Allas Sea Pool is the first of Nordic Urban Oy‘s floating Allas Pool well-being hubs. Additional locations are planned for several cities, with Allas Sea Pool serving as a pilot project. Allas Sea Pool is an urban seawater spa and event venue that has established itself as a popular center for maritime bathing and urban culture in Helsinki. Nordic Urban plans to expand the concept to multiple cities, leveraging the refined concept from Allas Sea Pool.
In accordance with the concept, Allas Pools offer waterfront experiences, enhance well-being, and facilitate memorable shared moments through bathing and culture. Simultaneously, they contribute to the development of urban life, revitalizing city centers and increasing their attractiveness. The comprehensive services at Allas Sea Pool in Helsinki include spa activities, diverse well-being classes and courses, concerts, restaurant services, and corporate events.
“The collaboration with Hurja on this project was very rewarding. Throughout the project, there was a sense of confidence in achieving success and staying on schedule. It was easy to have open discussions about the most challenging aspects with Hurja. They had the necessary experts readily available for our project, and it felt like the resource allocation for experts was successful throughout the project. We received quick responses and insights from Hurja, and they provided multiple solution options. Communication was proactive and customer-centric. The project also stayed on schedule.”Johanna Takko, Head of Digital, Nordic Urban / Allas Sea Pool
Technologies and Tools Used:
Nordic Urban aims to open new locations in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. The MyAllas project was initiated when a need was identified at Allas Sea Pool to improve the digital customer experience, as the existing operational system’s customer portal did not support the creation of an excellent digital customer experience effectively.
A modern, cloud-based MyAllas member service was therefore created for the use of Helsinki’s Allas Sea Pool and future locations. The service aims to provide both a better customer experience and the customization of the member service portal’s content on a location-specific basis. In the design and implementation of the service, scalability to different locations had to be considered. The service also needed to strongly convey a unified brand.
The principle of the cloud-based MyAllas service is to enable an excellent customer experience for members regardless of membership level. The design of the new service emphasized simplicity and ease, especially in joining as a member. The smooth user experience was also ensured for purchasing services, booking classes and courses, and managing memberships. The service includes different membership levels with various free and paid benefits to encourage members to maintain their well-being and enjoy cultural offerings. The MyAllas service will be actively developed and expanded in collaboration with members.
At the start of the project, Allas Sea Pool already had a digital platform for purchasing memberships and monthly passes. However, data collected revealed that customers found the previous system challenging, and the purchasing process was difficult.
The difficulty in the purchasing process was evident in many users starting but not completing the process, leading to a high need for customer support, as reflected in incoming inquiries. The purchasing path was perceived as complex, requiring navigation between multiple websites and online services. In the new MyAllas service, the goal was to simplify the user experience, making it smoother and easier for customers to manage their memberships in a clear digital environment.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were agreed upon with the client in the sales phase, focusing on schedule adherence, documentation quality, and conversion in purchases.
Key Performance Indicators:
The project was carried out using agile software development methods. Agile development involves working iteratively with the client and dividing the implementation into smaller parts or sprints. Each sprint included goal setting, implementation, and reviews.
A cloud-based IT infrastructure for Nordic Urban’s needs was built on Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS allows resource scaling as needed, ensuring a flexible IT environment. The infrastructure built with AWS not only meets current needs but also provides a solid foundation for future growth and the development of new systems.
The actual project was initiated with a Design Sprint, an efficient workshop method used in service design and product development. The workshop quickly allowed the development and testing of different user paths, creating functional concepts and prototypes for launching the development project itself. During the Design Sprint, a flow chart of the user interface was created to outline the user paths in the service. The goal was to determine how users navigate the service and what views and functions are needed. After jointly designing user paths, simple wireframes of the service were created for both mobile and desktop versions. Wireframes were used to efficiently outline the user experience and layout of the user interface.
After approving the wireframes, more detailed interactive versions were developed, and the customer’s brand identity and images from the Allas Sea Pool image bank were added to the user interface. This created a prototype that provided a genuine sense of the end product without the need for coding. The prototype made it easy to visualize and discuss development requests. The design focused on user experience and visual appeal to ensure that the service was pleasant and easy to use. The prototype allowed flexibility in testing changes and new needs in advance before starting actual coding. This approach facilitated visualization and clarification of the plan, making necessary changes through the prototype.
A key goal in UI/UX design was to streamline user paths, allowing users to navigate the service easily and complete their actions. Simultaneously, the aim was to attract new members, especially at the Member level. Registration and membership acquisition were intended to be effortless. Every user registered in the service automatically received a free Friends membership, but there was also the option to purchase Member-level memberships with broader benefits.
Hurja’s agile software development entails close collaboration with the client, rapid response to changes, and risk minimization. The operational manager and marketing manager collaborated closely throughout the project. The agile model deepens understanding between the client and the team, and new ideas can be quickly incorporated into the development of the MyAllas service. This close collaboration allowed Hurja’s team to offer solutions based on genuine business understanding. Code reviews were conducted by parties other than the implementer, reflecting the quality goal set for the project.
In the initial stages of the project, a significant milestone was the development of the BETA phase, covering essential functions such as user login and acquiring a single-level membership. The goal was to achieve a clear user experience and a user interface that reflected the client’s brand. Mobile version design was particularly emphasized, and the registration process was intended to be extremely easy and quick on mobile devices as well. Essential project phases also included integrations between the operational system and the new MyAllas service, as well as the newsletter tool and the operational system. Web analytics installation with conversion points, including tracking the e-commerce purchase path, was also implemented in the service.
The project progressed in agile sprints, with design and development happening concurrently. Changes were brainstormed and approved by the client through the prototype, easing the visualization and testing of changes. The BETA version was launched on schedule, including a functional core, a ready-made user interface, and basic functions such as creating a MyAllas account and acquiring a paid membership. After the BETA phase, the service was expanded to allow users to sign up for classes and manage their memberships, such as updating information.
Close collaboration continues even after the launch of the MyAllas service, focusing on both service development and the client’s other digital projects. Hurja is responsible for the maintenance of the implemented service.
Through the project, the client received a versatile and functional member service that provides an excellent user experience. Flowcharts and wireframes created in the initial stages ensured a clear user experience design, defining functional user paths and other necessary features. The iterative approach of the project, the use of prototypes, and continuous communication with the client ultimately enabled the creation of a service that aligns with the client’s vision.
The service offers a user-friendly member portal that attracts new members and facilitates the engagement of existing members. Compared to the previous system, the new service includes a simplified purchase process, registration, and membership management. Additionally, the new service eases the burden on customer support, as customers can independently use the service. The resulting member service is user-friendly, versatile, and in line with the client’s business goals.
The new member service supports Nordic Urban’s goals of opening new locations across Finland and other parts of Europe, as the member service is designed to be replicated in different locations. In the future, the implemented member service will support business growth and an expanded customer base.
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