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Website redesign and app development project

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Sprint Reports

Sprint Close: August 3, 2022

Design: The ADK design team reviewed the homepage and freight screens and sought approval to move those along to the technology team. The team also be reviewed the homepage designs with the larger Steamship Authority team to elicit feedback and incorporate as appropriate. Alert designs and functionality were finalized while continuing documentation. Designs for empty states and unhappy paths began while continuing on the marketing pages, content pages, and site content strategy. Completion of designs for the mobile app will commence and any user testing was coordinated to ensure the app designs are user friendly. The design team also worked on the advertising strategy. This work will consist of creating documentation regarding which calls to actions will be required and for which pages throughout the website. Advertisement guidelines will also be constructed as part of this effort.

Technology: The ADK front-end technology team concentrated on the logged-in passenger eFerry e-tickets page, eFerry destination tabs, eFerry ticket cards components, ticket books and multiride card pages, multiride card components, profile creation, gift card management, and user preferences dashboard. The back-end technology team began coding on multiride card details, ticket book details, notification and communication preferences, date range availability and trip selection. Site content strategy also progressed, focusing on page revisions, advertise with us, accommodations program, discount detail pages, discount content and any tertiary pages.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 15, August 4, 2022 - August 17, 2022

<p data-renderer-start-pos="1827">Design: The ADK design team will continue iterations on the homepage designs based on feedback provided from the SSA. Finalization of the mobile app designs will progress, as well as alerts functionality, design of any outstanding components/pages/states, accommodations program ticket flow, and marketing page designs, including the about section, what to do, and fares and discounts. The design team is working on the advertising strategy. This work will consist of creating documentation regarding which calls to actions will be required and for which pages throughout the website. Advertisement guidelines will also be constructed as part of this effort. This work is continuing from sprints 13 and 14.

Technology: The ADK front-end technology team will work on empty states, user preferences, component dependencies, and low-risk homepage components. The back-end technology team will spec out and write tests for endpoints currently implemented internally, begin to work on caching strategy for the application programming interface (API) gateway to improve performance for intensive endpoints, and implementations for currently documented endpoints.

Sprint Close: July 20, 2022

Design: The ADK design team made progress on the mobile app, refining the homepage and marketing-related page designs, which include schedules, parking, directions, the about section, what to do, fares and discounts, and the events calendar. In parallel, designs for the freight experience commenced. Content strategy for the site advanced with the about section, what to do, and events for both islands, discounts and fares, advertising, accommodations, tertiary pages, and the creation of proposed release plan for the blog. The team finalized the checklist for photography and videography assets to be taken by the chosen vendors. Lastly, the advertising and call-to-action strategies was started and will continue into sprint 14.

Technology: The ADK technology team continued to focus on various facets of the site, including front-end work on reservations, persistent login technology, account management, and security. Accessibility audits were completed on the main header, side navigation bar, main footer and the booking bar. Backend API development on forgot password, reset password, and the quality-assurance pipeline were a concentration during sprint 13. The technology team also looked into a new approach for the mobile app as an alternative to GoNative that will not require a third-party company.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 15, July 21, 2022 – August 3, 2022

Design: The ADK design team will review the homepage and freight screens and seek approval to move those along to the technology team. The team will also be reviewing the homepage designs with the larger Steamship Authority team to elicit feedback and incorporate as appropriate. Alert designs and functionality will be finalized while continuing documentation. Designs for empty states and unhappy paths will begin while continuing on the marketing pages, content pages, and site content strategy. Completion of designs for the mobile app will commence and any user testing will be coordinated to ensure the app designs are user friendly. 

Technology: The ADK front-end technology team will concentrate on the logged-in passenger eFerry e-tickets page, eFerry destination tabs, eFerry ticket cards components, ticket books & multi-ride card pages, multiride card components, profile creation, gift card management as well as user preferences dashboard. The backend technology team will begin coding on multiride card details, ticket book details, notification and communication preferences, date range availability, and trip selection. Development may begin on the mobile app depending on the design progression and user testing conducted. This will include onboarding flow prototype and custom navigation tabs.

Sprint Close: July 6, 2022

Design: The ADK design team continued with the account and booking flows, design of the blog pages, marketing pages, and crafting site content. Design work began for the mobile app, including running user testing and the site homepage. The team finalized the alert types designs, made a first pass at compiling the photo and video assets needs, and a call-to-action strategy for advertising.

Technology: The ADK technology team researched tickets specific to merging accounts, creating and deleting accounts and personalization based on first-part user data. Back-end work took place for password management, including forgot password and password reset functionality; and account features, including parking permits and multiride cards. Front-end work included forgot password components, building of a grid system, updates to the booking flow bar, and scaffolding out the blog pages. The creation of blog content models and planning out of the blog content page builder will be executed in the content management system.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 13, July 7, 2022 – July 20, 2022

Design: The ADK design team will progress on the mobile app, refining the homepage, and marketing-related page designs, which include schedules, parking, directions, about section, what to do, fares and discounts, and events calendar. In parallel, designs for the freight experience will commence. Content strategy for the site will advance with the about section, what to do and events for both islands, discounts and fares, advertising and accommodations, tertiary pages, and the creation of proposed release plan for the blog. The team will finalize the checklist for photography and videography assets to be taken by the chosen vendors. Lastly, the advertising strategy and documentation of calls to action will continue. 

Technology: The ADK technology team will continue to focus on various facets of the site including front-end work on my reservations, persistent login technology, account management, and security. Accessibility audits will be completed on the main header, side navigation bar, main footer and the booking bar. Back-end API development on forgot password, reset password and quality-assurance pipeline will be a concentration. 

Sprint close: June 22, 2022

<p data-renderer-start-pos="129">Design: The ADK design team worked on several aspects of the website during this sprint. For the account functionality within the site, designs were executed for profile/preferences, adding a gift card, freight, and refinements to the user interface design. In the booking flow, designs for logging in and signing up for an account and wait listing continued. For both of these features, the designs were for both desktop and mobile. The team took a first pass at the site home page and blog page. Work also continued on alerts, and the team began to create documentation around the call-to-action strategy for advertisements and what pages they will live on.

<p data-renderer-start-pos="129">Technology: The ADK technology team began to start ingesting the work from the application programming interface (API) gateway on the front end for the website. This includes the logging-in functionality, as well as some reservation dashboard work including future trips, past trips, and ticket books.

The API team worked on creating endpoints for vessel metadata as well as multiride cards. The team also worked on writing automated tests and pipelines to automatically generate documentation.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 12, June 23, 2022 – July 6, 2022

<p data-renderer-start-pos="1827">Design: The ADK design team aims to continue work with the account and booking flows, design of the blog pages, marketing pages, and crafting site content. Design work will begin for the mobile app, including running user testing, and the site homepage. The team will finalize the alert types designs, first pass at compiling the photo and video assets needs, and a calll-to-action strategy for advertising.

<p data-renderer-start-pos="2225">Technology: The ADK technology team will be researching tickets specific to merging accounts, creating and deleting accounts, and personalization based on first-part user data. Backend work will take place for password management, including forgot password and password reset functionality, and account features, including parking permits and multi-ride cards. Frontend work will include forgot password components, building of a grid system, updates to the booking flow bar, and scaffolding out the blog pages. The creation of blog content models and planning out of the blog content page builder will be executed in Contentful, the new content management system for the website. 

Sprint Close: June 8, 2022

Past two weeks

The ADK design team worked to finalize the account flow, which included section content, user interface refinement, the freight view and the mobile app dashboard, as well as finalizing of the booking flow, which includes logging in and creating a new account, inclusion of the waitlist, and all mobile screens. Work continued with marketing prototypes for schedules, fares and discounts, parking and direction and the operations sections. Designs were started for the "what to do" and "about" sections, site search, any tertiary page needs, alerts, and the mobile app. 

The ADK technology team continued to make headway on the implementation of the API gateway, including working on new endpoints for future reservations, past reservations, as well as eFerry tickets. The team also conducted research on implementing third-party login providers. The front-end development began to implement accessibility audits and features like appropriate color contrast and keyboard navigation. Development of the main navigation, booking bar, and footer components continued. The setup of development, staging, and user-acceptance testing environments began. 

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 11, June 9, 2022 – June 22, 2022

Design

For the account functionality within the site, designs will be executed for profile/preferences, adding a gift card, any refinements to the user interface design, and freight. In the booking flow, designs for logging in and signing up for an account, and waitlist will continue. For both of these features, the designs will be for both desktop and mobile. The team plans to take a first pass at the site home page and blog page. Work will also continue on alerts, and the team plans to create documentation around the call to action strategy for advertisements and what pages they will live on.

Technology

The ADK technology team will begin to start ingesting the work from the API gateway on the frontend for the website. This will include logging in functionality, as well as some reservation dashboard work including future trips, past trips, and ticket books. The API team will work on creating endpoints for vessel metadata as well as multiride cards. The team will also be working on writing automated tests and pipelines to automatically generate documentation. 

Sprint Close: May 25, 2022

Past two weeks

The ADK design team continued with the marketing page designs, focusing on schedules, fares and discounts, parking and direction and the operations sections. The ADK technology team developed the fares and discounts components, started developing the dashboard prototypes for logged-in states, and regroup on the progressive web app strategy and implementation based on the approved designs.

Work will begin on the about, what to do, blog, and site search sections. Meanwhile, the team will finalize the high priority features (account, waitlist, and booking flow) and begin translating to the mobile app experience.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 10, May 26, 2022 – June 8, 2022

Design

The ADK design team will finalize the account flow, which includes section content, user interface refinement, freight view and the mobile app dashboard, as well as finalization of the booking flow, which includes logging in and creating a new account, inclusion of the waitlist, and all mobile screens. Work will continue with marketing prototypes for schedules, fares and discounts, parking and direction and the operations sections. Designs will be started for the what to do and about sections, site search, any tertiary page needs, alerts and the mobile app. Testing will be completed for the booking flow and dashboard by the QA team.

Technology

The ADK technology team will continue to make headway on implementation of the API gateway. The team will be scaffolding out new endpoints for future reservations, past reservations, as well as eFerry tickets. The team will also be conducting some research on implementing third-party login providers, such as Facebook and Google.

The front-end development will begin to implement accessibility audits and features like appropriate color contrast and keyboard navigation. The team is also wrapping up development of the main navigation, booking bar, and footer components.

Lastly, the team will begin to setup true dev, staging, and user-acceptance testing environments, as well as various third-party accounts.

Sprint close: May 13, 2022

The ADK design team continued working on the fares and discounts prototypes, as well as dashboard updates; user tests; profiles and logging in; and updates to the dashboard, which includes payments and check out. Work began on the designs for the marketing and informational pages, which includes schedules and parking/direction information. The content and design team also reviewed progress on the operational section pages with Steamship Authority, gathered feedback, and began updates to it. Content strategy began working on copy on client-approved pages.

The ADK technology team accomplished setting up the SSL certificates and CNAMEs, set up email service and contact forms, logins and persistent state management, and began to pull user data into the prototypes for the API gateway subdomain. The technology team also started pulling user data into the prototypes and global content-managed elements via Contentful, the content management system for the new website. The engineering team began building high-fidelity pages.

During Sprint 8, the ADK team met with the Steamship Authority team for a two-day on-site walkthrough of the facilities and to gain additional context from the staff. The ADK team found this extremely beneficial to the process because it put the mechanics of the operations into context. Many different aspects of the day-to-day activities were reviewed such as parking, ticketing, loading vehicles, and shadowing customer service agents among many more. The ADK team took copious notes and will use the information obtained to refine flows and create new tickets. The Steamship Authority team was extremely helpful in sharing and made sure the ADK team felt welcomed.

Upcoming Project Goals: Sprint 9, May 13, 2022 – May 25, 2022

The ADK technology team will develop the fares and discounts components, start developing the dashboard prototypes for logged-in states and regroup on the progressive web app strategy and implementation based on the approved designs. The ADK design team will continue with the marketing page designs, focusing on schedules, fares and discounts, parking and direction and the operations sections.

Work will begin on the about, what to do, blog, and site search sections. Meanwhile, the team will finalize the high-priority features (account, waitlist, and booking flow) and begin translating to the mobile app experience.

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 use the form below to email Communications Director Sean F. Driscoll, who is serving as the project manager.