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Appcelerator Integration Partner: wddonline Makes Parks Mobile

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wddonline has been around since 1998, designing websites and developing web applications for amusement and attraction industries. About two years ago, they began to develop mobile apps as well. The company, which had extensive experience in web design, sought to harness the power of native applications without the hassle of either spending months learning a new language or hiring new developers. They also had the desire to maintain the cross-platform capabilities that they were accustomed to with web apps. After researching multiple mobile frameworks, they determined Appcelerator Titanium to be the best solution for their development needs.

For the past eighteen months, wddonline has been building mobile apps with Appcelerator Titanium. Many of the apps they build are created using an app template called MyPark, which they created for amusement parks, fairs, zoos, museums and festivals. The template includes many features including directions to and from the venue, its working hours, the cost of admission, and a full menu of features including both maps and social tools. MyPark apps also allow users to find one another if they become separated in the park. It also gives visitors live-updates of wait-times for rides and attractions to help them plan their trip through the park.

Though multiple apps are under development with the MyPark template, the implementation of the MyPark template currently available in the app store is for the Akron Zoo in Ohio. The app’s main menu links out to the mobile website as well as to an external mobile ticketing platform to purchase tickets. In addition to the standard MyPark features, this app includes a full list of zoo animals with a short description, photos and the location of each animal in the zoo. The map function provides an illustrated version of the map with labeled attractions and gives the user the most direct route to the attraction they hope to visit. Later this year, the app will also sends push notifications for nearby deals when passing any attraction that is offering a special deal. Akron Zoo users can plan their itinerary for the day and use the maps to find restrooms, ATMs, or restaurants by category. A key factor of the MyPark template is its utilization of the same proprietary CMS as their corresponding web and mobile site counterparts, ensuring that content is updated across all three platforms with one action.

wddonline also offers custom apps for clients that want a completely unique experience. ParksNReviews is one such app for Android and iOS devices that was built for Northstar Publishing. The app even received a feature in Times Square in New York (pictured below). The design interface for the mobile app serves to help people find parks in their area that offer their favorite activities. It does so by allowing users to search by both location and event-type and checking these categories across its database for parks within a certain distance to the user. The app allows users to check for destinations within a radius as large as 250 miles; while the event-types are as diverse as figure skating or swimming. The app also provides both the location of and the directions to desired parks. Before deciding to visit a park, ParksNReviews users can click on a location to view a detailed page for each specific park. The app functions a bit like Yelp! for parks, allowing users to check-in to a park and leave a review that can be viewed by others. In addition, the app offers badges for checking-in, leaving reviews and general use of the app, all of which can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition to designing apps for clients, wddonline has also been developing their own applications. One application, My Mini Golf Scorecard is already in app stores. The My Mini Golf Scorecard features a digital version of the scorecard offered at miniature golf locations across the nation, finally removing the hassle of carrying a tiny pencil and trying to to write on an impossible scrap of paper. The app comes in two versions, the first of which includes a list of every miniature golf course in the country alongside the appropriate scorecard. There are also specifically branded versions of the app for different mini-golf venues, which include special deals and all of the near-by locations. These versions even have a social feature, allowing you to share your score on Facebook.

wddonline has found success through its commitment to design and functionality within the niche of the amusement and attraction industry. To read more about wddonline, you can view their website here or you can follow them on twitter @wdd_online. To download any of the apps mentioned in the article, see the following links:

Akron Zoo: iPhone, Android; ParksNReview: iPhone, Android; My Mini Golf Scorecard: iPhone; Android.

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