SSA targets spring for new website, mobile app

Steamship looking to modernize user experience for its customers.

The SSA will launch its new website and mobile app in the spring. — MV Times

The Steamship Authority will introduce its new website in the spring, along with a downloadable mobile app.

The new website will be more user-friendly, and enhance customer experience, SSA spokesperson Sean Driscoll told The Times Tuesday. “It’s a totally new infrastructure,” Driscoll said.

The Steamship spokesperson says the new site and mobile app will feature a more modern interface, be “a lot more stable,” and it will interact with the existing reservation and notification systems.

“It’s going to look like a website that was built this year and not 10 years ago, which is when our current website was designed,” he said. “It will be what people expect from our website in 2023.”

The system that controls the SSA alerts, which is separate from the website and upcoming mobile app, will not be changing, Driscoll said. But the new design of the website and introduction of the app, to be equipped with optional push notifications, will allow for better serviceability for SSA customers. The new site and app will be capable of interacting with the notification system more effectively, he said.

Booking reservations on the app, Driscoll said, will be “more akin to booking a flight on JetBlue … [it will be] much more mobile-friendly.” 

During Tuesday morning’s SSA Port Council meeting, Driscoll shared an update on the process leading up to the launch, which he said is slated for spring. An exact date has yet to be set.

“User acceptance testing has begun on the new website by our internal auditing team and shore side operations department,” Driscoll told Port Council members. “The initial release of testing included 31 issues to review, including creating and verifying new accounts, setting various user preferences, getting details on multi ride cards and ticket book usage, and the functionality of the homepage booking bar.” 

Driscoll said the SSA plans to release various functions for the site every two weeks leading up to the site going live. Those new functions will be tested internally; any bugs identified will be fixed by the user experience company collaborating with the SSA for the initiative, called Projekt202. Driscoll called the collaboration and the testing process a “major milestone.”

Four weeks before launch, the SSA will be providing internal training for all employees — reservation clerks, senior staff, ticket sellers, and SSA board and Port Council members — on the new platform, to get everyone on the same page. 

Seventy-five percent of the $2.6 million previously budgeted for the project has been spent thus far, Driscoll said at Tuesday’s Port Council meeting.