To get some inspiration and user focus for design the Time Out City Guide apps I interviewed users about their use of information while travelling, and then asked them to sort cards to arrange possible travel app features in order of importance.
In my last few months at Time Out I was asked to create some concepts for a Time Out London iPad app. The designs were intended as a discussion point for possible commercial opportunities such as advertising and paid-for content, but also to have something visual to get excited about.
Time Out are the best known for providing “What’s on” information for London to help people find something to do, but they also have strong editorial content on life in London, such as: opinion pieces, cultural commentary and reviews.
The brief I was given for this app concept was that it should feel like a magazine, but have a prominent search facility, however as started mapping out the use cases (below) I quickly came to the conclusion to that there should be a browsable magazine style app (this was a whole year before Newstand and Adobe’s iOS publishing tools), and a separate productivity app for finding things to do. In general, apps are best when they are focused on one purpose or solving one user goal, which makes for a simpler UI. For me, the use case of a productivity tool and a sit back and browse a magazine felt somewhat at odds with each other.
I’ve been checking the reviews for the Time Out Travel Guide apps I worked on last year. It’s good to think of someone using a product you’ve designed and even better that it’s helping them have a good holiday. Dubrovnik, London, New York, Paris, & Zagreb
Berlin – Take full advantage
This is a great app and successfully navigated us to some top spots in Berlin over Easter. Currently free, which is an absolute gift – take full advantage. By Sazzle_81
Paris – Discovered a new Paris
I have been to Paris hundreds of times and have even lived there, but I discovered a completely new side to it this weekend through this app. We followed the editor’s picks and used the what’s nearby part of the app and we had the best weekend ever! Next time I will plan more and use the bookmarks to organise each day. No Improvements necessary. By Dysynni
Berlin – Absolutely essential
We used this app around 10 times a day instead of getting charged for data raoming and it was brilliant. I would have paid for this so can’t believe it’s free. If you’re travelling to Berlin, why haven’t you downloaded it already!!! By Tom Hughes
Barcelona – Absolutley indispensible…
Almost flawless in execution, this app is all you need if you turn up to Barcelona without a guide book or any clue what to do.
We spent 6 days there and filled them with things we found on here. The user interface is superb, the ability to bookmark and then view on the map was genius, and all without using any data allowance.
Only occasionally was the GPS slightly off and one or two places weren’t quite where the map thought they were, but overall it’s the best and most useful city guide app that I’ve ever used. By Doug Bryson
New York – Amazing
It made my trip to New York much easier when wandering around. Offline map, great restaurant recommendations, nice photos. I am totally getting the London and Paris guides. Please make a Lisbon one. By syt8
Benji Lanyado has written and interesting article in the Observer on location aware apps and the future (or lack there of) of printed travel guides. He gives a nice plug to the upcoming Time Out City Guide apps (he’s had a sneak preview).