APPs That Work

Mobiles and their numerous apps have irrevocably changed the way marketers communicate with their audiences – and the behaviour of consumers themselves. People rely on apps to check pricing, recommend restaurants, navigate unfamiliar environments and a million other things. Mobiles and tablets have become ubiquitous across the retail, hospitality, education, health, government and automotive industries. They can entertain and inform us, tell us where we need to be, what’s good quality, what’s not and how

much we ought to pay for it. This is how Designercity – with mobile experience that dates back to the creation of one of Asia’s first enterprise level iOS apps in 2007 and tablet app experience from the very beginning of the trend – are helping Hong Kong businesses turn this potential to their advantage.

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Digital functionality is revolutionising the hospitality industry and generating improved service and efficiency. Our In-Room Hotel Directory for Swire's Upper House and East Hotels illustrates this trend perfectly. One of the first enterprise level iOS apps in Asia, our in-room concierge iPhone and iPod touch application replaces the old in-room directory folder and offers much more besides. Guests can explore the hotel's dining options, order room service, find out about facilities, browse the wine collection, stay informed about services, events and promotions and even choose tunes from the music library.

Special features:

  • Order or pre-order meals and drinks by using the calendar and meal planner, and adding orders to your cart – you can even customise your own cocktails.
  • Collect guest feedback and comments, using the application questionnaires and custom forms.
  • Browse and select music from playlists, which is then played via the hotel room sound system.
  • Daily promotions, offers and events keep guests up-to-date on the latest local news and facility information.
  • Automatically checks-in and checks-out guests, clearing all cached preferences, music and orders.

Centralised updating

Staff can download and upgrade the application via a distribution server in much the same way you would at an app online store. This allows them to make frequent updates to the menu and service information through the hotels' intranet and CMS, drastically cutting the editing time with the old paper menus and saving on weekly paper and printing.


iPhone OS v3.1, WiFi infrastructure, IE 6 or above, Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) 6.0 or above, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or above, .Net Framework 2.0 or above.


We created Hong Kong's first luxury real estate iPad application. The interactive app for 'AZURA', Swire's luxury high-rise development, contains everything you would normally expect of a property brochure; floor plans, artists' impressions and location information. But it also includes panoramic vistas from the penthouse – in daytime, nighttime and the 'golden hour' – as well as an interactive space planner, so buyers can work out where their furniture will go. The Seymour Road development is scheduled for completion at the end of 2012, but Designercity's iPad app is already bringing it to life for hundreds of prospective buyers.


We have also created sales apps for Pernod Ricard, promoting whiskies. Our 'Age Matters' app engages customers at point of sale to educate them about the superior qualities of older whiskies – flavour, colour and complexity – and hence up-sell higher value brands.


Our iPad apps for Hilton and Conrad Hotels carry the details of every hotel owned by the group in greater China, enabling the Hilton sales force to present convincingly to corporate clients and generate major new revenue streams. The bilingual app covers details such as locations, rooms, leisure facilities, floor plans and meeting capacities - all the background information required to decide where to hold a conference. Covering the Hilton, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria brands, the visual appeal of the photography allows sales people to do the talking while the pictures speak for themselves.


Our iPad app for Christie's HK, for internal usage only at the moment, provides details of the famous auction house’s latest catalogues for reference by sales staff.


iPad menus are becoming an increasingly familiar sight in leading restaurants. Our eMenu for the world-famous Felix at the Peninsula is designed to assist the sales process without taking away the all-important human service element. It allows diners to browse the menu, study the in-depth wine list, watch video and explore other rich media. There are food and wine pairing ideas and fun elements such as a mood wheel, which gives random menu suggestions.


iPad menus are increasingly familiar in leading restaurants in Macau, too. Our eWine List for City of Dreams allows diners to browse the in-depth wine cellar. There is only one CMS, yet it automatically changes prices for wines between the everyday and premium restaurants within the complex.


We created CLP Broadcast, Hong Kong's first enterprise level Windows Phone 7 app for CLP. The app is designed for internal usage only, with linkage to CLP's SharePoint 2010 Content Management System. The Windows 7 application minimises downtime by giving executives an intuitive and visually engaging app that lets them view, share and download news briefings, circulars, events, media releases, job vacancies and people movements on the go.

Special features:

  • Creation of iPhone and iPad application UI.
  • Integration with SharePoint 2010.
  • Active directory impersonation authentication security.
  • OneNote files multi-access and sharing through SharePoint 2010.
  • English and Simplified Chinese language.
  • Metadata tagging of media and images for search.
  • Progressive download by Silverlight web part player in WMV and mp4 format.
  • Automatically creates thumbnail images of video media.
  • Scalable app and interface allowing for new functions.


Windows phone 7 OS, Microsoft Office SharePoint server 2010, Microsoft push notification server, C#, Silverlight v4


Our Restaurant Reservation System at K11 mall means the end of hanging around waiting for tables. Customers reserve their place in the queue and then just shop, relax and spend quality time.

Restaurant managers use iPads to take customers' reservations, classify their groups as Small, Medium or Large, and issue reservation tickets. When the customer's number reaches the top of the queue, their table is available. If all the restaurants are busy, customers approach service personnel who – with an overview of all the queuing system traffic – can slot them in where there's capacity. For queuing updates, there are more than 20 Reservation System display units in the mall – and more enhancements are coming.

Special features

  • Unique usage of technology to enhance F&B experience.
  • Cloud technology from Microsoft Azure offers a scalable solution.
  • Advertising can be broadcast on Display Panels, ideal for F&B clients.
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Ocean Park, one of the first major public apps created by Designercity, offers a host of new features to make any day or night at the iconic Hong Kong playground really come alive. There's a Park Map to get you around, a QR reader to access behind the scenes information and retrieve E-Coupons. And it's linked to the Ocean Park mini-site and themed seasonally for Halloween, Christmas, CNY and other major festivals. Best of all, it gives updates of queuing times, so users don't have to endure long waits for top attractions. And there are more innovations to be launched soon.


Our iFinance mobile app for Mass Mutual Asia has been a No.1 hit with Hong Kong App store downloaders, and with good reason – it tells users how much they need to save and invest to become millionaires! Not only that, it includes calculators for paying children's education fees, as well as retirement provision, protection, investment and a future value prediction function. Everything about your financial future can be estimated and predicted, giving you greater clarity about your present.


The Android 2.2 and iPhone 4.0 photo sharing app offers users the ability to share images on the exclusive "Red MR table", a new generation social platform encompassing multidisciplinary technologies. The Red MR karaoke project brings together Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft® PixelSense™, mobile technology, social networks, cloud computing and more.

Special features:

  • Real-time downloading and sharing, take photos or select pictures on your Smartphone then share them on the Red MR table.
  • Scan QR codes for special promotions information.
  • Social Network integration, via Facebook and Weibo.


Windows phone 7 OS, iPhone 4.0, Java Android, Object C, iPhone, Azure cloud computing, PixelSense SUR40.


Designercity's unique technology offers an exciting new level of connectivity between devices. Customers can share photos and other files through our new cross-platform sharing function - allowing iPhone, Android and Windows Phone users to connect and interact with each other via PixelSense SUR40 and other Multi-touch tables.



Designercity's new iPhone/Android app for Staccato, the fashion shoe retailer, is part of their Fall/Winter Campaign 2011 with brand ambassador and HK celebrity Hilary Tsui.

The campaign, targeted at fashion-aware urban women and launched via mobile SMS, POSand print, is designed to keep customers up-to-date with Staccato's latest products and promotions.The app consists of two sections: a prize-winning game themed around Hilary Tsui to incentivise users to download the app. Winners receive a cash coupon, each with a unique coupon number to prevent fraud. And the second section covers Staccato's product range with a fun, mix-and-match fashion hints catalogue.


Our iPhone application for wtc more customers creates custom dining event invitations by adding unique image titles and messages that can then be sent to friends via email, SMS or social networks – with attached promotional coupons.

Special features:

  • Create custom dining events for 2 to 20 people, with customised titles and text messages in each invitation.
  • Send invitations via eCard, email or post an event to your Facebook friends.
  • Take photos with the app and add them to guest profiles or eCard invitation.
  • Adjust, scale and crop images taken with camera or imported from phone memory.
  • Location maps, parking information and location directions.


iPhone OS v3.1, WiFi infrastructure, IE 6 or above, Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) 6.0 or above, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or above, .Net Framework 2.0 or above.


Designercity's app for SFC InvestED is a handy beginners' guide to commonly used terminology offering prudent investment tips and how to understand the many different types of financial product.

"It delivers a wide-range of information on investor education to you."


TSL Jewellery was Hong Kong's first jewellery retail brand to launch an iPad e-Magazine. 'TSL Lifestyle' illustrates the latest jewellery trends and helps customers to select their favourite pieces. The inaugural issue provided customers with the hottest trends in wedding gowns, bridal make-up, mix and match for wedding gowns and a bridal jewellery shopping guide – strengthening TSL's positioning as Hong Kong's wedding specialists.

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Ocean Park, one of the first major public tablet apps created by Designercity, offers a host of new features to make any day or night at the iconic playground really come alive. Content rich, it includes all the information you need to plan your day in advance. There are opening times, travel, weather, shopping and dining info, a park map to orientate you – details on new rides and animals – and the app is themed seasonally for major festivals. We also built a spooky campaign app for Halloween.

View App Video1 View App Video2 Download App


VPS are a provider of share trading software to financial institutions such as the Bank of China. The ‘Carry on Trading’ virtual share trading game allows users to see who’s king of the heap, based on their performance buying and selling a portfolio of 20 holdings. React to virtual news, hit the ‘Trigger’ button to prompt share movement up or down, and discover who’s the Warren Buffet at the top of the leaderboard and who’s the Nic Leeson among your friends. Notice how sections of information allow users to drill down vertically to discover the information they need.


This app for Commercial Radio Hong Kong connects users to the latest and archive local and international news and sports news. There are streaming archive videos, instant polls on hot topics and live streaming of key political announcements will be available soon. There are also three radio stations: 881, a music-driven station aimed at affluent urban Hong Kongers, 903, aimed at younger fashion-conscious listeners and AM 864 which plays 24 hour ‘music gold’ to an older demographic.


Players are faced with a grid of numbers. When they are given a target number (ie 10), they then have to join two numbers that make up that sum (ie 7 & 3). However, it’s not as easy as it sounds because other players can obstruct your view of the most obvious choices. That means you either have to be faster than them or more creative with your solutions – therefore improving your mental arithmetic and numeracy. Once your name is on the leaderboard, it adds up to a lot of respect.


We were honoured to be asked by Microsoft to teach students and judge their work at the 2012 ‘Summer Code Camp’ held at the IVE (Institute of Vocational Education), part of VTC in Wanchai. As Design Partners of Microsoft, Designercity have a wealth of experience in designing within the Windows 8 framework. About 80 IT and Design students from various universities in the Territory were divided into some 25 teams and given a month to work on their original Windows 8 app ideas. Each team made an app proposal which, when approved, they went away to work up to the best standard. Designercity gave a series of lectures and helped them with refinements on ideas and functions in the final days of completing their submissions. Win Mak from Designercity was one of the panel of judges from the tech world who awarded valuable prizes such as X-Boxes & Kinect to the eventual winners.


To design successfully within the new Windows 8 design language, you need to understand more than the differences in resolution and screen size – you need to understand the philosophy behind the features that make it different. The starting point is that ‘Content is King’, in other words all secondary information such as navigation cues recede beyond the screen in order to allow total focus on the main content. The result is less visual clutter and hence a more immersive and engaging experience. The second key difference is the distinctive tile UX design through which you can showcase logos, show a splash screen, live information, and feature topics that allow the user to drill down to the information or experience they want. As the tile interface is a common feature to all Windows 8 app designs, you need experience in order to prevent an app looking somewhat similar to so many others. Designercity have a wealth of experience in working within these design guidelines, and make apps that function brilliantly look and feel unique.


Today, most websites can be viewed on mobile devices - but most certainly weren’t designed for this. In fact, some are far from user-friendly, with small mouse click icons when chunky buttons are what are required. When designing and building mobile websites, Designercity recognises that there are numerous good practices to observe such as using fluid width and making responsive areas larger than the icon buttons. Usability is the key consideration, so extreme care is taken to reduce the IA to its simplest, most practical form – and to make the key functions are easy and intuitive. Providing your product/service promotion doesn’t need camera, gyroscope or GPU linkage, a well-designed mobile optimised website may be a more cost-effective solution than an app.

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WTC More is a shopping mecca in Causeway Bay. Our mobile optimised website translates the look of mall's unique young fashion vibe to your mobile device.


The URA mobile site is basically a slimmed-down version of the desktop version, with the technology to respond to users' preferences. We use Responsive Design, an approach where development and design responds to the user's environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.

The practice consists of a mix of layouts, flexible grids, images – and clever use of CSS and JavaScript. The advantages are that now we only need to update one source and the page is displayed differently, depending on the environment. In the past, it was necessary to update multiple pages of content, depending on the platform for which the page was originally created. Now it's only done once to serve all.


The ifc mall is one of the most prestigious shopping malls in Hong Kong and its brand image is sacrosanct, so it has to look fabulous via every different touchpoint. When you access the ifc mall website, the browser detect page sends your device the most appropriate version – HTML to mobiles and tablets and Flash to most desktops - which allows you to see the version optimised for your device.


Our app for the stylish Elements mall in Tsim Tsa Shui includes a shopping and dining directory as well as location and parking information.


The mobile-optimised website for Hong Kong International Airport, originally created in 2008, is a demonstration of Designercity's pioneering technology and expertise in this area. Long before the widespread use of Smartphones, the HKIA website was optimised to work on most mobile phones via the overwhelming majority of international service providers, providing vital information such as real-time flight arrivals and departures.