“Design a concept that translates the vision and the brand story of Zyror into a physical retail solution suited for a small online brand.”
I conducted extensive desk and field research into the current state of Retail. The relevant insights can be condensed into three main conclusions that formed the base of this concept.
Multiple brainstorm sessions are captured in this Mind Map to bring structure, overview and clarity to the (design) challenge early in the process.
Zyror Target Audience
Zyror will approach the potential customers from three different ‘angles’; Product-, Design- and Inspiration oriented.
The ideal customer archetype is defined as a ‘Zyror personality’, in other words this is what the company would like its customers to be.
The Target Audience is considered extensively when designing the Customer Journeys.
Target Audience Details
This type of customer will be interested in the brand mainly based on the products offered. Most important aspects are; price, exclusivity and the status one gets when owning a Zyror product.
The technical features of the garment are also important.
The way the garment is originated and the amount of thinking behind it, is most important for this type of customer. The design system behind the product is what will bring them to Zyror.
These clients value the opportunity to be heard and have input in the actual design process of the garment.
The third group will identify with the Fictional Worlds Zyror creates to tell the stories upon which the collections are based. These customers will most likely be interested in any product that is inspired by the World of Zyror.
These are the sci-fi lovers, gamers, but also people who have affinity with expressive visuals and strong characters.
Many creative professionals will fall into this category.
User Experience Design
First, the Customer Journeys for each of the intended customer types for Zyror are designed.
These go beyond the interaction with the retail unit and involve the whole brand experience, describing the desired interactions at each touch point from non-awareness to complete engagement.
Which in case of Zyror, is the purchase of the products and participation in Co-Creation.
The sketching phase began only after the interactions in the user experience were clear.
List of Requirements for the Interactive Unit was derived from the design brief, research into the retail and tech possibilities, with the following general requirements:
1 The concept must have an added value for the customer to come to physical space and interact with it
2 The concept should allow individual immersive experience for the customers, which will strengthen the bond with the brand
3 The concept should make it possible to test the fit of the garments
Ideation: Obelisk Direction
After the desired interactions were defined in the Customer Journeys, two main concept directions are explored in the ideation sketching phase.
The concepts here feature a mirror, touch screen and products showcase in various combinations.
Most interactive feature of this direction is the 84-inch multifunctional touch screen. User’s head and eyes position is tracked by a motion tracker mounted on the top of the screen. By knowing where the user’s eyes are, the corresponding portion of the screen is revealed, making it impossible to see the complete movie in one viewing and encouraging the user to re-experience the Story. The screen becomes a window into the World of Zyror.
Additionally, the screen serves as a live web shop and an interface for the Co-Creation of the garments.
The shape of these concepts is inspired by the Exo Dock.
A ‘landscape’ (horizontal oriented) movie is shown on a ‘portrait’ (vertical oriented) screen.
As a result, it is only possible to see a portion of the movie at once and not the whole ‘canvas’.
The corresponding portion of the screen is revealed by tracking the head movement of the viewer.
Ideation: Immersive Direction
The individual experience of brand Story is made immersive with these concepts. Where with the first direction the Interactive Screen functioned as a window to the World of Zyror, here, the Virtual Reality offers a portal into the World of Zyror.
After careful analysis of the requirements and comparison of the both directions with the help of Harris profile, this choice is made to proceed with the Obelisk concept.
Zyror Obelisk is a mobile retail unit that (1) tells the brand story in an interactive way, (2) showcases the products with the possibility to purchase them and (3) gives the opportunity to participate in Co-Creation of the garments.
The name Obelisk refers to the idea of a monolithic pillar from ancient times, mysterious, imposing and full of secrets that are waiting to be discovered.
The underlying construction with all parts is shown here. As the Obelisk is not meant for mass production, the design is kept conceptual with only the general components specified.
The details of the construction will become clear once a manufacturer is found.
Features: Exo Mannequins
Custom mannequins are designed to attract attention to the unit. The aesthetic is derived from an Exo Suit from the first World of Zyror. Each side of the unit will be focused on one gender.
Features: Interactive Screen
An 84 inch UHD (Ultra High Definition, 4k) touch screen is placed on the front side and is the main interaction point with the unit. The content is projected from the PC inside on to the screen.
The screen works in tandem with the body & motion tracking hardware to attract the users and deliver the additional Story experience.
Features: Body Tracking
Once a user is within the reach of the body tracking device, the screen displays the images tailored to that specific user based on their head position. This interaction is designed to give the user the illusion of looking through a portal into the World of Zyror.
To prevent any confusion by the system a marker (active area circle) is placed in front of the Obelisk, so there is no more than one user within the reach of the system at any given time.
Features: Directional Speakers
These speakers are placed on the sides of the screen in front of the Obelisk. Surprise is a big element in attracting the user to the unit, therefore the speaker placement is not accentuated but rather integrated into the body shape of the unit.
This ‘sound flashlight’ can ‘shine’ sound waves into a precise spot. That spot is the active area circle in front of the Obelisk. When someone walks into the sound beam, the ultrasound waves collide, turn back into normal sound and the message can be heard.
Motion detector picks up the presence of a person in the circle and activates the speakers. This message is used to trigger the potential customers to engage in interaction with the screen.
A mirror is placed on the back side of the Obelisk to enable the customers to check the fit of the show models. The mirror has LED lighting integrated on both sides so the user is always lit consistently.
Additionally, the mirror is hinged on one side and provides easy access to the PC inside. A magnetic card lock makes a ‘door’ nub unnecessary.
Features: Product Show Models
One of the reasons the customers will visit the Obelisk is to feel and try on the garments that will be sold through the web shop. Show models in each size will provide this possibility and will be showcased on a custom built stainless-steel rack with hangers. The hangers will form fit the rack in a way that tilts the garments on an angle, so they are showcased in an array with maximum exposure, but without competing with the mannequins.
The hangers and size indicating letters can be laser cut from the metal and lit with LED lights from inside. The rack will be custom soldered from pipes with a diameter of 32 and 30 mm. Power supply will come from the Obelisk.
The Obelisk in Context
The unit is designed in a way that makes it interesting to approach from every angle. Custom mannequins showcase the fit of the garments on both sides of the unit. Show models in each size provide an opportunity to interact with (feel and try on) the jackets sold via the Obelisk.
The Obelisk Extra Functionality
The front side features a touch screen that makes it possible to experience the brand in an interactive manner, allowing the user to immerse themselves into the world of Zyror. Additionally, the screen offers the opportunity to purchase products and participate in Co-Creation.
A mirror on the back side makes it possible to check the fit of the clothes in controlled lighting conditions.
The design is validated through a survey amongst sixty people. The participants were asked to indicate their associations with the design (physical shape) of the Obelisk.
The goal was to match the associations with the Exo Dock, as it was the inspiration source for the retail unit. This page shows some of the associations and reactions of the participants regarding the intended purpose of the design.
The Obelisk translates the brand story of Zyror in physical retail and adds value through meaningful interaction.
These custom mannequins are inspired by and are a tangible extension of the fictional characters from the first World of Zyror.
The brand is currently in the concept phase.