 2022 – April 13, 2022

The user experience (UX) team will validate the sitemap through user testing, use the results to refine a solution and, pending approval, will support the build of the designs led by the engineering team. In parallel, the UX team will run this iterative prototyping and refinement cycle on other key parts of the experience, beginning with the checkout/purchase/reservation flow. The ADK technology team intends to provide a live preview of Contentful, including the framework for a “clickable” website with a header, footer and login. In parallel, the team will continue to the documentation process for the APIs.

Sprint close: March 16, 2022

Past Two Weeks

During Sprint 4, the ADK design team diligently assessed all of the information gathered during various workshops and meetings with the Steamship Authority team and put together style tiles, which put visualization behind different aspects of the new website such as fonts, iconography, color schemes and button shapes. Significant progress was also made on zone diagrams, as well as a documented plan of attack for recruiting users for testing and reviewing and comparing analytics options. In parallel, the ADK technology team validated prototypes of push notifications in GoNative for the mobile application; documented development and design workflows; discussed making the SSA API public; and discussed setting up Amazon Web Services.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 5, March 17, 2022 – March 30, 2022

Sprint 5 will be spent with the ADK design team putting the style tiles to work and beginning the testing of the reservation booking flow proof of concept with the SSA team using the desktop user interface. ADK will also begin building the user dashboard/logged in concept flow for mobile. The ADK technology team will be researching analytics options, digital wallets for tickets, and setting up the CMS tool.

Sprint close: March 2, 2022

Past Two Weeks

The ADK Group design team put together and reviewed the future state mapping with the Steamship Authority team, which helped glean an understanding of the flow and mechanics of the existing site, in addition to including future features. The development team also gave their own presentation regarding content management system (CMS) recommendations. The team put forth information regarding a content management system named Contentful as the content management system of choice and outlined the various feature sets and benefits to its use. The larger ADK team presented the entire Revealing Reality phase findings to the Steamship Authority team to great reception. Both teams are in alignment with the findings as well as the planned path forward for the Focused Innovation phase.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 4, March 3, 2022 – March 16, 2022

Sprint 4 will kick off the Focused Innovation phase. The ADK design team is eager to get started on a host of materials, including but not limited to user interface (UI) kit creation, style tile creation, rapid prototyping, user interviews and zone diagramming. In parallel, the development team will be working toward the completion of the documentation for the application programming interfaces, or APIs, that will be used to connect the website to the SSA's computer systems; finalizing the mobile app implementation strategy; completing the front-end library and design system; and establishing strong foundational codebases (front-end, keys, etc.) for the website, operational subdomain and reservation dashboard. 

Sprint close: Feb. 16, 2022

Past Two Weeks

The design team has been working hard at putting together current and future state mapping documentation; the former was reviewed with the SSA team. We also held a Visual Voice workshop in order to gain a better understanding of the look and feel for the revamped site. The technical team has been working equally hard documenting APIs. The team is currently working on putting together all of the Discovery Phase findings into a presentation to share with the Authority. The team also worked diligently on analytics and SEO/content work and held an interviewing session with the SSA HR department.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 3 Feb. 17, 2022 - March 3, 2022

The design team is going to be wrapping up their discovery and continue correlating the data they’ve compiled into the slide deck for an SSA presentation while continuing to make progress on the future state mapping documentation. Meanwhile, the technical team will continue to research the APIs. They will also be compiling recommendations with paths forward regarding front- and back-end technologies and what will be best suited for this project. These findings will also be added to the discovery presentation deck. Additionally, the team is developing a working draft of the Vision, Strategy, and Opportunities with supporting facts, findings and data. These will be reviewed with the Authority, along with a framework for benchmarking and measuring success, before being finalized then executed on in the next phase, Focused Innovation.

Sprint close: Feb. 2, 2022

Past Two Weeks

In the inaugural two-week sprint of our Revealing Reality phase, we worked towards understanding the requirements, APIs, data models, and user personas. Together with the Authority, we held seven working sessions to discuss everything from business needs to the Authority’s technical ecosystem. In addition, our technical team conducted peer analysis and performance benchmarking.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 2 Feb. 3, 2022 - Feb. 16, 2022

The team will continue work in the Revealing Reality phase. We will take a deeper dive into user journeys, begin creation of high-level concepts and hold a visual voice workshop to define core look-and-feel of the digital experience.

News release: Website redesign & app development project begins

FALMOUTH (February 2, 2022) – The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority and ADK Group of Boston have begun the year-long project to redesign the Authority’s website, www.steamshipauthority.com, and develop the Authority’s first mobile application. Click here for more.

An introduction from ADK Group

Hi, we’re ADK.

We’re a digital shop based in Boston. We deliver better experiences for people everywhere. 

We’re excited to partner with you and the Steamship Authority on this journey. Follow this page for regular updates from our team as we build the Authority’s new website and mobile app.

Learn more about us at adkgroup.com.

ADK office2

Building technology is a lot like building a house.

Building a house usually starts with a few questions from the architect. Why do you want a new house? What do you want it to look like? How many rooms do you need? 

Armed with your answers, your architect will probably start designing. Together, you’ll choose everything from the perfect wood flooring to the best bay window placement. 

After the designs are done, you’ll probably want to hire a contractor and start building. They’ll mostly follow your architect's plan, but you’ll probably want to make some tweaks along the way as you see things progressing. 

And just like that, the house is done!

Building technology follows a very similar process. We start by asking questions of the people who will be using the tech. Why do you need this technology? What does it need to do? How can it help make your life easier?

Just like the architect and contractor, we’ll apply the answers to these questions to a process of design and development. 

On this page, we’ll keep you updated as we build the Steamship Authority’s “house” – their website and mobile app. Some of what we say might get technical. It’ll certainly be in the weeds. Just remember: we’re building a digital house. And we’re excited to show you our progress every step of the way.

Our Goal

Deliver a best-in-class digital platform that exceeds the expectations of travelers.

Our Objectives

When we look back after launch, what do we want to have achieved?

  • Minimize booking time.

  • Minimize customer effort.

  • Minimize manual admin processes.

  • Maximize intuitive interactions.

  • Maximize access to information

  • Maximize happy travelers. 

What We Will Deliver

  1. A website with an online reservation dashboard streamlined for travelers.

  2. A subdomain serving relevant operational content on an elegant, modern interface. 

  3. A mobile app available on the App Store and Google Play Store with all the features of the online reservations dashboard.

  4. A digital platform linking it all together atop a modern technology foundation and elegantly implemented content management system.

ADK experience

Our Approach

With such a big, complex path ahead of us, it's easy to get lost in the weeds. It's critical to find an anchor – a core principle we can always return to in order to make sure we’re on the right path.

Our core principle is this: The experience is what matters. Everything else follows. 

We believe that better digital experiences are made by understanding people in context — revealing their unmet needs and building a deep understanding of what will bring them the most value. 

We put our understanding to work in an actionable strategy, guiding us towards the most valuable places to focus our effort. 

Project Phases

Our four-phase methodology takes the deep insights and research the Authority has gathered and applies it to an approach focused on solving for the human experiences behind the data. 

ADK methodology

Revealing reality is the foundation of our future work.

We’ll audit, memorialize, research, and map the current state of things. In six weeks, we will establish a detailed, fundamental understanding of the Authority’s current site and begin building & validating the new technical architecture. 

Duration: 6 weeks

Focused innovation is our unique approach to design. 

We’ll start with foundational styling and experience definition, but we’ll quickly move on to rapid prototyping - designing, testing, validating, and repeating until perfect.

Here’s how we’ll design the platform:

  • Experience Foundation: Before style, content, and code comes structure. We’ll begin designing the platform by defining the overall structure of the core user experience. 

  • Visual Foundation: In parallel with our efforts to set a user experience foundation, we will define the visual style of the platform - building a library of typography, colors, object styles, navigation, buttons, form UI, and other components to enable our design team to sprint ahead when rapid prototyping begins.

  • Rapid Prototyping: Leveraging everything we’ve learned and created, we will design the platform over a series of sprints – designing, testing, validating, and repeating. 

Duration: approximately 16 weeks

Building and evolving is how we do development.

Our engineers will build the platform - but by way of regular demos and regular status reports, you’ll see progress every step of the way. 

Here are some of things we’ll be thinking about when we build:

  • Deploy cross-functional teams: When designers and developers work in parallel, timelines shorten, communication improves, and work becomes more efficient. Once our experience foundation and visual styles have been defined, our cross-functional approach will enable designers and developers to work together in an iterative manner.

  • Deliver using a microservices-based approach: If building technology is like building a house, then microservices are the plumbing and electrical wiring. With this critical infrastructure in place, we can flexibly add and remove integrations as needed without breaking the rest of the system - just as you might add an addition to your home. The Authority’s website and mobile app need to talk to a lot of different systems - and microservices lets us do that.

  • Implement a flexible content management system (CMS): Media management, publishing tools, content migration, and a robust page builder that enables the creation of landing pages will be baked into this implementation.

  • Optimize for search and digital marketing: our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) team will conduct an ongoing audit to design an SEO strategy tailored to the Steamship Authority. We’ll ensure that SEO is not just a box that gets ticked, but a central priority on the main website.

  • Build for accessibility: Ensuring that everyone of all abilities can use this platform is absolutely critical. In order to create an inclusive experience, we will work with the Authority to meet WCAG 2.1 AA best practices at platform launch.

  • Bake quality assurance into the process: We use a quality assurance (QA) framework called the “Test Pyramid.” When implemented as a code development process, this framework drastically shortens the testing feedback loop and enables our engineers to build with confidence. 

Duration: approximately 38 weeks

Launch and beyond is the future of our partnership with the Steamship Authority. 

After launch, our first priority will be to bring the platform to you and solicit your feedback. The first three months after site launch will be a critical time to record use and make important updates to the site. Technology is always evolving, and our plan is to incorporate changes and feedback in an iterative manner. 

 


To submit your thoughts on the new website or development of the mobile app, please email Communications Director Sean F. Driscoll at sdriscoll@steamshipauthority.com, who is serving as the project manager.