All Blacks Experience

Defining a new experience service
standard for brand tourism

Background

In 2017, the All Blacks Experience is set to open in the heart of Auckland, New Zealand. A unique visitor attraction with state-of-the-art interactivity. An attraction that will showcase the All Blacks like never before.

The All Blacks experience is an opportunity to learn more about the game, its players, its culture, its history and its place in New Zealand.
- John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

StartJG, working in collaboration with Discovery Partners and New Zealand Rugby, have been planning and designing the environmental, interactive and customer experiences that will make up the attraction.

Challenge

How can we tell a different story about NZR and the All Blacks? How can we lead visitors through the experience in an engaging interactive way? How can we create a connected digital experience that starts from the minute you buy your ticket to long after you leave?

My Role

  • Lead UX at StartJG

Responsibilities

  • Brand tourism research
  • Undercover competitor analysis
  • Ideation workshop sessions
  • Technology feasibility and research studies
  • Activity user testing and analysis
  • Working collaboratively with environmental designer
  • Documentation of required technical inputs and outputs
  • Service blueprinting

Process

I started off by doing desk research into other examples of brand tourism. I discovered that many companies were using the pull of their own brand to create compelling destinations.

Getting out of the office, I spent a few days visiting some of London's best brand attractions. These included the Churchill War Rooms, Arsenal Stadium tour, and Legoland Windsor. I compiled notes and data on the different touchpoints used and how they implemented technology. I tend to use google sheets to keep all my research data in one central location.

I spent time observing the visitors at these attractions and engaged some in undercover conversations to get into the mindset of a brand tourist.

This early research was to prove invaluable when it came to workshopping ideas. It was clear early on that to engage visitors we'd need a strong emotional narrative that incorporated stories and journeys peppered with interactive elements.

Over the next few weeks, the story at the heart of the All Blacks Experience came to life. I worked collaboratively with the ECD and environmental designers, mapping out the vision for the customer and interactive experience.

One design challenge was allowing visitors to actually take part in physical rugby challenges. We wanted them to be able to compare their performance with that of an All Black player.

We hired a warehouse for the day to dry run activities. We needed to understand how compelling different activities might be and determine how long they took and what the operational and environmental concerns might be.

While these tests were a little crude, they allowed us to discover what worked and what didn't. It gave us our first real user feedback at almost no development cost.

Technology is a massive part of the vision for the experience. I've had to explore the feasibility, cost and issues of a large number of technical systems, including RFID wristbands, 3D holograms, goal-line technology and pressure sensors.

For such an in-depth and large scale project being knowledgeable across a range of disciplines and media channels was vital. I had to be able to communicate the ideas with other members of the team and third party vendors.

The main physical output of my work to date has been a range of UX documents. These have helped convey the research findings to the team. I also created a Service Blueprint to show how the various pieces of the experience fit together.

The plan changed a lot so I developed a little script using PDFkit, Node.js and google sheets to render out the designed Blueprints. I'm all for a little upfront coding to bring long-term efficiencies.

Outcome

The attraction is currently in build and development phase. The service blueprint has been an invaluable tool in helping communicate the concept to stakeholders.

In August 2015, the project was announced to the public.