Designing a digital product ecosystem

Rip Curl Search

Role

Lead User Experience Architect with VML

Challenge

Create a digital engagement platform to support new consumer watch hardware.

Approach

As part of the team at VML, we took an empirical approach to exploring the consumer technologies of GPS tracking, cloud services and bluetooth syncing that were becoming available at the time in 2014.

There was a design challenge in balancing the quantitative logging capabilities of the service with the opportunity to record the more qualitative experiential elements of surfing. Beyond the primary audience of the core surfer, occasional and beginner surfers with and without the watch were also considered in the solution.

We tested early platform prototypes with a local core team of surfers before expanding to a globally distributed test cohort in later iterations of the prototype.

Result

A digital ecosystem was launched for Rip Curl, complementing the watch with an iOS companion app as well as a web and desktop app.

Watch sales exceeded $10m in the first year of launch and the communications strategy, reviving The Search legacy brand, successfully positioned the watch as a halo product driving sales across the portfolio. The product attracted innovation awards in both the advertising sector (2 x Cannes Lions and a D&AD Yellow Pencil) and the surf industry.