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The Secret Door - Retrospective

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Bryan James

Senior Interactive Designer

I'm sure that by now, if you are following this blog and Epiphany in general, that you have probably heard of our Secret Door piece, completed for our client Safestyle UK.

As with any business in any industry, assessing what made a project successful is an important part of our processes so that we can do better in the future.

In the case of the Secret Door, this has been a bit of a tough one to crack. It has succeeded in it's objective of gaining exposure for our client, but the social side of things was impossible to predict and so becomes quite hard to analyse.

Of course we thought it would do well, but we didn't realise that they public would react in such a dynamic and interesting way. We can say all the cliches like people enjoy engaging in a new idea or spin of an idea, but I want to talk about one specific part which I believe both led to it's success and that we can actually learn from and repeat.

The problem with focusing on 'it was the idea' or 'it was an experience' is that, while that may be true, it's not as if we don't try to do this in every project. Thinking of new ideas is part of our nature and if we aren't trying to do that, there's something wrong.

I wish to focus on the fact that the piece was 'randomised'. I don't mean technically either. The randomisation of locations led users into feeling that they were creating their very own experience. A lot of people on Twitter and forums shared the images they'd taken of where they had found. Others would then do likewise, creating a community aspect - which we didn't predict. By randomising it, every user - probably ever - had a different journey to somebody else.

Within the digital realm, this makes for a very individualized piece which in turn gives a user a certain aspect of feeling 'special'. We believe this is a rare thing on the internet. The most popular sites out there, realistically you can see that you follow a certain order or process, by that I mean that you know you are seeing what everybody else is.

If you make someone feel real, like they are not simply typing and clicking at a computer, then you have broken a thick wall and have the potential to provoke a special response in return.

So, not so much because of randomisation, but we can generate a lot of feedback and interaction from users if we 'pull them out' from their computer screens and into a reality that doesn't exist.

I believe there is more to take from this than 'do a good idea', because it is a focused thing you can repeat for maybe half of the creative projects you do.

Here's to that!

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Bryan James Senior Interactive Designer

Bryan is a multidisciplinary designer of five years experience in offline and online marketing. He likes to look at a range of different types of work from around the world, to influence Epiphany's digital output in a variety of ways and has worked at Epiphany since 2011.