GPS Pal on an iPhone

Columbia Sportswear Company has been keeping outdoor enthusiasts well equipped for more than 70 years. Looking to expand reach by adding to their mobile portfolio, the innovative apparel company partnered with Connective DX to bring to life a ground-breaking mobile app and web site that aligns with their brand promise of helping customers enjoy the outdoors.

Engaging consumers with the Columbia brand, even out on the trail

GPS PAL users track their adventures, capturing photos, videos, and notes that automatically set GPS tags on a map of the trek. Although the app also tracks distance, time, pace and elevation, performance is not the focus. GPS PAL’s differentiation in the marketplace is that the app is more about journaling and enjoying the adventure. The companion web site allows users to add more content, ratings, and comments and then share the complete story with friends and family.

The GPS PAL launch is a model for effectively releasing a mobile app to the marketplace. Collaborating on the launch plan with Columbia’s PR and marketing groups culminated in several huge wins with high profile media coverage, including television, online, and print reviews. In addition, Apple hand-picked GPS PAL as “New and Noteworthy” the week after launch.

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Always experimenting

We are at our best when we’re able to bring together the innovative spirit of our in-house interests and research with the digital aspirations of our clients; this proved to be especially true with GPS PAL. The first step of rapid prototyping allowed us to assess the feasibility of the concept, enabling us to explore various technologies and functionality we planned on using.

GPS Pal on an iMac

Ensuring the digital experience will meet business goals

Based on our then-proven technical approach, we created a detailed feature matrix and project roadmap that aligned to Columbia’s overall business goals and objectives. We leveraged the app’s Experience Design plans from Columbia’s previous agency and provided strategic recommendations for developing the companion web site, ensuring the customer experience remained seamless across all platforms.

The entire Experience Design team stayed involved throughout the project to ensure that the cross-platform interaction and visual design evolved with the implementation. Our Experience Analytics & Optimization group also ensured that the business performance of each element could be tracked and understood.

Working in parallel

GPS PAL is more than just a mobile outdoor companion app. The implementation included separate, parallel development efforts for iOS and Android platforms, in addition to the shared backend of the companion web site that communicates with each.

The successful launch and media coverage of GPS PAL would not have been reached without collaboration of the entire team across multiple disciplines. Nearly every Connective DX service was utilized, including Experience Design, Experience Analytics & Optimization, Mobile Development, and Web Application Development, backed up by one of our rain-making senior project managers.

GPS on mobile screens

Is it done?

The launch of a mobile app (or web site) is never the end. Correlating with the media and social success of the app, download and usage numbers are trending well. Connective DX and Columbia continually analyze analytics being tracked by Flurry and Google Analytics, as well as user comments and suggestions, to inform future app updates.

After 200-plus ratings in the App Store, it’s sitting at over 4 stars; that’s impressive.

Engadget