Out & About: Old Navy’s Interactive Floor

I’m a sucker for cheap clothes, especially for the kids!  So it was that my wife and I found ourselves in Old Navy, first to do a quick walk through but inevitably got sucked in for about an hour worth of shopping.  (I didn’t find anything for me, but we found great deals for everyone else in the family.)  As we were looking through the kids section, I stumbled (literally) upon this interactive floor projection.

This is the first time I’ve reviewed a gesture-only-based experience, so let’s see how she does.

Purpose – From what I saw, the main purpose of this experience was to keep kids occupied.  I’ve seen these “in a box solutions” (I think this one is from our friends at GestureTek) before and I think they’re a good idea, but they sure are small (not the box, the interactive “play” area.)  While I was in the store, I did see a few kids playing with it, but not for very long.  Maybe this is a function of content, maybe a function of placement (I’ll get to both later).  I do feel like Old Navy can do more with this, even in terms of advertising, even though the majority of eyeballs seeing it are going to be young kids.  They can certainly draw attention to the cool, new clothes that they’re trying to sell.  The system is set up to be highly interactive, so this sort of content can be worked right into the existing game’s architecture, or even new games.  Instead of kicking around some soccer balls, kick around some polos and cargos.  Or better yet, set up a memory-type game with all of the inventory, and if the kid wins, they win some sort of discount.  Make it flashy and a bit obnoxious so they’ll tell their parents and get them involved.  There’s just got to be more to it than keeping the kids occupied.

Drama – This thing was tucked away under a table in the back of the store.  Granted, the kid’s section was in the back of the store, but I’m not kidding when I say I stumbled upon it.  I don’t know if I would have ever seen it if I wasn’t looking for special sizes behind all of the display clothes that they put in the front of each of the shelves.  These little boxes are a bit awkward, so I understand the need to hide it, but I don’t think placement behind a table does it the type of justice it needs (or maybe it does for this purpose?).  At least put it where the adults can plainly see it so they can push their kids in that direction, just to keep them occupied!

Usability – These floor-based, gesture experiences are hard in this category, even if the experience is simple.  Could I use this?  Yes.  Did I get lost in the experience?  No.  I wish I would have known how long the experience loop was, but I don’t know that it would have kept me there longer.  It didn’t hamper the experience.  The interesting thing about an experience like this – one with no real purpose – the inability to properly use it doesn’t have a huge impact.

Interactivity – You can see by the video, the ball didn’t really do what I wanted it to do.  Maybe I want exact and kids could care less.  It was responsive, just not precise.  Now, when there was no game-play-like interaction (ie – the Old Navy logo), the system reacted just fine.  It produced the ripples that are so fun to produce and I was satisfied.

Information – I just think Old navy could do so much more with this if they wanted to.  It almost seemed like they got everything out of the box, took the most popular games, plugged their logo in, and haven’t paid attention to it since.  I could be way off base, but nothing about the experience seemed purposeful.  They could easily incorporate any of their sales/promotion items, have a little fun with it, get the adults involved to by incorporating some sort of discount or prize.  My thought is that if you’re going to do something like this, use it to benefit your end goal.  There are ways they could use this to drive sales for sure.

Personalization – None.  It would be really cool if this system could hook into the POS system somehow and take information given by the user on the floor to at least synch up with the associates behind the counter.  That’s more of a crazy idea, but integrating with mobile is less crazy and something that makes a lot of sense.  If older kids could text something in to be projected and ultimately “played” with or were able to control elements of games with their mobile phone and their feet – that would be cool.

I was happy to see one of these in an environment where it was actually being used.  I think the “gesture-based-projection/interaction-in-a-box is a fantastic idea, but clearly something that needs to be thought through to have a great impact.

As always, let me know your thoughts on this and anything else.  I’d love to hear from you.

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