SIGHTSEE Your Exciting Moments

Sightsee founder and CEO, Cole MacKinnon had a great idea. He wanted to create a platform for users to compete in various challenges throughout the city.

Cole MacKinnon, Sightsee Founder and CEO

These challenges would be hosted by different brands in the city. Users would participate in the challenges and document their experience. They would upload their documented experiences to compete for a grand prize provided by the hosting brands.

Sightsee would then choose and edit the best submission into a promotional video for the participating brand.

Cole believes that businesses, especially small ones, in Vancouver are not creating and marketing themselves effectively with video. But they should. His theory was that the businesses probably don’t have the resources, time or money to produce such videos. It is also hard to plan and create engaging content for those videos. Even if they do create these videos, they do not have enough to stay relevant. His goal is to create these videos with engaging content for these brands.

What is Sightsee? — in a nutshell

Sightsee is a platform to crowdsource entertaining photos and video footage from real people to create engaging content.

What users do on Sightsee…

For the users, it is a platform that provides simple and fun challenges to do around the city in a gamified environment.

For the businesses, it is a way to get a steady stream of authentic and strategy-driven content for their marketing to stay relevant.


Cole had an exciting idea of what he wanted to create. Yet he doesn’t have a concrete business model. There are still a million possibilities of what the app could be.

What would the challenges be? What kind of challenges would be content worthy? How do we ensure the quality of videos and submissions? What would motivate and keep users interested? Who are our users?

OUR USERS — Who will use Sightsee?

Cole hypothesized our user group would be millennials roughly between the ages of 18 to 25. Surprisingly, all three designers (28, 30, 30) on our team, and Cole himself (34), were over that age range. We would also be interested in the app. Most of our friends (around the same age as us) has expressed interest when we presented the concept of our app. We didn’t want to exclude anyone who may possess interest.

We sent out surveys and conducted numerous interviews. We designed three screener questions to make sure we have the right demographics.

  • Do you play any games on your phone, computer, or video games?
  • Have you ever taken part in a contest or challenge?
  • Have you ever uploaded or shared a video on social media?

Who are they?

From the 91 responses received, most fall between the ages of 27 to 32. Our youngest respondent is 19, and surprisingly, the oldest is 59.

From these research, our key insights were:

Experiences — What they will participate in and what they will not?

Potential users suggested that they would be willing to participate in a challenge if…

  • It is a good deed for someone or something
  • It is good for the environment
  • It is taking a picture of themselves

Taking a video or talking to strangers were things they are not too comfortable in doing.

Incentives — What will motivate them to participate? What types of prizes are they interested in?

People are most motivating in participating in something that supports a good cause. They would also do it because it seems fun and they would get laughs from other friends.

For tangible rewards, most people stated that free gifts/products would be the number one motivator. Gifts from the Food&Beverage industry or the Entertainment industry are the most popular.

Bounce Rates — What makes them bounce? What do they not like?

If the app is too complicated and the learning curve is too high, people tend to loose interest quickly. Especially for an entertainment app, they want to have fun right away. A little bit of learning is acceptable but not too much.

The app has to be unique. They don’t like to see the same things over and over again. Repetition catalyzes their bounce rate.

Comfortability — Are they comfortable with their submissions being shared or used by other people?

Most people indicated that they are comfortable sharing their photos but are not if people use them without their consent.


Ownership of Content

One of the major problems we had to tackle was the ownership of the submissions. Our users have to be comfortable with other people (Sightsee and hosting brands) using and sharing their photos/videos.

Cole said he wanted the ownership of the submissions. He didn’t know how to stop the users from using the raw footage of themselves somewhere else. From the insights we gathered from our research, we discovered that people like to share their experiences and moments. We suggested the users should be allowed to use their own footage. The users could post on their own social media. Hash-tagging Sightsee could draw more attention, which would eventually achieve the publicity/marketing he wanted as well.

Challenge Driven or Reward Driven

Motivations of participating were exactly half and half between challenge-driven participants and reward-driven participants. We had to decide which direction we wanted our app to focus on and lead with.

Interviewees stated that they would never do anything that they thought would be embarrassing. Prizes wouldn’t be good enough of a motivator, especially if you have to compete for (no guarantee) of getting it. However, they would still partake if their friends are all doing it — peer pressure. We decided to lead with challenges. From the feedbacks, experience would outweigh the rewards in the long run.


Why would our users user Sightsee. From our research, some of the keywords associated with the motivations:

  • Self growth — They wanted to explore, continue learning.
  • Challenges —They wanted to compete with friends.
  • Community building — They want to connect with their friends and other like-minded people.
  • Peer pressure — They do things their friends want to do.
  • Good cause — They want to give back and do something good for the community and/ environment.

THE MOOD — We want to capture:

  • Encouraging
  • Playful
  • Curious
  • Ambitious
  • Excited
  • Connecting
  • Adventurous
  • Creative

The three main colours compliment each other, creating a playful, exciting and adventurous mood. They could also colour code the levels of difficulty of the challenges.

THE FEELING — We want to create:

Montserrat — Chosen Typeface

To accompany the mood we’ve created, we also chose the typeface Montserrat.

Montserrat is a big family with various sizes and weights. The bold, heavier weights are more playful and encouraging. The lighter weight ones are more subtle and legible, perfect for the body text.

A FOURTH COLOUR — The Sightsee Colour

We quickly realized we needed a fourth colour for our app. The three primary colours have been decided to colour code the difficulty of the challenges. Then what about the Sightsee colour?

Green. Green suggests growth, freshness, go etc. These are the key elements we wanted to tackle with Sightsee.

Growth — Self-growth, personal challenges.

Freshness — Explore the city, not repeating the same things over and over again.

Go — Traffic light, getting up and going. Just do the challenge!


Customized Icons

To establish a sense of unity, we created customized icons. Another key functionality, other than branding, is to replace overwhelming text. Challenge cards are text heavy because they have to include all the instructions, requirements, and restrictions of the challenge. With the use of icons, we could eliminate some text heavy areas — which is also easier for users to scan and understand right away.

Design of the Icons

All the Sightsee icons would only be in shades of green. Those you would interact with on every screen. Those you would need to learn about the requirements of a challenge or the limitations of rewards.

The categories for the challenges are in full colour. They are more vibrant, and playful. They have to motivate the users in tapping them and participating in the challenges. They are more engaging.

Why FLAT design?

  • Looks friendly and approachable to users
  • Minimalistic-strips down visual elements to expose their essential functionality
  • Legible and adaptable

“Flat design has all the key attributes that make a site as functional as it is beautiful. It recognizes that a sense of familiarity is important to the user experience, but it creates this sense in a way that fits with the medium. At the same time, it’s able to adapt to new discoveries, trends, and ideas. Flat design brings us a step closer to a new paradigm of digital design, where the functionality and aesthetic are in complete harmony.”

THE MVP — Key features

With all the possibilities, the scope of this project is really large. We have to focus on the main flows of our users as to not stray from our goal — creating the minimal viable product (MVP).

Creating a Feasible Product

  1. Choose a Challenge — Users have to find a challenge they like. They have to read the instructions and save the challenge.
  2. Capture the Moment — After doing the challenge, the users have to upload their footages and submit.
  3. Compete for the Grand Prize — Whether not they win the grand prize, they still receive a gift for participation. So they will need a channel to be able to redeem their gifts/rewards.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store