2021 Finalists

Recognizing the elegance, clarity, innovation, impact, and emotion in the experiences we create.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their work, and to our judges for their diligence in the evaluation process. We look forward to announcing the winners of each category at the Awards Gala on November 18th! Get your tickets now to join us and celebrate great UX work and practitioners in Vancouver!

UX for Product

Digital products play an essential role in our everyday lives. We monitor our health, finances, or happiness, use digital apps and services to make our lives easier, connect with others, and to make intentional decisions about our behaviour. This award honours the incredible BC-based products whose digital experiences enrich and engage across a broad spectrum of domains. 

SPONSORED BY: Brainstation

FORM Athletica (Winner)

Swimming is a solitary and often isolating sport. The vast majority of swimmers practice their sport alone, and there's usually no one to hold them accountable to swimming a certain distance, nor anyone to encourage them or cheer them on. Guided workout experiences in other sports (e.g. Peloton) have been successful in large part because they help users feel like they are accountable to someone—even if they will never meet that person. They provide motivation throughout the workout, and celebrate the user's achievements. 

FORM set out to provide this support to swimmers through FORM Workouts, a subscription-based, guided swim workout experience, delivered through the FORM Goggles. Workouts helps users feel like they are accountable to someone, simply by guiding them through a workout, but more importantly, the in-goggles experience provides encouragement throughout the swim, and congratulates users when they complete a swim—celebrating their achievement. Users can also see the workouts that their friends in the app have done, which adds to the sense of community in the app, as it highlights potential shared experiences. During beta testing and since launch, FORM is hearing from users that they're enjoying their swimming workouts, looking forward to them more, and are pushing themselves harder in their swim sessions. 

To speak to the tech, the smart goggles display workout instructions and real-time metrics via an augmented reality display in the lens—enabled by the FORM app. The goggles have an onboard accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, and can provide real-time performance metrics to swimmers via a built-in augmented reality display. Swimmers can record their swim activity with the goggles and sync their data to the FORM mobile app via Bluetooth. In the FORM app they can analyze their swims, reviewing dozens of metrics for every set, interval, or individual pool length. 

Livshows

Livshows allows creatives to express themselves and explore new channels to produce content and help them better communicate to their audience. For the team at Livshows, accessibility has been a driving force in all work. A team with diverse backgrounds in the creative industry, they've recognized how complex it can be to create and publish augmented reality experiences with traditional tools. It was a huge barrier to adoption for content creators, artists, designers, and brands. The goal of Livshows AR Builder was to make the creation of AR experiences effortless and intuitive.

Enchant Christmas

Since its founding in 2016 in Vancouver, Enchant has been creating guest experience magic with its larger-than-life-light maze installations. During these years, Enchant has been rapidly growing and expanding its live events business into the US with installations in major commercial projects and MLB stadiums across the country. The future in early 2020 seemed promising at Enchant, with major contracts and projects all over North America, but as you know, COVID happened.

With all the events cancelled (4 US events), the Enchant team decided to explore their capabilities and expand their notion of immersive experiences into the digital realm. With innovation and experimentation as premises, the team started planning a way to still provide a safe and socially distant Enchant Christmas experience. The idea matured and became Enchant Santa Calls (an app to be someone’s Santa). The Enchant team's adventurous and innovative spirit pushed them to create something that no one had ever done or tried. Five months before Christmas, Enchant Santa Calls was just an idea, and during Christmas time, thousands of families and individuals used the Enchant Santa Calls to video call their loved ones.

The app was very well received by families as they were able to celebrate the winter festive time with their loved ones during COVID—over 40,000 people use our application. Kids loved it and thousands of childhood memories were created. The best part, the Santa knew the kids so well in conversations, and the kids were just mesmerized that they were talking to Santa in real.

 

UX for Good

Non-profit organizations fill a unique and vital space in the Lower Mainland. Great user experiences are essential to improving the way non-profits work with their partners, communities, and stakeholders. This award recognizes charities and foundations, social campaigns, professional associations, and public sector enterprises. Entrants should demonstrate how they’ve created a user experience that helps a non-profit organization achieve its goals and/or serve its members.

SPONSORED BY: EY  

Spatial Research and Design (Winner)

Spatial Research and Design partnered with YWCA Vancouver who wanted to redesign their website to better position themselves as a driver of change in pursuit of social and economic equality for women. 

The design needed to take into consideration a diverse set of business objectives – making programs for women and families more accessible, supporting a range of marketing campaigns and events, and inspiring action by bringing the YWCA's programming, advocacy and impact to the forefront. And of course, it also needed to take into consideration a diverse audience with a range of usage contexts, and ensure the design adhered to principles of inclusivity and accessibility standards. 

Spatial's design solution included a discovery phase and a design phase. Discovery was based on a design thinking methodology that was grounded in research, brought stakeholders together to co-create and align on a vision for success, and enabled the team to gather and prioritize requirements that were focused on delivering maximum value to YWCA's audience groups.

Design was a human centred, iterative process that gave YWCA’s internal team the opportunity to provide input on the UX design and visual design along the way, and that also incorporated user testing to validate design approaches. The final design approach also took into consideration updating the YWCA Fitness Centre and YWCA Hotel sites – aligning them from a brand perspective while addressing different user needs and journeys and functional elements within those sites.

Apply Digital

Building on donor insights, Apply Digital redesigned the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (PMCF) website to tackle a high bounce rate, improve engagement, streamline the user experience, and increase donations. This was enabled by a revised content strategy, brand, CMS, and UX/UI strategy.

The redesigned PMCF website is influenced by donor research and journey maps, developed with an editorial feel, and visually unified across every aspect of the website and third-party portals. By building a collateral library of templates and components on the CMS platform, Kentico, content can be easily added and designed by the PMCF team. This templatization also gives the website structure and makes it easy to navigate which enhances the user experience and ensures that the most compelling content is front and center. The Apply team encouraged the PMCF to write content for the digital form, combining personal and inspiring stories with real-world context to research. This ensured that each piece of content had earned its keep and could drive donation initiatives. At the end of the day, the PMCF’s role in cancer research and how people can make a difference in someone’s life was paramount to the whole project, and Apply ensured that impact was at the forefront.

Drawingroom DesignKey Pointe Consulting, and Epigram Content Strategy

The Inclusive Workplace is the first Canadian website designed to help people with autism or an intellectual disability find good jobs. Accessible, usable, and useful, the site is a valuable resource for inclusive hiring during COVID-19 and beyond.

The team designed an online resource to promote inclusive hiring in Canada during COVID-19 and beyond. Funded by the Government of Canada, the site was conceived to help Canadian businesses meet labour shortages during COVID-19 and beyond by tapping into the benefits of hiring inclusively. Currently, more than 500,000 working age adults in Canada who are on the autism spectrum or with an intellectual disability are unemployed or underemployed.

The team tailored the site design, interaction, and content to the needs of three distinct target audiences:

1. Job seekers and employees with autism or an intellectual disability
2. Employment agencies that support people with autism or an intellectual disability
3. Businesses that want to start or expand inclusive hiring practices.

The first of its kind in Canada, the site features more than 100 free and bilingual community-developed multimedia resources, including eLearning courses, guides, and other timely information. The resources cover a broad spectrum of practical topics, from understanding the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace to preparing for a video conference job interview.

 

UX for Commerce

This is for commercial websites, e-commerce, B2B, contests, and marketing-driven campaigns. Your users are the audiences you seek to inform, guide, influence and/or sell to —and your submission shares this story with us. This category requires that submissions are or were live during the past year (October 2020 to 2021) and include metrics that matter and can demonstrate their impact. 

Aequillibrium (Winner)

To bring DUCA's new website and banking platform to life, Aequillibrium partnered with their platform partner, Central 1, who is responsible for the Forge Experience Manager banking platform. This partnership helped DUCA to not only elevate their digital experience, but deliver simple, consistent, and intuitive member and employee experiences across all channels, while enabling DUCA to differentiate and grow market share.

The new DUCA website is easier to navigate, more accessible, and widens capabilities both for DUCA and members. Through the project, the team removed 80% of pages and increased its DCI by 15.9 points. It all adds up to a site that lets members do more, be more, achieve more.

AutoTrader

When you go to a dealership and test drive a potential vehicle for 15 minutes, is that enough time to decide whether or not you want to purchase it? In most cases, the answer to that question is, "No, I wish I had more time." When making such a large and serious purchase, we all want to experience a vehicle fully and know what it would feel like to own that car. So, driving it around near the dealership for 15 minutes is simply not going to provide that experience.

That is where AutoTrader comes into the picture. The AutoTrader team cares about their consumers and making their vehicle purchasing experience as pleasant, simple, and convenient as possible! That's why they created the Try Before You Buy experience, allowing a user to test drive a vehicle for 48 hours from the comfort of their own home. The vehicle is delivered right to a customer's driveway for free, and if they love it, they keep it. It's as simple as that.

This experience makes it possible to purchase a vehicle without ever having to leave your home. In times of Covid, this is incredibly important to some to reduce risk and increase safety against the virus. In addition, Covid has rapidly changed consumers' online shopping habits, and this applies to vehicles as well.

The team at AutoTrader is making it possible to test drive a vehicle from your home by completing three simple online steps.

TELUS

TELUS' bundle builder gives customers the ability to tinker and explore their options online, before purchase.

Through early research, the TELUS team learned about customer pain points, bundling behaviour, and how they could go about creating a better bundling experience for customers. Leveraging this behavioural research, the team structured the solution to give varying user types the information they needed at the right moments—the cards give a quick glimpse at important specs, while the modals help users dive deeper into details, and instant feedback enables users to explore options and compare pricing with clarity and confidence into what they'll be paying. The TELUS team also focused on implementing a consistent visual language with a focus on meaningful interactions. From the structure of plan cards to the selection patterns, users are helped to achieve their goal of selecting the products they need for their homes. And, the solution's experience aligns with customer mental models by giving them the ability to tinker, and encouraged exploration by showcasing their options in a simple, clear experience.

By way of continuous testing, TELUS was able to ensure the experience worked for users, and have seen an increase in engagement and record-breaking conversation rates since launch. 


UX by Students

Student projects help to remind the rest of us of what’s possible. This award celebrates the work done in courses, extra-curricular activities, or portfolio projects—provided the solutions were not designed for commercial purposes. To submit for this award applicants must have been registered at a B.C. post-secondary institution during the 2020-2021 academic year.

SPONSORED BY: Best Buy Canada

Nhi Nguyen, Marielle Wall, Julia Yee (Simon Fraser University) (Winner)

SmartExplorer is an app that helps hikers discover new trails and plan their hikes while staying safe. It was built together with North Shore Rescue Team to help combat the rising calls to Search & Rescue. Unlike other hiking apps, SmartExplorer prioritizes the hiker.

To accomplish this, the student team researched the problem and conducted interviews with hikers and the rescue team. After finalizing the details, the team created wireframes, prototypes, and conducted user testings.

Chenjie Whatley, Joyce Xiao, Lan Wang, Mary Wilson, Ulisses D'Avila (Centre for Digital Media)

Digitales aims to facilitate storytelling for a young audience, allowing them to lead their own learning experience in an engaging way. The pandemic has certainly affected everyone in different ways and, at some point, we have all felt pretty isolated. The Digitales app has the power to solve this disconnect by helping young learners better engage in storytelling by sharing, capturing visual elements to implement in their stories, and collaborating with other users. The skill of good storytelling is not innate, and it takes practice.

Entering the project, the team was familiar with the idea that younger users can get easily frustrated if an interaction isn’t playing out like they assumed it would. It was, therefore, important to prioritize clarity of information through branding, font, and the overall copy. Rather than spending time on a steep learning curve due to the complex information, the team wanted users to craft stories with little guidance. When users enter the app, they are met with bright, high contrasting colors and bold sans serif font. As they scroll through the experience and transition between pages, key signifiers indicate what each page will mean, but with a playful twist (e.g. a rocketship for the explore page). Overall, the child-friendly UI makes for an elegant user experience as it facilitates easy interactions enabling them to focus on storytelling.

Digitales was designed to use storytelling as a tool to reinforce storytelling as a skill to achieve latent learning. Each user is supported through the various steps of adding assets using pop-up tips, a concept referred to as scaffolding by education experts. There is no overt incentive to create one’s own story or memorize any information. However, knowing that there are positive reinforcements to be gained in the form of receiving a good rating and a reward for one’s performance is motivation in itself. The challenge of completing the task with a visible outcome and sharing their creation with others offers some incentive and further reinforces their ownership of that creation.

Akram Shaban

94+ is a website that serves to facilitate action on truth and reconciliation in Canada by tracking progress on the TRC's 94 Calls to Action. The name is intentionally 94+, with the 'plus' indicating how the impact of implementing the C2As would be far reaching and go beyond the confines of 'ticking boxes.' 

While the C2As are central to progress in Canada, many Canadians are unaware of them, and those who are aware are unsure where to start. How many of the C2As have been implemented? What are the most pressing of those issues? Who is currently involved in addressing them? What can and should I do? 94+ aims to answer these and many more questions by taking the complexity surrounding each C2A, and placing it in a historical and a contemporary context. Therefore, the tracker doesn't merely list the C2As, but offers a sophisticated tracking methodology, backgrounders, expert analysis, news, and timelines that situate the issues being expressed. Heavy and dense information is not simplified, but rather broken into absorbable pieces that readers can comprehend at their own pace.

Each C2A has a complex context surrounding it, which can make progress difficult to assess. Labels such as ‘in progress’ have been utilized to represent C2As that are being worked on. However, a cursory look at the history of many C2As with such a label reveals that they are in fact ‘stalled’. Moreover, several C2As require annual renewal. Some are falsely labeled as ‘complete’ even when there’s a failure of yearly commitment. Current trackers do not adequately take into account changes in status. Therefore visitors of existing trackers are given a false sense of the problem.

The C2As on 94+ are tracked by creating dedicated profiles, where each one is graded, summarized, and explained by expert analysts. The grading methodology makes use of words such as ‘sufficient progress’, ‘little progress’, ‘stalled’, and ‘no progress’. These terms are qualitative in nature, and they are meant to imply variability. These labels are accompanied by an ‘actions history’ for each C2A, which indicates how progress has changed over time. These two features work together to address the problem of accurately conveying to visitors exactly how the progress is going, and how long the current status update has been in effect.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their work, and to our judges for their diligence in the evaluation process. We look forward to announcing the winners of each category at the Awards Gala on November 18th! Get your tickets now to join us and celebrate great UX work and practitioners in Vancouver!

Best UX

FORM Athletica 

Swimming is a solitary and often isolating sport. The vast majority of swimmers practice their sport alone, and there's usually no one to hold them accountable to swimming a certain distance, nor anyone to encourage them or cheer them on. Guided workout experiences in other sports (e.g. Peloton) have been successful in large part because they help users feel like they are accountable to someone—even if they will never meet that person. They provide motivation throughout the workout, and celebrate the user's achievements. 

FORM set out to provide this support to swimmers through FORM Workouts, a subscription-based, guided swim workout experience, delivered through the FORM Goggles. Workouts helps users feel like they are accountable to someone, simply by guiding them through a workout, but more importantly, the in-goggles experience provides encouragement throughout the swim, and congratulates users when they complete a swim—celebrating their achievement. Users can also see the workouts that their friends in the app have done, which adds to the sense of community in the app, as it highlights potential shared experiences. During beta testing and since launch, FORM is hearing from users that they're enjoying their swimming workouts, looking forward to them more, and are pushing themselves harder in their swim sessions. 

To speak to the tech, the smart goggles display workout instructions and real-time metrics via an augmented reality display in the lens—enabled by the FORM app. The goggles have an onboard accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, and can provide real-time performance metrics to swimmers via a built-in augmented reality display. Swimmers can record their swim activity with the goggles and sync their data to the FORM mobile app via Bluetooth. In the FORM app they can analyze their swims, reviewing dozens of metrics for every set, interval, or individual pool length. 

Honorable Mention

Livshows

Livshows allows creatives to express themselves and explore new channels to produce content and help them better communicate to their audience. For the team at Livshows, accessibility has been a driving force in all work. A team with diverse backgrounds in the creative industry, they've recognized how complex it can be to create and publish augmented reality experiences with traditional tools. It was a huge barrier to adoption for content creators, artists, designers, and brands. The goal of Livshows AR Builder was to make the creation of AR experiences effortless and intuitive.