I can count on one hand the number of projects where I have been just as excited at the beginning of the project as I have been at the end of the project. I think it’s a natural trend as you take an idea from the wide open possibilities of concepting to the realities and compromises that need to happen when you make that idea a reality. The new SPG iPhone and its state-aware interface that we launched last week is one of those rare ideas that I am still completely in love with.
When we started building the new app we had to make some fundamental upgrades like integrating key features into the app instead of directing to an outside mobile browser to create a faster, more user-friendly experience. We also needed to add options like having the ability to find hotels by airport code or map and create a streamlined home screen with “tiles” that are easily tapped or swiped to access frequent requests such as account information, upcoming stays, customer support and special offers.
The real breakthrough came when we decided that we were tired of creating dumb apps for smart phones. For most apps you need to tell them everything before they are useful and even then you need to do too much work to curate all the information you are presented with to get to what is useful to you. So the SPG app is the first in the travel industry–and one of the first apps ever–to utilize state-aware design. That means that the app unites all nine of our distinct lifestyle brands and its 1,100 hotels into a dynamic interface that adjusts the app’s look, feel and content depending on whether the user is planning, en route to the hotel.