Q&A with Greg Fahy, Head of Product- Ticketek Australia
Q: Can you give us a brief overview of the Ticketek story so far from an app perspective?
A Mobile is a key product focus for Ticketek and our market leading platform gives customers the ability to browse events, buy tickets and have them delivered direct to their mobile. We are always looking for opportunities to grow and add to this platform to make it more convenient for our customers. Part of this development roadmap includes making our app available across multiple mobile platforms.
Q: What is some of the functionality that you took advantage of from a Ticketek perspective? How did you look at designing the app to take advantage of some of the new features within Windows Phone?
A: One of the things we were mindful of when designing the app was to ensure that the user experience available on our other mobile platforms was retained whilst taking advantage of the unique navigational and functional elements that Windows 8 and WP8 offers.
The carousel style navigation provides a good fit with the content we display providing the ability to view different types of related content and quickly navigate between them via a gesture without having to use a menu.
The ability to pin a genre or a specific event or ticket to the Home screen is something that is offered in many pages within the app and provides a quick and convenient way to get back to the content which is of most interest.
Mobile tickets are an area of huge growth for Ticketek and this delivery option is fast becoming one of the most popular especially as more and more venues see the advantage of digital ticketing. The Windows8 and WP8 apps both take advantage of this by not only displaying a customer’s mobile ticket within the apps ticket wallet but WP8 also allows the user to access their tickets through the phones integrated Ticketek wallet.
Geo services are leveraged throughout the app and having access to the accurate location information allows us to effectively deliver targeted show content to our users.
Overall, we wanted to provide consumers with a one-stop-shop where they can discover and purchase tickets to the best live events in Australia, add reminders to their calendar and share events on social media.
Q: Did you design the app differently compared with your apps on iOS and Android?
A: Our custom base on iPhone is extensive and having just release v2 of the iPhone app we wanted to retain the same user experience in terms of content display and accessibility whilst taking advantage of the UI elements available within the windows platforms.
So we had to make sure we designed the app to make sure it worked with the way our business operates. We do take advantage of the Windows Phone 8 controls though, such as the panorama experience. The other thing we did is when you actually go into the app, one of the ways you can explore events is by drilling down by genre. There’s an interesting sort of carousel style control that we use for breaking those genres down within the main panorama. We’ve been a bit more creative in terms of the design and have tried to push the boundaries for the Windows Phone application.
Q: If we look at your product lifecycle, how does Ticketek approach innovation by adding new features to its respective apps to meet customer demand?
A: We take our design input from a number of different sources including our customers, our venue partners and also other innovation that is happening within the market place. One of the things we tried to do with both the Windows Phone and Windows 8 app is to try and extend what we could do in terms of social engagement. An important consideration was the need to make sure all of our apps are aligned with the same features.
Q: How easy was it to use the same based codes across two platforms such as Windows 8 and Phone?
A: Whilst there are notable physical and navigational differences between the two platforms – such as on Windows Phone you might have a settings screen or a log in screen as a separate page, but on Windows 8 allows you to pull up settings or your login screen anywhere in the app – the ability to share code between the platforms is quite impressive. It’s those subtle differences that we had to re-think, but other than that with the core functions such as calling up to services, storing data locally, you probably get a re-use of around 70% to 80% of that code
Q: How quickly was it to develop both Windows Phone and Windows 8 in parallel?
A: The code base for both of the platforms was initially designed in parallel to ensure that things like service calls and caching all follow the same implementation details. Once this of development was completed we then did the final parts of the development for each platform independently. This was to ensure that the focus was correctly applied to the UX detail for each platform and the differences in UI and navigation were considered. We were working with a very small team so it made sense to follow this approach.
Q: What was Nokia’s involvement in developing your Ticketek app?
A: The WP8 app is initially exclusive to the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone. Nokia has been a great partner through this process and helped us build a showcase app for their phones. They were involved right through the design and review process. We’ve also worked closely with Microsoft to help bring to market a great app for their Australian Windows 8 customers.