Six Flags is an American amusement park corporation operating 27 properties. The company has been entertaining families for over 60 years – in 2019 alone, its properties were visited by 32.8 million guests. To enhance the visitors’ experience, Six Flags launched a mobile application within which one can, for instance, access tickets and passes, navigate the facilities, mark the attractions, view the event schedules, and order food.
At the end of 2020, the app had been in operation for a couple of years. While it did make the lives of the theme parks’ visitors easier, the client was aware of the product’s untapped potential. Feeling it was high time to unleash it, Six Flags looked for a knowledgeable tech partner who would make a good culture fit for the driven enterprise.
Merixstudio undertook to achieve this goal through software modernization, which to date encompasses code refactoring, app redesign, and test automation, to name a few.
months of continuous work on the project
amusement parks served
mobile app users in last 90 days
less app crashes
Six Flags had a clear vision in mind: making their mobile app smarter and more dynamic now and enriching it with new functionalities in the future. Knowing that, we began with a discovery phase to dig deeper into the app. Then, we reassessed the roadmap and, bearing in mind both the client’s and their users’ needs, prioritized software modernization, e.g., refactoring the code, updating libraries, and improving UX.
As the client wanted the outsourced tech team to take ownership and be proactive yet work hand in hand with the American team, we proposed to work in a dedicated team model. As of now, Merixstudio’s squad of 11 IT experts includes mobile and backend developers, a DevOps engineer, UX designers, QAs, and a Project Manager, who follow Kanban methodology and cooperate with Six Flag’s Product Manager.
On the dev side, we refactored the code following the principles of Clean Architecture. As we refactored the app, we can now enjoy the code’s brevity, interoperability, and maintainability. To bridge the gap between the mobile and the real-life experience, we set up geofencing within the app. In terms of DevOps, we migrated CI/CI pipelines from TeamCity to Github and built automated fastlane pipelines for Android and iOS.
As far as Quality Assurance is concerned, Merixstudio’s team is in charge of mobile app testing automation. Facilitated by the Appium framework, test automation serves two objectives. On the one hand, it increases the efficiency of regression tests, which are inextricably bound to each new release – and significantly speeds up the process of releasing new app versions. On the other hand, launching tests automatically whenever changes to the code are introduced helps us ensure app stability. The scope of automated tests depends on the environment: regression tests run against the test environment, and smoke tests are executed on production. Subject to the automation are also E2E tests. Running tests automatically on Browserstack enables us to test the app across two platforms (iOS and Android) and multiple devices.
On the product design part, we focus on improving the user experience with various UX research tools. One of them is the UX audit. Conducted at the beginning of our collaboration, it allowed the introduction of quick fixes to the flow. Then, we regularly conduct remote user interviews and usability tests. During such meetings, we not only observe how users interact with the Figma prototype of new screens and features, but also get to know them better: as both human beings and mobile app users. Since we couldn’t visit the parks in the US, interviews provided us with invaluable insights into the guests’ experiences, pain points, and needs. To check the usability of the home screen and my Six Flags designs, we also run hallway tests at Merixstudio.
Apart from further modernization, our plans for the future encompass launching a variety of features, e.g., booking parking places, or integration with Amazon Cognito for user authentication. We also seek to improve the app’s visual consistency in the upcoming months and continue redesigning it with ADA compliance in mind. All to make the Six Flags mobile app respond to its users’ needs even better and provide them with an unforgettable experience at the amusement parks.
users can access the map of the park, apply filters to show only selected types of facilities, and navigate to the chosen attractions.
having chosen a restaurant and an arrival time window, guests can order meals and pay for them by credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
to facilitate social distancing, visitors can access the availability calendar and reserve their visit in advance.
users can view a list of upcoming events in the events section of the app and by tapping the operating hours on the home screen, which will display events by calendar date.