Friday, January 18, 2013

Telstra New Year's Eve App

We had a session at the Google Creative Sandbox in Cannes last June with James Hilton of AKQA.  Among other things, we discussed the potential of mobile and product design in general.  He said something that really stuck with me; unless an experience is useful, usable or delightful then it's just contributing to the digital landfill.  Unfortunately many brands seem to ignore that advice and pump out ill-conceived mobile apps or experiences that meet none of the aforementioned criteria.  That's why I love this app developed by Australian Telco, Telstra for New Year's eve in Sydney.  The app has a host of features to enhance and amplify the experience of fireworks goers in Sydney.  As the good folks over at Contagious explain:

Throughout the night, four Telstra Colour Moments will automatically sync phone screens with the lighting on Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the fireworks displays around the bay. The screens will light up, becoming a visual extension of the show. 

Message the Bridge, another function on the app, enables users to write and submit their very own New Year's message - with 1500 of these being displayed on the pylons of the bridge over the course of the night. A dedicated Facebook app lets people without a smartphone send messages to the bridge. 

Telstra has also included features to help the public get the most from the evening: the maps function, for example, details the best vantage points from which to see the fireworks, and includes information on reaching each one; and Midnight Messages enables users (on any network) to pre-load 50 SMS messages which Telstra will then send out to their loved ones, free of charge, at midnight. 

Telstra also streamed the fireworks on their YouTube channel for those folks who couldn't attend in person.

Overall the Telstra App is just a great example of a mobile application that meets all of the criteria.  It's useful (best vantage points via maps, rules about what you can and can't bring to the fireworks, etc.), usable (nice UX in the app, but also the ability to pre-load SMS messages to send at midnight) and delightful (become part of the larger experience via the Telstra Colour Moments, Message The Bridge).  Check out the demo video below.

hat tip: Contagious