How does innovative technology make for smoother navigation in real life?
Wijnegem - Shop Eat Enjoy
An interactive web application for navigation on HD touchscreens
A much-needed update for efficient navigation
The collaboration between iO and Wijnegem - Shop Eat Go started in December 2021, with the request to update the navigation units. The technology, which dated back to 2016 had reached its graphical and UX-limits, for both staff and visitors.
For example, updating store information was still an entirely manual process, the software and design was outdated, and the navigation was counterintuitive and confusing for users.
The units (called 'totems' by the teams) had to become more user-friendly - for both visitors and for the staff who worked with it.
Collaboration in figures
A central CMS for efficient content management
The main challenge was to ensure that the information that the units present to each visitor is accurate and up-to-date at all times. The shopping centre constantly changes, with new shops, facilities, locations, services, and layout. Information is quickly outdated. We decided to investigate the possibility of automating these updates, to keep information and navigation accurate and relevant.
Our experts developed a centralised content management system, using the Symfony framework with updates via Mercure as a back-end basis and Vue3 in Typescript for the app on each totem - with a user-friendly interface to enable even less technically inclined staff to manage the content, without the need for coding skills.
With one click, all units can be provided with up-to-date information about shops, catering, services, promotions, and events at the same time today, as well as content for the website and app.
"We can't ignore digital technology when we are providing the optimal shopping experience. By involving iO experts in our mission, we’ve gained a lot of digital expertise in-house in one fell swoop. This collaboration proves that it’s not just our visitors ultimately benefit from this."
- Werner Oliviers, Building & Facility Manager at Wijnegem Shop Eat Enjoy
Modern and intuitive design and technology
The user interface, the underlying technology and functions of the totems also dated back to 2016. The outdated designs were less effective and user-friendly and did not fit in well with the prevailing needs and expectations of our visitors. This became increasingly clear during interactions with users,
The team worked on new wireframes for the application, in consultation with the client and the established criteria for acceptance. The end result was a total overhaul of the interface. We opted for a mobile look, coupled with a responsive navigation that invites interaction.
Navigation through the various functions of the application is smooth, and as user-friendly and effective as possible.
Renewed routing and navigation
Large shopping malls can overwhelm the visitor and are often difficult to navigate, especially when it’s your first visit or you have limited mobility - for example. In these situations, 'traditional' maps and signposts do not always show the general public the way clearly and store staff are often too busy to give visitors directions.
This led to the arrival of the digital totems a few years ago but unfortunately, in many cases they were confusing for the users. For example, the two floors were displayed next to each other and there were too few landmarks for effective orientation.
The new design superimposes the floors on top of each other, with more landmarks so that its more obvious to the user when they should turn left or right in order to reach the destination. Navigation takes less time and visitors can shop undisturbed for longer. Also, store employees are no longer approached for help with directions.
The tweaks are the future
At the time of writing, the collaboration is still ongoing. What else is on the agenda?
In the coming months, the team will continue to implement optimisations in the graphical and UX areas, linked to the results of user testing.
We use tracking, which includes integration with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, to extract direct learnings from visitor usage.
The team is also exploring new, innovative applications such as the use of QR codes and geo-location to take navigation to an even higher level. To be continued...
Is it time for navigation technology for your organisation?
Do you want to work with innovative, digital platforms that give your target group control over their navigation? Contact the iO specialists – we would love to hear your story.