At the time Celtic's home Celtic Park had just been equipped with one of the most advanced stadium Wi-FI systems around the world and among the firsts in Europe. All was set but in this remarkable and highly technological infrastructure there was one missing piece...
This piece should be the key in connecting the brand, the stadium's technology and the fans in order to revolutionise the way these communicate in the most exciting day of football, the match day. How could we enhance and add real value to the experience of a football fan whilst in stadium? How the brand (Celtic in this case) could use its most powerful brand asset (the stadium) to innovate and engage the fan, especially in times where home entertainment standards have been improved in a level that can strongly compete the live experience? How could we learn from the fan's behaviour and improve the services that are offered to them?
These were just some of the questions that we set to ourselves as key drivers to create something unique for its time.
Winning the business
During this stage alongside with my Creative Director I was leading the creative deliverables and the design strategy for the proposition we developed in order to win this pitch.
Convergent thinking was the way to go forward at this stage. Various concepts and ideas has been developed ,free from any technical or business constraints at this stage, using "What if..." thinking we approached the challenge creatively. Additionally, blue sky thinking workshops and brainstorming techniques were applied for a better creative outcome.
During discovery phase different types of fans have been analysed in order to understand their unique characteristics and expectations. Having a wide understanding of these characteristics led to a deeper understanding of the shared values and needs.
Additionally, it was highly recognised that emotion plays a pivotal role whenever you design for a football fan. Having this in mind, the main factors that can influence fans' emotions have been identified. These insights have been uncovered in order to influence the design decisions throughout the product's design life cycle.
The best way to understand your user is to become one.
Through my own initiatives and the client's good understanding I had the privilege to experience first hand of how is to be a Celtic fan, share the experience, observe and empathise.
The research has been conducted in two different scenarios: 1) A friendly match as an away fan, 2) A Champion's League match as a home fan. The aim was to identify and understand any significant differences on emotional behaviour, fan's needs, expectations and habits in terms of stadium context and level of match importance.
The research findings has been gathered through informal field interviews and participation in joint activities. They have been documented via a notebook and a camera.
Later the research findings had to be analysed and presented in a way that could easily be understood by all the project stakeholders and the team.
An experience mapping framework has been developed to best showcase the research findings, consisted of all the different journey stages. This framework would also reflect on what users Do, Feel, Think throughout their journey. The framework was modified to show whether existing technology enhance the fan experience.
Developing a creative moodboard is a great way to get a real feel of the brand and the user you design for. In addition, it helps a designer to decide on which direction should the design decisions be targeted.
The moodboard for Celtic Live was mainly a mix of Celtic's fans personas and photos taken from inside the stadium including architectural elements, signage, textures and graphic design styles.
Defining the Experience
The consequence of a solid and insightful discovery phase should be the definition of key principles thus moving into convergent thinking stage. During this stage the following design principles have been recognised and agreed:
1. SECOND SCREEN EXPERIENCE
The experience of this app should be complimentary to the primary experience which is the live "physical" stadium experience. Our solution should be designed in a way that does not conflict or imitate but instead enrich and add value to the live experience.
2. EASY NAVIGATION
By understanding the context of a stadium, the navigation and interaction with the app should be as easy as being "transparent" to the user. Thoughtful content grouping, large hit areas, "snackable" human made content, intuitive user interface were defined as "must haves" in order to fulfil this design principle.
3. FLEXIBLE DESIGN
Various design templates needed to be designed in ways that would benefit the user but also give the flexibility to the business to reach their audience in the most meaningful way. These templates should cater for editorial, media, polling, statistics and social content.
Developing the experience
I find that simple pen and paper is still one of the best ways to communicate your ideas and concepts at the initial stages of development. Sketching provides a high level visualisation that sets the right expectations while leaving enough space for conversations and further ideation progress.
Different design techniques best serve different design needs.
Animations and HCI needs cannot be fully served by static sketches and scamps. For this project After Effects and prototyping tools such as Pop has been used to provide a better feel of the experience we wanted to achieve.
Wireframes & Functional Specs
Wireframes is a trusted technique to provide more high-fidelity prototyping that would help all stakeholders to better understand the decisions made, regarding information architecture, navigation flow, technical requirements and app behaviour. Moreover, wireframing provides enough flexibility for decisions to change and evolve over time.
Visualising the experience
CelticLive app has managed to gain the following awards so far:
Best app for Fans award
Sports Technology Awards
The app was launched at the start of the season and immediately started to engage fans. The unique proposition within the Celtic Stadium resulted in the top accolade, at the Sports Technology Awards 2014, with the app winning the “Best app for Fans” award.
Best Achievement – Marketing
The European Club Association (ECA)
"Celtic FC has developed a fully functioning High Density Wi-Fi network, coupled with a tailor-made mobile application that delivers fans a live content rich smartphone experience purposefully built to enhance the match day experience. Through this initiative, Celtic FC has proved that it is possible to combine the dual challenge of establishing a full stadium Wi-Fi network and a match day accompanying App, responding to the needs of both fans and brand partners...."