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Fun Times & Moving Memories at our Gastown Grand Prix Event

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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

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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

BC Hydro

Best-of-Both-Worlds Mobile Experience

BC Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation with a mandate to generate, purchase, distribute and sell electricity.

About the Project

With the increasing trend in mobile usage, the experience for BC Hydro customers on small screen devices is very important to the company. Although they had a specialized mobile site, a review of their analytics found that many mobile visitors were clicking through to the full desktop site. This indicated the mobile site was not fully servicing their needs. It was time to redefine the mobile strategy. OpenRoad’s User Experience (UX) team was engaged to provide a solution that helps BC Hydro customers find the information they are looking for on mobile quickly and easily.

The Small Screen Challenge

The main BC Hydro website has a lot of content – over 2000 pages in total. When translating large content-rich sites into mobile experiences, the design team is faced with two challenges. First, which content do you prioritize for viewing? Second, how do you make that content accessible on a small touch interface? With a minimal amount of screen space and clumsy thumbs, the mobile site must be designed to be both useful and usable.

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Initial Interaction Design Concepts

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Battlefield 4

Multi-Channel Engagement. One Log-in.

For video gaming giant Electronic Arts, the launch of a new title like Battlefield 4 impacts over 20 million players worldwide. Creating promotional campaigns that reach that massive audience and integrate with their platform of choice isn’t just as simple as covering desktop, mobile, and tablet preferences – it also extends to the xBox gaming platform and gaming user profiles.ea-bf4-slimjim

It’s obvious in today’s digital landscape that consumers want an easy and seamless way to log-in across multiple devices. But, how do brands measure the impact of the multi-channel and multi-phase campaigns?

EA teamed up with Axe Body Spray (a product of Unilever) and Slim Jim (a product of ConAgra), to promote the launch of their large-scale warfare game Battlefield 4. OpenRoad helped EA not only connect their main EA gamer profile system to the promotions sites, but also helped measure the promotions across campaign phases and devices. (more…)

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Emily Carr’s Big Idea Gala: Supporting the Future of Design in BC

Congratulations to Emily Carr University of Art and Design on their launch of The Big Idea capital campaign!

The campaign aims to raise the $25 million needed for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art Emily Carr University campus at Great Northern Way. Creativity is a vital resource to the British Columbia economy, and Emily Carr University hopes that the new campus will become part of the province’s economic, social, cultural, and educational engine.

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From left to right: Wil Arndt, Creative Director; Darren Gibbons, President; Gordon Ross, Vice President

As supporters of BC’s design community, we were honoured to attend and sponsor their Red Carpet Gala to kick off the campaign. The high-profile evening included red carpet photos, an opportunity to learn more about the project, yum-mazing oysters, and a sneak peek of the freshest art and design projects at The Show (Emily Carr’s annual grad celebration).

Our Creative Director, Wil Arndt—an Emily Carr University graduate, former design program teacher, and current alumni board member—says, “The creative industry is flourishing in Vancouver thanks to institutions like Emily Carr. As usual, I was impressed with the high levels of sophistication and insight at the design show this year. These students are bringing innovation, creative thinking, and determination to some big design problems.”

Congrats to Emily Carr University and a shout out to Reliance Properties for donating a generous $7 million to kick off the campaign. We encourage you to get involved by donating to their FundRazr Campaign (donations start as low as $5).

Julie Robinson

As the Office Manager of OpenRoad, Julie Robinson gets to wear many hats (hard hat, birthday party, and Santa’s elf to name a few). The role requires being able to deftly shift gears throughout the day. Administrative duties, weekly reporting, bookkeeping, coordination of staff events, and managing employee contracts are a few of the responsibilities that Julie has her fingerprints on. Julie will always welcome you to the OpenRoad office with a big smile and she has a contagious laugh that can be heard throughout the office.

Prior to OpenRoad, Julie leveraged her education from Capilano University and UBC to work in the public and private sectors in various positions including Office Supervisor, Sales Team Administrator, Human Resources Coordinator and as a Guest Relations Manager.

Away from the office, Julie spends her time by maintaining a regular yoga practice and going on her favourite hikes.

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Robin Percy

Robin is a full-stack developer with experience in Java / Spring, Groovy / Grails, Python / Django, and Node.js. Beyond being a highly proficient and experienced software developer, Robin adds significant value to projects through his teamwork and communication skills. He is an expert at collaborating with projects teams to flawlessly executive and continuously improve team processes. Clients really appreciate Robin’s ability to communicate complex technical ideas in an easy-to-understand way that relates to their business goals and objectives.

Robin started his career in the DSL and cable industries, developing real-time provisioning and diagnostics software for ISPs that serve over a million subscribers.  Most recently, he has worked with Vancouver-area startups in building platforms to rapidly bring mobile and web-based products to market.

Robin has a Bachelors Degree in Computer Information Systems from the University of the Fraser Valley. When not in front of a computer you can find Robin in the gym or cycling.

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