Snowperson Builder

Snowperson Builder

Snowperson Builder

IHG
  –  
12
.
14
.
2018
Many different, colorful options from the Snowperson builder I made showing off the potential of the project.

problem

With holidays fast approaching, the UX Studio at IHG sought to broadcast some holiday cheer and thank our fellow teammates for a wonderful year. But how, and what form should it take?

solution

We designed, built, and marketed a snowperson builder, which allowed users the ability to create a snowperson with more than 3 billion different permutations.

An animated image of a screen that leads to the builder. This screen features the various different snowman accessory options scrolling back and forth on the page.
An animated image of a screen that leads to the builder. This screen features the various different snowman accessory options scrolling back and forth on the page.
An animated image of a screen that leads to the builder. This screen features the various different snowman accessory options scrolling back and forth on the page.
An animated image of a screen that leads to the builder. This screen features the various different snowman accessory options scrolling back and forth on the page.

From Holiday Card to Holiday Experience; Process Learnings from a Snowperson Builder

 At IHG, we put a high value on fun. I an internal list of our teams’ core values, our department head specifically asked that fun be moved from the #8 slot to #1. We channel this heart into all of our experiences big and small; in addition to being functional and fluid, they should also have personality. I’ll walk through how we focused this enthralling, future forward approach and thinking on our 2018 IHG UX Holiday Experience.

An animated snowman with a red hat, gloves, a scarf, and some pixelated snow slowly falling in front of him.
An animated snowman with a red hat, gloves, a scarf, and some pixelated snow slowly falling in front of him.
An animated snowman with a red hat, gloves, a scarf, and some pixelated snow slowly falling in front of him.
An animated snowman with a red hat, gloves, a scarf, and some pixelated snow slowly falling in front of him.

On a holiday mission

On the 26th of November 2018, the UX Studio Manager challenged us to conceptualize a holiday card to distribute to our direct partners as well as the company as a whole. However, as we began to consider our target audience and the what was expected of us as a group, the idea of a card quickly grew into the idea of an experience. Our team was able to refine, ideate, design and build, in house, and extensively test this experience in a meager three weeks time. Working through development speed bumps, tight deadlines, and with a necessitated cohesion of copywriting, design and development, we were able to pull off an experience that exceeded our goals of being a fun, user-driven holiday extravaganza.

An animation of the top of the homepage, featuring pixelated trees, mountains, and snow slowly falling.
An animation of the top of the homepage, featuring pixelated trees, mountains, and snow slowly falling.
An animation of the top of the homepage, featuring pixelated trees, mountains, and snow slowly falling.
An animation of the top of the homepage, featuring pixelated trees, mountains, and snow slowly falling.

No bad ideas

Going into our first meeting, we sought to refine what the goals of this experience were, and more importantly what values it should convey. What we came up with was super relatable:

  • The product should convey a sense of teamwork, gratitude, unity, and fun first, and promote the UX Studio second.
  • Users should walk away from the experience with a sort of takeaway that could be shared and potentially revisited.
  • From beginning to end, a lean as possible final product would lend to a quicker, more successful deliverable

With these core goals established, we could begin pursuing concepts. An animated video, an interactive story, and even a customizable holiday madlib all came out of early discussions. Our third party resource quoted us a build time that would’ve extended past the actual holidays, and so our final product was limited to what our team could create using whatever tools we were experienced with at the time.

In considering our audience, we debated back and forth on just how much freedom we wanted to give our users. Allowing for a user to upload their own background image for the snowman, for example, while a nice customization, could lead to some potentially disturbing snowmen scenarios. And with regards to a madlib, asking users to use their own words could lead to any number of non-work-friendly scenarios. Ultimately, by limiting the autonomy of the users we enabled an overall more safe, manageable site. As such, the snowman builder was landed on conclusively as the de facto direction

This entry is still in development, but you can find and play with the (currently non-operational) Snowperson Builder here.

A screenshot of the snowperson page that the user lands on when they are finished in the builder. Above the snowman is a flashing pixelated marquee which reads "Season's Greetings!"
A screenshot of the snowperson page that the user lands on when they are finished in the builder. Above the snowman is a flashing pixelated marquee which reads "Season's Greetings!"
A screenshot of the snowperson page that the user lands on when they are finished in the builder. Above the snowman is a flashing pixelated marquee which reads "Season's Greetings!"
A screenshot of the snowperson page that the user lands on when they are finished in the builder. Above the snowman is a flashing pixelated marquee which reads "Season's Greetings!"