Lenexa has released a whole new look to its mobile application, I Like Lenexa.
Chris Stilwell, the city software developer who built and maintains the app, said its redesigned product interface has “more dynamic” information as well as interactivity for users.
The first version of the app was released in 2014. At the time, the app was “static,” with only a few sections to click through, with basic, minimal information about the city’s amenities. The new version, on the other hand, is an interactive informational portal that pulls more data from the city website at a near real-time pace.
“We really were just going into it with what we thought people would want, and this version is more kind of like the community telling us what they wanted to do in the app, and that’s just kind of answering that need,” Stilwell said.
Allysha Walmann, communications specialist, said city staff also hoped to highlight more of “all Lenexa has to offer,” especially places, amenities and services that are lesser known in the community.
“It’s more of a fun, interesting way to draw attention to some of those pieces that we’re really proud of,” Walmann said, citing a moment when she saw how the app introduced a long-time Lenexa resident to Hidden Woods Park, which is right next to her home. “We’re encouraging people to discover this community asset that they had no idea was there.”
Some features include the city’s calendar, the local weather (a particular favorite according to app analytics, so Stilwell placed it at the top), the city’s social newsfeeds and newsletters, the schedule for the city’s recreation center, and event information for the public market, local festivals, shows and other events.
“It’s more dynamic, I would say a lot more useful, actually,” Stilwell said. “All of these events that we have, they’re more accessible now within the app.”
Besides having more accessibility and convenience, the app also features a list of growing achievements, which act as additional incentives to get out and explore Lenexa.
“Basically, we can use the achievements to highlight any sort of messaging that we’re trying to get out and make it more fun for people,” Walmann said.
Stilwell said he made changes to the app after he and other city staff had started noticing a “drop-off on user engagement.”
“The information never changed,” Stilwell said. “We pushed new achievements, new things we were able to do within the app, but if you weren’t really into doing the achievements, you’d read the app once and it’s like, ‘Look, you’re done.’”
City staff said it plans to continue evolving the mobile app as users’ needs and wishes change. Walmann said staff welcomes user feedback as well.
“We constantly have ideas in the works that we’re looking to explore and make it more fun and functional for people,” Walmann said. “This is a constantly evolving thing that’s created for the community, so if members of the community have any ideas, we’re really open to those.”