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Reaching higher with the new InselAir app

Case detail

The briefing

Curacao-based InselAir faced the challenge of meeting the demands of today’s connected traveler. They wanted to further enhance their customer service and were looking for an effective way to provide travelers with flight information and notifications on flight disruptions. We set out to develop a mobile app for the airline company.

Always connected

InselAir’s main objective for the mobile app was to be able to communicate with travelers. The app needed to provide a simple way to keep track of real-time flight statuses and to notify users when changes occurred. Key feature of the app was therefore the ability to receive real-time alerts and updates on flight delays, cancellations, gate changes, and so on.

Always up-to-date flight information with RAIDO

Boye Oomens / Senior front-end developer

Native vs Hybrid

There is a long-standing debate about the best development framework for mobile apps: native or hybrid. A native app is a smartphone application developed specifically for a mobile operating system (think Objective-C or Swift for iOS vs. Java for Android). To make a native iOS and an Android app, the app has to be built from scratch, twice. Hybrid apps, on the other hand, only have to be built once. They are a combination of native and web: they are built with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS and run in something called Webview, a simplified browser within your app. At the core, hybrid apps are actually websites packaged into a native wrapper.

Overall, native apps offer the best performance. Depending on a bunch of competing factors, however, hybrids can be a better alternative with considerably shorter development time and lower price tag.

Up-to-date flight information with the new Insel Air app

Ionic framework

When it comes to mobile, user experience trumps everything else. Mobile users have extremely high expectations about the performance of the apps on their mobile phone. So, customer experience should be a primary consideration when developing an app. That is why we decided to go with the best of both worlds: cross-platform. A cross-platform app only has to be built once in a language other than HTML5 and CSS. This language is then automatically converted to native buttons, labels, text fields, and lists. Nowadays, the performance of cross-platform apps is almost comparable to native apps.

We decided to develop the app with use of the open source framework Ionic. Ionic uses web techniques (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript), but has an output that is almost identical to native components. The framework uses Angular 2 (JavaScript) and leverages Cordova to support native code.

Up-to-date information

In order to be able to offer real-time information, we connected Sitemanager (the Content Management System) to InselAir’s airline management system RAIDO. The incoming data is managed by Sitemanager and sent straight to the mobile app. Push notifications are sent automatically, but we added an extra feature that makes it possible to send a bulk message created manually for a specific flight. With this feature, the airline company is able to quickly broadcast additional information.

With the mobile app, users can easily select the desired flight(s) and receive automatic notifications about the status of the designated flight(s). In addition, users are able to quickly review up-to-date information and contact InselAir directly by phone through the app.

It is this range of effective features along with the creative UX and design that have contributed to the app’s success and helped InselAir offer an extra service to travelers, right at their fingertips.

Insel Air mock-ups