By Yousef Al Khodari
A 2021 Ryerson fashion communication graduate has created a one-of-a-kind, interactive map-based app.
Kaela Gordon is the chief marketing officer and co-founder of CrissCross, an app that gives users a new and personalized way to connect with the world around them.
The app gives users the ability to learn more about their community using unique filters and real-time data. Users can specify their age, dietary needs, venue preferences and much more.
“If I just want to go out for a night out, I’m gonna be able to see in real-time the age groups that I want to see and where they are in the city. It’s showing us in real-time this data and it’s showing you visually as well,“ said Gordon.
Gordon said the idea behind having an app like CrissCross is to explore more local options and feel like a local rather than a visitor.
“We want people to feel welcomed wherever they are,” said Gordon.
Local exploration and filters
CrissCross allows users to look for places in their area like pubs, restaurants and clubs and filter through what they want to see using options like dietary restrictions and different cuisine options.
A demo posted on CrissCross’ YouTube channel shows different filters that allow you to zoom in and see the percentages of age demographics at specific venues organized in different colours.
Exclusive to Ryerson students
Ryerson students that sign up to become beta users will have access to premium features including a dating feature set to be launched next summer. Discount memberships will also be available for Rye students soon.
The current focus is on Toronto students, but Tia Wetherup, CEO and co-founder of CrissCross, said that their goal is to generate interest with Gen Z and millennials and allow for the app to grow over time.
Beta users who download the app will also have immediate access to over 3,000 patio options in Toronto.
“We made sure that we’re connected to an actual Toronto database of all these patios…so we have all of that data feeding to the app on the backend,” said Wetherup.
CrissCross is also adding a “least busy” update. The feature displays highly-rated locations with the least amount of people in the user’s area.
Interactive scavenger hunt
Participating businesses can put up an ad specific to their brick and mortar location. It will show up on the map as a pot of gold near the business, and app users will be able to capture it in augmented reality, much like Pokemon GO and other AR games.
There are also rewards that users can receive for completing scavenger hunts.
50 per cent of the reward will be returned to the user’s digital wallet, whether that’s Apple Pay, PayPal or Google Pay Send, and the other 50 per cent will be given in the form of a coupon that can be spent at the store related to the scavenger hunt.
“We want to give back to the users…and some of it should go back to the businesses that invest,” said Wetherup.
The idea of having this reward system of discounts originated from Wetherup’s market research which revealed there was an inherent need for discounts, as well as the need for brick and mortar stores to catch up with modern methods of advertisement.
When it comes to the dating feature, the process will be unique in the sense that users won’t be matched to a person based on their pictures.
According to Gordon, the percentage match is based on the preferences the users have inputted in the app.