The Official OpenRoad Blog

IF/THEN

Our Open Studio Event

ORC-VDW-01-facebook-cover-photo_final (1)

To celebrate Vancouver Design Week, we’re opening our space to friends, students, clients, and design lovers from all over the city. Come try on one of our many hats and see how we make new experiences possible, every day.

If any or all of the following apply to you, then this event is for you:
• You have a passion for design.
• You live in or around Vancouver and work in design.
• You’re a friend of OpenRoad.
• You like local beer, wine, and chicken.

Register Now via Facebook

Feel free to share this invite with your friends and colleagues (but please ask them to register here). We look forward to seeing you on September 20th!

Bonus for Students:

Are you a student or aspiring designer? This is your chance to connect with people in the industry and get feedback about your design portfolio. Sign up for a complimentary portfolio review with OpenRoad’s creative team.

Checking out Hyperlapse — The newest video technology from Instagram.

On Tuesday Instagram launched their new app, Hyperlapse. In true Instagram style, Hyperlapse aims to remove all the complexity from taking amazing looking time-lapse-style videos.

High-quality time-lapse videos often require rigs, dollies, and tri-pods, not to mention expensive cameras. But using some interesting image stabilization techniques, the Instagram team developed a way to compensate for the photographer’s shaky grip, resulting in an impressive picture that’s clean and smooth.

Of course, our design team couldn’t wait to try it out, so we created a hyper lapse of our office space and surrounding neighbourhood.

Hyperlapse created by: Wil Arndt, Daryl Claudio, James Byun

So… what’s our verdict?

First of all, it’s fun and impressive. It’s easy-to-use and lets you take great personal videos you can share on Instagram.

From a professional standpoint, while it’s not quite the same quality as a high-grade camera, it’s a great tool for prototyping and rapid experimentation. We can see it used for test shots, scouting locations, and making high-quality proof-of-concepts before bringing in the expensive production equipment.

We’re really looking forward to seeing the Instagram community take hold of the technology and run with it. Our prediction: Expect interesting things.

George Kronberg

George is keen on proper coding practices, code craftsmanship and well-established process. He’s worked with high-traffic sites and services, .NET stack technologies and modern front-end technologies. Prior to joining the ThoughtFarmer team, he worked on the Kobo eReader team.

George graduated from the St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University in Russia with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. He’s worked as a Flash developer, a .NET developer, and even a photographer. Outside of work, George enjoys flying small aircraft, taking pictures, and woodworking.

George Kronberg's Full Profile

Michael Hubele

As Software Developer, Michael brings his experience working with technologies ranging from Windows form applications to web development. Prior to joining ThoughtFarmer, Michael worked with a diverse group of clients such as Impark, Intrawest and Mr. Lube while at T4G.

Michael is an honors graduate of BCIT’s Computer Systems Bachelor of Technology program. In his spare time Michael runs a blog about his hobby projects, which currently include developing Windows Phone applications. Outside of technology, Michael likes to spend time with friends and have BBQ’s on the beach in summer.

Michael Hubele's Full Profile

Exploring the Omni-Channel Universe with Universal Analytics

The omni-channel universe is expanding — customers interact with brands in more ways than ever, across a multitude of devices, social channels, mobile apps, loyalty programs, and more. Universal Analytics, the latest iteration of Google Analytics, provides a new level of clarity into these complex customer relationships. Available as a free upgrade to all standard Google Analytics users, Universal Analytics gives you considerably better insight into how users are interacting with your business across multiple devices and channels. We’ll explore key advantages of Universal Analytics and show you how to check which version of Google Analytics your site is currently running.

Google Analytics’s code has changed. Have you?

Your job has likely changed a lot since the last time you updated your Google Analytics code. You have gone from not worrying too much about mobile to making it a top priority in your digital marketing or e-commerce efforts. Offline and online marketing were once two totally separate departments that barely spoke to each other. Now, you are at the centre of the storm trying to co-ordinate omni-channel efforts in the name of a delightful customer experience (like Disney).

Your demands on your Google Analytics implementation may have changed as well. You probably lived with a certain amount of inaccuracy in your visitor counts. Now, you’d really like to understand what is going on as customers traverse your digital marketing universe on every flavour of device. If you haven’t already, it is time to move migration to Universal Analytics up your priority list.

Track the Same User across Multiple Devices

(more…)

Fun Times & Moving Memories at our Gastown Grand Prix Event

gastown_grandprix_2014

Thanks to everyone who came out to our 2014 Gastown Grand Prix event! We’re honoured to have such charming, fun, and interesting people as clients, partners, and friends and we hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did. Also, a big thank you to Global Relay for bringing such a high-quality cycling event to Vancouver, we definitely enjoy our front-row seats.

This year, in addition to candid photos of our guests and the race, we created unique moving images (called cinemagraphs) of the event. Be sure to have a look at the gallery and check them out—you won’t be disappointed. We hope you can make it out next year.

Have a wonderful summer and feel free to get in touch with us at info@OpenRoad.ca if you’re starting up any projects in the fall (or would just like to grab a coffee!)

>>View the Gallery

 

Anne Buchan

Anne is an interactive designer who brings international agency experience to OpenRoad. She works with the creative team on a variety of design projects ranging from web design to motion and branding.

Originally from Ottawa, she studied Graphic Design and Interactive Multimedia at Algonquin College before landing a position with Landor Associates in Hamburg, Germany. While abroad, she was able to work within a variety of projects and industries, including branding and conceptual design for beverages and consumer goods.

Anne is inspired by all that surrounds her and driven by the need to create and explore. From Game of Thrones to an afternoon hockey game, she is pretty much down to watch anything. Don’t hesitate to tell her a joke — her loud and contagious laugh might just catch you off guard.

Anne Buchan's Full Profile

Jacqueline Antalik

Jacqueline Antalik is a Senior User Experience Designer at OpenRoad. With over 12 years of experience in the Web/IT industry Jacqueline has extensive experience working on large mission critical systems along with a strong background in human computer interaction, business and system analysis, information architecture, workplace learning and technology, writing, and consulting.

Prior to joining OpenRoad she spent nine years with TELUS as an interaction design and usability specialist. While there she worked on both internal and external client engagements including with the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Prospera Credit Union, the BC Government, and the Vancouver Canucks. She also fulfilled the Business Analyst role on many of these projects.

Jacqueline has a Communications degree (Psychology minor) from SFU and is also a member of the User Experience Professionals Association. When not working you will find Jacqueline enjoying time with her two young daughters, reading, jogging and catching up on sleep.

Jacqueline Antalik's Full Profile

Meghan Kuntz

As a visual and interactive designer at OpenRoad, Meghan builds on her background in fine arts, interaction design, and user experience to solve design problems on a variety of web platforms and devices. Her flexible skill-set includes creating task-based user flows, interactive wireframes, and HTML/CSS prototypes. Her understanding of front-end technologies allows her to design web experiences that not only engage the user, but are also realistic to develop.

Prior to joining OpenRoad, Meghan came from Idea Rebel and Skyrocket Digital where she worked with clients like the Vancouver Canucks, Quiksilver and Vega. Graduating with honours from BCIT’s New Media Design and Web Development Program, Meghan also holds a BFA in Design Art from Concordia University in Montreal.

Meghan Kuntz's Full Profile

Imagineering the Omni-Channel Experience

magicband_fastPass

At the start of 2014, we called cross channel experiences a major trend to watch. While cross channel remains important, we are seeing an evolution to omni-channel experiences. Omni-channel focuses on creating a consistent experience across all customer touch-points, where cross-channel is often limited to only a portion of the experience. Disney is a great example of the “magic” that happens when a true omni-channel experience is delivered.

Historical Limitations of Cross-channel

One cross-channel strategy may focus only on the digital channel. It ensures the digital experience works across all browser and operating system platforms, various screen sizes, and device types. While this is a worthy effort, it leaves out all of the other channels a customer may come in contact with such as in-store and call centres. Another cross-channel strategy tries to ensure a consistent experience via branding and information provided across all physical and digital touch points. Again a worthy and important effort, but still short of a truly omni-channel experience.

Omni-channel

Omni-channel concentrates on delivering seamless experiences through all available touch points with a product or service via mobile internet devices, computers, brick-and-mortar locations, television, radio, direct mail, catalog and so on. Customers expect every interaction with a brand to be integrated through their journey of discovery, research, purchase and support. Planning and executing an omni-channel strategy is a way to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Omni-channel experiences strive to seamlessly weave digital and physical touch points together across all channels, allowing customers to achieve their goals whenever and however best suits them. Omni-channel experiences are frictionless in that they can start on one device or channel and be quickly and easily completed on another channel or device without having to start over or backtrack. Omni-channel strategies strive to enhance physical channels with digital augmentation and ensure digital experiences have appropriate physical analogues so no digital divides exist and so customers can operate in their channel of choice.

Disney’s Omni-Channel User Experience

Disney's website at desktop, tablet and mobile phone sizes

Disney’s website at desktop, tablet and mobile phone sizes

Lets look at how Disney is delivering omni-channel experiences for visitors to Walt Disney World. The experience typically starts at disney.com, a responsive website that works across device types: computer, tablet and smartphone. Even their trip planning site is optimized for the mobile device.

Once a trip is booked to Walt Disney World Florida, guests can use My Disney Experience to book in-park dining reservations and plan FastPass experiences. FastPass allows park guests to skip lines for three attractions per day. Using the My Disney Experience smartphone app in the park, guests can check and change their FastPass choices and check other attraction wait times while on the go.

These innovations make for fun trip planning and theme park experiences, but Disney is truly forging new omni-channel experiences with their MagicBand program. The MagicBand is a wristband embedded with short-range RFID and long range Bluetooth technologies. It’s an opt-in system so guests control how much personal information they share with the park. The more information guests share, the more customized theme park experience they receive. For example, in Disney resort hotels, MagicBands are used as room keys. Just tapping your wristband unlocks the door. Guests can also order food with their wristbands at Disney restaurants and food carts.

MagicBand RFID wristbands

MagicBand RFID wristbands

MagicBands also integrate with FastPass and PhotoPass systems. Once set up, you can walk to the front of an attraction line, tap your wrist, and on you go. If your picture is taken with a Disney character by a park photographer, they will scan your MagicBand and your photos will be available online for purchase later. The old PhotoPass system for purchasing photos online involved manual data entry by the user, whereas the new experience is virtually seamless.

The park experience feels “frictionless” with the use of MagicBands, My Experience apps and FastPass. The best parts of the Disney park experience are made better via subtle digital enhancement. There is something magical about skipping to the front of the line to have your child’s picture taken with a beloved Disney character and then conveniently ordering the photos online later.

This is both an example of an existing omni-channel experience, as well as the current high water mark for experiences that move between the physical and digital.

MagicBand integration with Disney's PhotoPass system

MagicBand integration with Disney’s PhotoPass system

Summary

When relentlessly focusing on the quality of the experience you are delivering, you have to look at all of your customer touch points to deliver seamless experiences choreographed between all channels, physical and digital.

The first step to creating omni-channel experiences is to create a strong strategy focused on customer needs. This is accomplished through research, culminating in a Customer Journey Map. A journey map depicts the step-by-step interactions a user has through all of the touch points with your product or service. Once completed, this design artifact helps key decision makers identify opportunities for improvement or differentiation that can help drive the strategy.

Once identified, opportunities can be worked out through storyboarding and refined via service or experience prototypes; these prototyping methods involve users in simulations so the end experience can be evaluated and modified if necessary before actually launching the enhancements. Simulations can be done in a lab-like environment but it is strongly encouraged to do a limited live run to verify what impact external factors not possible to verify in the laboratory have on user perception and experience. This was the approach taken by Disney with their MagicBands: look at the customer journey; identify pain points and opportunities; design, test and iterate.

OpenRoad's Trevor Allen and his family gave MagicBands a spin

OpenRoad’s Trevor Allen and his family gave MagicBands a spin