Our Work

The ultimate road trip app

Lamar Advertising, one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the nation, came to us to help rethink its business model for mobile devices. Together, we created RoadNinja, an app that reinvented how travelers get information about exits on the road ahead. Drivers responded by making RoadNinja one of the Top 10 travel apps in Apple’s iTunes Store.

Reinventing roadtrips

Our focus was to design a product that drew on retailer brand recognition along highway exits. The RoadNinja app* uses a phone’s GPS to help identify a driver’s location and then points them, exit by exit, to gas stations, hotels, stores, and other points of retail or government interest.

We began this engagement by analyzing the user experience – by addressing the entire lifecycle of the travel use case, including how a RoadNinja user:

  • Discovers the app
  • Plans and starts a trip
  • Searches for points of interest along the route based on best reviews and promotions
  • Chooses a specific stop
  • Visits a location and redeems an offer
  • Writes reviews and shares trip experience on social media
  • Arrives at final destination
  • Publishes and final road trip with connections

*Lamar Advertising discontinued RoadNinja in 2015

Our Role

  • Product design + development

Platforms

  • iOS, Android, HTML5
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Elasticsearch
  • MongoDB
  • AngularJS

Deliverables

  • Desktop app
  • iOS and Android native mobile apps
  • Highway and exit admin application
  • Ad placement application

Jobs to Be Done

  • Find a specific retailer on a specific exit while on a highway trip
  • View a listing of upcoming exits along the interstate highway
  • View all retail brands available on a specific interstate exit based on distance from the exit
  • View the prices and availability of hotels and gas on any specific exit
  • View promotions for specific locations or brands on any exit
  • Allow users to select categories and brands as favorites for tracking over time

Extending the challenge

To develop the directory for RoadNinja, we built interstate highway and exit data and then aggregated and curated POI data from several apps, in combination with OPIS (Oil Price Information Service).

Our team also developed an ad platform that supported dayparting for the delivery of offers and promotions by nearby retailers and restaurants.

RoadNinja was first launched on iOS in October 2011. The Android version followed soon thereafter. The app featured promotions from major brands like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Domino’s Pizza, Community Coffee, Holiday Inn Express, and Hampton Inn. RoadNinja made it possible to deliver targeted promotions and engage customers on the interstate. The app garnered press acclaim and had more than 1+ million downloads across the app stores, paving the way for newcomers to the travel app market.

In the connected car

To extend distribution, our team developed a mobile web and desktop html version of RoadNinja. Additionally, we designed and prototyped a connected car version of RoadNinja, in partnership with AT&T Drive Studio. This version was to be voice-driven and updated to align with requirements from the automotive infotainment platform.

Lamar Co. merges an app with a highway sign

to create an immediate call to action for the consumer.”

Jonathan Salem Baskin Ad Age, Oct. 19, 2011