Trapster: A Case Study

Increasing a user group, app store rating, and the redesign of a brand.


The redesign and rebranding of Trapster that I had the pleasure of designing were a huge success resulting in massive downloads and exceptional app and website experiences. Users of the Trapster app were overwhelmingly positive in their reviews and attitudes towards the application. Email and communications efforts were more effective with the use of simplified call-to-actions while maintaining Trapsters voice. Read on to see how it was accomplished.


Trapster for iOS
Trapster for iPad and iPhone © 2012

Trapster was a social app dedicated to speed trap alerting and reporting through user-generated content over a worldwide social platform upheld through apps on iOS and Android devices and on the internet. The Trapster app would alert users to speed traps, red light cameras, speed cameras, accidents, and 24 other road hazards on their route.

Founded in 2007 and later purchased in 2010 by Nokia, Trapster became a pet-project, of sorts, to establish a test & learn environment within Nokia’s mapping division, HERE Maps. By leveraging it’s community of app users, Trapster became the test bed for new features that HERE could later use within it’s organization. During my time with Nokia, Trapster's features included integrated speed limits, revamped trap reporting, audible alerting, realtime traffic, Patrol Lines, Caravan Mode, MyTrips, and 3D Maps.

Old Trapster Design from 2009
Trapster Version 3.5 © 2009

The problem

Trapster had seen a steady decrease in active users and stagnant growth worldwide. The design had become dated, lacking a fresh look in the past five years. There were simply too many places to click and the UX was in shambles. It was a patchwork of designs glued together with a teams individual opinions. On top of that, users downloading the app updates were on the decline having not had a major feature release in over a year. Trapster needed optimization in their App Store ratings and rankings, and we needed more effective call-to-actions in our email communications.

With my UX, design expertise, and ability to organize the app, Trapster's navigation, interface and general structure resulted in some difficult strategic decisions.

Time to make some tough Decisions

My affinity towards automobiles most likely stems in part from my father who retired from General Motors. I've always loved American muscle cars, particularly the '69 Camaro. There was something about the combination of the design, smell of fuel and oil, and the ability to feel the horsepower from an engine. Not being much of a gearhead, my extreme nerdiness of using technology allowed me to focus intently on something I felt passionate about. This being a driving app, I had decided to design a dashboard to display the core relevant information to the user.

Trapster Dashboard on iOS
The dashboard design showing menu, speed, direction, and Report Trap button. © 2012

After deciding to do a complete redesign of the app, website, and brand identity, Trapster engaged the multi-year process of the overhaul. I was able to make the app fresh in it's attitude and aesthetics and pair it to a companion website. A fresh moderator experience helped disperse the user-generated content back to the users while a steady trickle of poignant emails reminded users of our presence. The engagement of males, primarily gamers and auto enthusiasts 18-35 years old, would command a level of cool Trapster had neglected for far too long. Myself being a gamer within that demographic, I figured I'd be able to make something that I, ideally, would like also.


Our strategy for updating was a three-pronged approach. We would need to get the word out through the app itself, through an agressive email blitz, and through social media. Our budget was minimal at best at $30,000 USD.

Trapster Brand Redesign © 2012
A variety of digital identity work including web design, email, banner ads, and social media content. © 2012-13

After overhauling the design of Trapster which included multiple rounds of testing, iterating, and refinement, Trapster became a much more mature and targeted application. It's identity resonated with our members through the app store reviews, ratings, and statistics.

Trapster Reviews
Trapster 5.0 App Store (iOS) reviews, 2012.

We would first let our member know that a major app update was on it's way by means of email. This would allow us to garner the attention of our members and tease the new Trapster. We had the ability to know what members were on Android vs iOS, what features they've used, and a host of other information within the app. This allowed us to send emails regarding features and release dates to Android and iOS specific users. Our moderators were also able to download and try the new release prior to the public launch. Anyone could sign up for free to become a moderator. Our second step was to allow members to download the new version on launch and also through an app update. The third step was to reach out via social media letting them know that the new Trapster 5.0 release is out and ready for download.

Trapster's new release would garner a 572% increase in downloads during the first week.
Trapster Dashboard on iOS
iOS App Store rating after the v5.0 release.

According to, Trapster's iOS New Release downloads went up 112,973 over the first week (14,122 per day) resulting in a 572% increase in new downloads from January 14th-21st, 2013. Subsequently, the ranking in the Apple Store went from 128th in Navigation Apps to 9th, while holding in the top 15 for the next three months. The App Store reviews also went from 3 stars to 4.5 stars in subsequent months. Following the iOS release Android members would get their release with similar results a few months later. On May 2nd-9th, 2013, new downloads went up only 8% totalling 18,332 new downloads (2,292 per day). Although new downloads were marginal compared to the iOS release of version 5.0, App Updates went up a staggering 21,736% (348,944 downloads) in the first week, an average of 43,618 updates per day. That's roughly 30 updates per minute for a week straight on Android devices worldwide.

Be sure to check out the image gallery for App store screenshots, devices supported, and more.


Trapster on all devices
Trapster Apple iTunes App Store
Trapster Google Play Store
Trapster Reviews
Trapster Brand Redesign © 2012
Trapster in context