The client's initial idea behind the mobile web app was to:
- allow city residents and tourists to share and discover hidden cultural and creative treasures of the 168 cities included in the CCM website through treasure hunts ; and
- enable city administrators to make use of the online discussion tools to engage with citizens on issues of public interest.
My role was to turn this idea into a working product: Develop the concept and product strategy, research and define the new product, design the wireframes, craft a compelling copy and plan the tactical execution from inception to go-to-market.
Product strategy and concept development
The strategy was focused on discovering the needs of the CCCM target audiences and finding product-market fit. The idea was refined to entail the design and development of a web-based cultural participatory activity; The app would use culture and creativity as strategic resources to facilitate interest in the European cultural legacy amongst socially active people aged between 15 and 40 years worldwide.
The primary customer segment was defined: Socially active people aged between 15 and 40 years that work and live in Europe. This group enjoys social media and spends time with other people, especially outdoors. Socially active people have the potential to become either supporters or influencers and promoters of engaging activities and events. Strong influencers within this age group are women.
The objectives were to:
- Provide the primary user segment with the opportunity to discover the hidden cultural and creative resources of the 168 selected European cities;
- Offer ways for users to discover relevant cultural sites and the ties that bind them to the local cultural heritage whilst giving people a sense of ownership of their cultural and historical value; and
- Promote tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the result of efforts on the part of artists, creators and professionals of the cultural and creative sectors, thereby promoting cultural exchanges and intercultural dialogue.
Benefits, challenges and opportunities were outlined; One of the main challenges of the strategic management of the tool was related to the sustainable development and maintenance of "treasure hunt" resources. "Treasure hunts" in a city (i.e. an urban centre of at least 50,000 inhabitants1) would require the systematic process of researching local cultural and creative sectors, discovering and identifying cultural properties and creating activities (i.e. quizzes, riddles) to generate active participation of local users. To address this challenge, a crowdsourced approach was proposed to involve local and national authorities, including: Municipalities, Regional Authorities, Province and National Governments, Tourism Boards etc.
The Web App's marketing strategy would focus on establishing a vibrant community of priority audiences (i.e. culturally curious users, artists, museum curators, creators and professionals of the cultural and creative sectors) by seizing opportunities for reaching out to each user segment.
From the idea to a product with real value
As the simple idea was conceptualized to a product with real value for users, the user stories were defined. The final product even had an engaging user classification system: Based on their score, signed-up users would be assigned different roles according to their progression through the Web App. The ability of individual signed-up users to access and work with content in different ways depended on the privileges they would acquire while using the app.
System administrators controlled the scope of privileges that could be assigned to users through roles. For instance, a client user role with limited privileges such as: view street map, view city profile, solve quizzes and earn points, would be assigned the role of a "vibrant explorer".
Every function was well-thought out and documented to a thorough report that explained all key activities from inception to go-to-market.
The final aim was to communicate the concept to the app stakeholders. Wireframes were used to unify and synthesize identified concepts, tasks and workflow elements and translate them into screen layouts and paradigms of what the app does and how it works.
The temporary title of the application was "Vibrant cities". Eventually, the title changed to "Cultural gems". You may view the final product at: https://culturalgems.jrc.ec.europa.eu/
Many thanks to Eworx for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this project and my appreciation to my colleagues who went the extra mile to make this concept a reality.