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  • Case: Valopilkku

    One app. Thousands of taxis. Anytime, everywhere in Finland

  • Case: Valopilkku

    One app. Thousands of taxis. Anytime, everywhere in Finland

Case: Valopilkku – an app for ordering a taxi anywhere in Finland
Client: The Finnish Taxi Owners Federation
Tasks: Service and UX design, server implementation, Windows Phone/Android implementation

Background and goals

Taxi ordering and smartphones are a natural combination: for quite some time, there had been a lack of a smooth, modern app with which getting a ride would be easy and effortless around the country. Around 2014, the discussion around the digitalisation of public transportation was heated: it was clear that the public felt that there was absolutely no excuse for not being able to use the mobile platform to order a ride.

The Finnish Taxi Owners Federation realised that there were myriad possibilities around mobile and together with us, begun a large development project. The goal was ambitious: to update the taxi services in Finland to the new age.

 
 
The Solution
 
 

The project resulted in Valopilkku, an app that would make ordering a taxi easy and straightforward in the most convenient way possible. After the initial planning project, we continued the work by implementing the versions for Android and Windows Phone. The implementation of the iPhone version was done by a company called Blind Angle.

The app needed to be as simple to use as possible: instead of calling to the local taxi center or sending an SMS, the user would be able to order the cab without any extra charge in just a few taps. The app would automatically search the location of the user and would also offer a way to check the current status of the order. This would help with the all-too-familiar “is the car really coming or should I call again” anxiety.

In addition, we designed a handy pre-ordering functionality and a rating system, with which the users could review the ride after they had reached their location.

Here’s a video clip of how the service works in action:

 
 
The User Experience
 
 

From the very beginning it was clear that in order to be relevant, the app would have to offer a state-of-the-art user experience. This placed a lot of weight to both the UX design and the communication between the app and the various taxi ordering centers. The back-end solution was technically challenging because it needed to integrate to various different ordering systems. Yet at the same time, the end user should only see one clear UI and would only have to worry about confirming his address and hitting the order button.

In order for the app to fill its purpose, user feedback was greatly emphasised. From the get-go, the users were encouraged to share their experiences with the service in the social media and offer their views on how it should be developed further. The message was that the development would not be done behind closed doors – only by listening to the end users would we be able to make the app as handy as it could be.

 
 
What Next?
 
 

The media attention and feedback around Valopilkku has been positively excited. After launching the service in the Capital Region it immediately made its way to the most downloaded free app in Finland. The public interest has been even greater than expected.

The app now covers almost all of Finland. Furthermore, it is constantly being developed further based on user feedback. The journey has only begun, which means that now is the perfect time to share your experiences with Valopilkku online – we’re listening! Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #valopilkku – or head over to the application’s official site at: www.valopilkkutaksi.fi

From the very beginning, I was in awe of Taiste's fresh and user-centered approach to designing Valopilkku's user interface. At the heart of the design process there has been the end users and their hopes and needs concerning the taxi ride. The way Taiste implemented the apps and built the back-end were truly impressive. The customers have really liked the service and the number of downloads have been on a steady rise. We will definitely continue working with Taiste on the project.

Jouni Mutanen

Department Head, The Finnish Taxi Owners Federation

The co-operation between all parties has been excellent, and it has been really interesting to be a part of updating the Finnish taxi to the age of mobile. The app was built to very high quality standards. In addition, it integrates to many data sources and ordering systems. I'm eagerly awaiting for all the challenges and possibilities the future holds!

Oscar Salonaho

Managing Director, Taiste

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