Finding magic in the details

At Handmade we always pay the utmost attention to even the tiniest of details. I guess that’s just the way designers and makers at Handmade are wired. No design leaves our studio without having endured the passionate opinions of at least three other colleagues. This attitude towards detail ensures that we stay on top of our game at all times. We hold each other accountable to make sure that we deliver our best work, every time, for every client.

Having an honest and passionate discussion about each other’s work protects excellence in execution on even the smallest of details. In the end, details make for a powerful design. Going over them too hastily can lead to a broken experience or a design that just doesn’t deliver. For an experience to fully deliver the highest quality, we always make sure that all aspects of the design are tinkered to perfection. We determine how the experience looks, how it works but also what it should feel like. By doing so, we redefine modern craftsmanship in the digital age.

Last summer, I worked on a project for Albert Heijn, the largest grocery retailer in the Netherlands. We have been successfully partnering with Albert Heijn on their omni-present grocery shopping service for several years now. As one of their design partners, we look to bring their digital personality into their physical retail stores, making grocery shopping a truly seamless experience.

Following an iterative approach we completed a full redesign of their in-store self-service checkouts. In under two weeks, we delivered an interactive reference experience prototype that allows for end user validation — covering key user flows to establish a UX personality, a design system to secure visual and behavioral consistency, and a cardboard mockup to optimize the footprint of a terminal to guide customers through an optimal scanning flow.

We built a cardboard setup that held a tablet showing an interactive reference experience of the main user-flow.

One of the details of the experience was the way customers received their receipt. Since the receipt is essentially the physical embodiment of a customer’s successful checkout, we decided that this should be the focal point.

As customers scan their items they build up an onscreen scanning list. When they are done scanning, they complete their payment and the scanning list moves downwards out of view. To wrap up their purchase customers get a printed out receipt. The barcode on the receipt then opens a gate that leads them to the store exit.

Since the printer of the receipts is positioned just below the screen, we saw an opportunity to have their digital scanning list magically transition into a physical receipt as customers completed their payment. If we would get the timing right, we might be able to create the illusion of a digital receipt magically entering the physical world.

After a few days of tweaking and detailing, we felt we got it right. See the video below.

The in-store setup showing how the digital scanning list seamlessly transitions into a physical receipt. It’s like magic!

This seemingly small detail actually had a large impact on the overall feel of the experience. To see the receipt seamlessly transition from a digital into physical form is surprisingly delightful. For a brief moment, you actually believe something magical just happened. Moments like these make the experience both enjoyable and memorable, ultimately leading to increased customer retention.

We believe that if you push hard and take care of the smaller details within an experience you can find these special moments that give your product experience character and personality. By creating authentic and original experiences that evoke a positive emotive response with users, we help forward-looking companies compete and show a glimpse of what we love to do at Handmade.