Redesign secures gold

 

On 19 November 2014, our iOS app won Gold in the Knowledge category and Silver in the Business category at the Best of Swiss Apps 2014. Thank you to everyone involved in the redesign process. We are proud of you.

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Goal of the redesign

3-screenOur main goal was to launch a fresh, contemporary design and adapt our app to the major design changes that Apple has introduced with iOS7 and the iPhone 5.

We released Version 6.0 of our iPhone app on 10 June 2014. The app is the result of more than a year’s work with our partners Ginetta (UX and design), Userfeedback GmbH and SwissQ (quality and testing).

We have introduced smart search suggestions so that our users can find what they’re looking for even more quickly. We now also display pictures and customer reviews within restaurant listings and give users the opportunity to reserve a table directly online.

These functions have enabled us to bring our iOS app up to the level of comparable services such as Google Maps, Yelp and Foursquare.

 

Various challenges

Redesigning a successful app such as the local.ch phone book is no mean feat. Our app has over 1.5 million downloads and more than half a million monthly users (Source: NET-Metrix). It was therefore a huge challenge not to test the patience of our users and to modify the app in a targeted and expedient manner.

The typical phone book user makes use of the app for two to three minutes at a time and usually searches for a specific telephone number or a store.

Users are impatient and expect a quick answer to their search request. Anything that prolongs the user experience frustrates the user. However, you can find much more than just a telephone number with the local.ch app. You can book a table at a restaurant, find the nearest toilets, plan a shopping trip or find out the weather forecast for the weekend.

Making users aware of these features was one of the biggest challenges we faced.

What’s more, the requirements of our users have changed since the first release in 2009. Our users expect our app to have a state-of-the-art design that is comparable with the best apps in the segment, while also offering all the functions of the traditional phone book.

 

Initial reactions

The feedback and evaluations in the App Store have been predominantly positive. The current version of the app received four and a half stars. The evaluation of traffic has revealed continuous growth among monthly users and a positive impact.

In summary, we are very satisfied with the results of the redesign. We are convinced that Swiss software can keep up with the best apps in the world.

 

 
 

Hack Day makes it work

 

Over the course of two days last week, our Konradstrasse office hosted Hack Day 2014.

Foto_Logo Hack Day1Hack Day at local.ch… just what exactly is that? Anonymous hacker villains who steal and sell local.ch data to evil telemarketing companies? Desperate competitors who try to copy the fabulous platforms from local.ch or even bring their them to a halt?

 

Desperate fans determined to find the new Miss Switzerland’s private telephone number, come hell or high water?

Nothing of the sort!

Hack Day at local.ch is when we hack ourselves by setting aside daily business and dedicate ourselves for two days to new, individual ideas and projects. Hack Day has a long tradition here at local.ch. Since variety is the spice of life, we decided to extend Hack Day 2014 into a two-day event. This means twice the time, ideas and fun. Our motto this year was “MAKE IT WORK – tell a real user story… with a happy ending!”

We started the first day by forming teams based on ideas that came from the participants themselves. As usual, we had an abundance of ideas. Ultimately developers, product and audience managers, and other employees decided on 14 of those concepts.

They took these ideas and ran with them, working until late at night, continuing early the next morning until the afternoon of the second day. The grande finale took place that night at the Swisscom building located on Förrlibuckstrasse. The projects were introduced to a fantastic audience and a tough jury comprising Edi B, Christoph J, Guido K, Thomas G and Robert F.

The teams introduced their projects and what they had achieved in 14 short, yet entertaining, witty and inspiring presentations. Topics ranged from a solution for “how do I find my lunch menu” to completely reinventing local.ch, from a new product (a type of local.ch customer stamp card) and even a banana piano (where you can play piano on real bananas using an attached computer to produce notes).

The jury had a tough decision to make regarding which project should be selected for immediate implementation. Spoiler: no, the banana piano didn’t win. They chose a project that should enhance the information on the local.ch platforms even more, making local.ch even more attractive and supporting our users in selecting a provider. But we don’t want to reveal too much. We’ll just mention that the project has already started and we’ll keep you informed.

Hack Day 2014 was a great success. It was a lot of fun and incredibly productive thanks to the active participants and, of course, Yannick Suter, who orchestrated Hack Day. Thank you everyone!

Watch the video to get an idea of what Hack Day was like:

 

Still not enough? You’ll find even more here:
local.ch Hack Day on Storify

Hack Day 2014 has come to an end, and we’re already looking forward to the next one!

 

 
 

Hackday 2014 – Make it Work!

 

One of the traditions we are most proud of is the local.ch hack day. This year we’ve made it even better: it’s two days instead of one. So twice the time and twice the awesomeness. As in the last years we will live-blog and live-tweet the event.

hackday 2014

 
 

Join joiz and local.ch on a discovery tour across Switzerland

 

What do a TV programme like “Switzerland for Beginners” and the directory platform local.ch have in common? They both love Switzerland. And they both want to make the country’s local and typical attractions accessible to a wide audience. Because Switzerland has so much to offer if you just open your eyes – or the local.ch app! – and get inspired by the urban and rural sights and attractions.

So in order to discover these exciting places, joiz, local.ch and Opel made their way to Solothurn, Geneva, Zug, Lugano and Appenzell. That covered three of the four language regions in Switzerland, along with many of the different aspects that makes our country so special. The south, the urban side and “picture book” Switzerland.

Before we headed off, we posted on Facebook and asked the community to use the local.ch platform to tell our editorial department about the “must sees” in their cities so that we wouldn’t miss any of the highlights on our discovery tour. We received a wide-ranging medley of fascinating “must sees” and “must dos”.

Which is why joiz.ch presenters Julian and Gülsha visited horses, mountains and a sprinkling of celebrities, were at the barbers, in a confectioner’s and by a fountain, why they tried stand up paddling, watched the alpine pasture procession, visited HC Lugano, took part in a dulcimer course and much, much more…

From Tuesday, 7 October, you can join joiz, local.ch and Opel on our discovery tour, every Tuesday for five weeks.

Programmes on joiz:

Switzerland for Beginners with Julian in Solothurn, 7 Oct., at 6.30 pm
Switzerland for Beginners with Julian in Geneva, 14 Oct., at 6.30 pm
Switzerland for Beginners with Gülsha in Zug, 21 Oct., at 6.30 pm
Switzerland for Beginners with Gülsha in Lugano, 28 Oct., at 6.30 pm
Switzerland for Beginners with Gülsha in Appenzell, 4 Nov., at 7.30 pm

 
 

Breaking the ice with an ice-cream campaign

 

In June and July, the Customer Management, Content and Sales Relations teams conducted a guerrilla campaign for local Présence Web Plus. The goal was simply to say thank you to customers – and surprise potential new customers with a congenial campaign.

Florence is Communication Manager at local.ch and plans all B2B campaigns. The half French has concluded her master in media sciences and communication sciences in Fribourg and worked during 5 years as an adviser on advertising agency side. In her last job before local.ch the Bernese planned various campaigns at Swiss Radio and Television in Zurich. In her spare time Florence loves to learn new languages, to go to concerts and to dance salsa.

With that aim in mind, the local.ch team went out on the street and into the shops in Zurich and Schaffhausen. All in all, the day was sweetened for around 280 people and good use made of the momentum to promote the local Présence Web Plus product.

The ice cream distribution was very well received. So well that the campaign was also repeated in the Bad Zurzach, Wetzikon, Effretikon, Basel, Glarus, Chur and Amriswil regions. Over 1000 people enjoyed the sweet refreshment.

The responses of the people visited were amusing and impressive. Some customers insisted on paying for the ice cream and refused to take no for an answer. Others however invited the local.ch team to a restaurant and offered them drinks.

Take a look at a few examples here. Have fun!