|Review: Ster Kinekor App|
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 10:45
MyDigitalLife was offered an exclusive sneak peak at the new Ster Kinekor Android App and we are pleasantly surprised at what we found.
If you're familiar with the Ster Kinekor website, what comes to mind immediately may be words like "slow", "bulky" and "un-intuitive". Sure, once you figure out how it works (and have the needed flash plugins and bandwidth) it's convenient to be able to book tickets online and collect them. But it's probably easier to stand in line, right?
While the mobi site slims down the interface and makes booking a little easier, it's still slow to load, finicky and needs to know what phone you're using before it shows you anything. It was with these precursors in mind that I came to the Android app. My fears were unwarranted, however. I was blown away.
To begin with, the app is tiny – it's only 4.77 MB which is a quarter of the size of Draw Something and less than half the size of FourSquare. It's not a data guzzler either – in a few weeks of having it, checking movies at least every second day, it used up only 168kb.
The first time the app is loaded, a tutorial screen is shown pointing out which gestures to use and where to find information. The screen can be accessed from the menu at any time if the user is ever stuck. I did not find the tutorial necessary, however, as the app is highly intuitive. Information break-down is also logical. The info you are most likely to need – what movies are on right now, where and when, is what's given to you straight off the bat. If you want to see upcoming attractions, list by genre or see what's happening at Cinema Nouveu, that info is merely a click or a swipe away. If you want movie news, cinema details and booking history, that's two taps.
On first load the user is also prompted to fill in a profile. The app does not store credit card details or any sensitive personal information. It wants to know what cinema you prefer and what genres you're most interested in. The app remembers your primary cinema and from then on will give you the movies on there first. It uses the other info to tailor the news to your interests.
To find out more about the movie, the user can tap on a poster from the first screen. The movie page:
> Displays the poster, age restriction, when the movie arrives at the cinema, who stars in it, what genres it could be considered as, the synopsis and who directed and produced it.
> Shows the running time, main genre, trailer link and booking button in a toolbar along the bottom of the screen so these buttons can be accessed from anywhere in the page.
> Gives a drop down with the movie theatres and the dates it is available.
> Allows the user to share a link to the movie on Facebook or Twitter (Automatic tweet text: "Checking out <movie name> on my amazing Android Ster Kinekor App @sktheatres").
> Lets the user increase or decrease text size.
> Lets the user view the trailer and tailor whether to view it in high or low res AND shows exactly what size download each resolution. The user can view the trailer in browser or in the video player.
A tap on the booking button will display a list of days available, adjusted according to whether the user has selected a theatre and date in the drop down. The user just has to choose a day and a time to be taken to the seating layout. The seating layout seems impossibly small and my first thought was that this would be the app's downfall. However, the app supports pinch zooming so it was easy to enlarge the layout to a size where a chunky finger could prod the correct seat.
After selecting seats, the user is given the opportunity to enter any discount card numbers and then to pay with either credit card or MiMoney. You can request that Ster Kinekor send you a confirmation SMS when payment has gone through.
Having completed this process in a couple of seconds, something quite surprising happened. The app asked if it should add my movie booking to my phone calendar. Perhaps this makes me a smartphone luddite, but I was thrilled at this integration with my phone's native ability.
Collecting movie tickets at the theatre was just as simple. With a swipe of my credit card at the self-service terminal, my ticket was printed out – no need to fill out any additional details.
When I received the app to review, I was certain there would be something negative to say – that it would be cumbersome like the website, or fiddly like the mobi site. The amount of thought that's gone into little additions like zooming and being able to change text size, however, left me with no complaints.
The only downside is that Samsung has exclusive distribution rights for the next few weeks, so those using other Android devices might have to be a bit patient. If you have a Samsung though, you'll be able to grab it on the Samsung App Store from today.
The app was developed by Prezencedig.it.al and will be available on iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 in the near future.