IKEA, a fantastic world
An AR/VR concept proposal for IKEA children’s department
IKEA Greece mainly stands out because of the well-designed and value for money home furniture. If someone is looking to make some affordable changes in their home, IKEA is usually the first place they visit. IKEA has also created a well structured children's department (ages 0-12). The children's furniture, toys, and accessories have good, safe design with accessible prices and good construction quality. The client requested we come up with a way to highlight and promote these features.
The target group for this concept proposal is mainly parents (especially mothers), aged 25 to 49 years who want the best for their kids and they are not familiar with IKEA's children's department quality products. Before generating ideas, we employed our empathy to help us understand our target group's goals, struggles, and thoughts.
In addition to the user personas, we decided it was equally important to create empathy maps in order for our team to understand the prospective users more in depth; What are they thinking and how are they solving their problems? We proceeded to compose empathy maps with users in hypothetical situations. We chose this research method influenced by Paul's Boag article.
We talked about how we not only needed to inform parents of IKEA’s wide range of children's furniture, but also win their trust. To achieve that, we needed to stress the fact that IKEA'S children’s department offers quality, built for durability products. We proceeded to create a playful web platform called "Surviving with Kids". We personified some IKEA children's furniture/items and wrote testimonials of how they managed to endure whatever the kids threw their way. Parents could have found this platform funny and gotten information on the products (safety, quality, price ecc.) at the same time. Another idea we discussed was to make a web platform which would show a "Museum of IKEA's Children’s Furniture". It could be a different way to, indirectly, highlight the durability of the products.
After considering and reviewing many different ideas, we realized that we must relate to parents. We wanted to bring out a nostalgic feeling; What did they, as kids, dream about? Where did their imagination take them? We thought this could be a great way for them to relate to their children better: A fantastic world they can see and reach through their kid's eyes and soul.
Hm... Perfect, but how can we do that? Initially, we thought about using a classic 80's style view-master and create reels with IKEA's stories and products which the parent could explore at his/her own pace. However, this wouldn't have been "live" and fun enough to do in an IKEA store. We deliberated the matter and thought that it would be interesting for visitors to use a Google Cardboard in IKEA's children’s department. Parents visiting the store could experience a small adventure simply by using their smartphone while getting information about IKEA's products for kids at the same time. IKEA could offer a sample Google Cardboard with a smartphone on a stand with instructions, in case a customer would not own a smartphone.
This might not be a pricey AR experience, but we think that a simple VR Cardboard could deliver the results we were looking for. You can see a similar VR process from Demodern.
Designing for AR is something relatively new. We researched many sites, tested with a Google Cardboard, and learned a little bit more about how to design for it. We also had to take Google's design guidelines into consideration. It was important for us to have a clear and neat design and to be able to implement IKEA's brand guidelines too. We made several design decisions and used certain UI elements so as to help the products stand out in a simple, beautiful way; Our concern was to not disturb our user's sight.
Α welcome screen with instructions is essential as users are not familiar with the application and the Cardboard yet.
With the Google Cardboard, the user could explore every IKEA's children's room by selecting objects or changing angles.
By focusing on a particular object, the user/visitor would be able to look at it with "kid's eyes". There would be videos, animation, and other elements the user could interact with.
In this case, looking through the Cardboard, the user pressed the button and selected a children’s bed. He/she is now seeing info on "Castle KURA” instead of just “KURA” which is the furniture’s actual name. He/she is discovering that a simple bed can be a fortress in children’s eyes! Due to the fact that we chose the illustrations to be white, we decided that the products the user sees with “kid's eyes” should have a low opacity light blue background. There would be an adult's product version which would have a plain white background.
By pressing "Learn more" on the previous screen, the user could find out more about the product (durability, suggested age range, safety, tips, ecc.). He/she could continue exploring more products in the room by selecting the "Cancel" button.
In this example, the visitor used the Cardboard on an IKEA's children’s stool (MAMMUT). Children’s imagination could transform this product into a car.
Another example where the user could utilize the Cardboard in an IKEA’s children’s room and see a simple rug turn into a magic carpet as perhaps children do!