Project Description

Description

Elf Mail is a magical mobile app used by Santa’s very own elves in the North pole to send messages to children all over the world! Every elf in Santa’s workshop is given a special child to watch over in the run up to Christmas so Santa can keep his Naughty and Nice list up to date!

This year, for the first time ever,  Santa has allowed his elves to get to know their assigned child a little better using the ‘Elf Mail’ app! Santa has found ‘Elf Mail’ to be an extremely fun and effective way of encouraging good behaviour in children and managing expectations as to the presents they may or may not receive.

Parents or guardians can download this extra special app all the way from the North Pole on the app store. In 3 super simple steps a personalised elf is created and ready to chat to their child. Sit back and watch the wonder and joy as children send and receive messages to and from their very own elf.

What a wonderful way to add to the excitement and magic of the festive season!!

Features

Top Features (requires in-app purchases):

REAL TIME: Send instantly to immerse your child in Christmas magic and feed their imagination. Emoji and Images are great for adding extra joy!

SCHEDULED MESSAGES: Schedule a message to send at a certain date/time, this is a great way to reward going to bed on time or to surprise your child.

UNLIMITED MESSAGES: inc Text, Images and Voice(Coming Soon)

PERSONALISED ELF PICKER: Choose exactly the right elf for your kids. Works great when matched with an Elf On The Shelf elf.

KID FRIENDLY: Kids can talk to their elf and enjoy their messages. The Parents Zone is protected behind a pin code or Touch Id

RICH ANIMATIONS: Watch Santa soar through the sky on the way to your home, and watch the snow fall over a quiet village.

*All activity takes place on the device.

Design

Storyboards

The first step in creating an app is to turn the abstract brief into a series of storyboards, so the functionality and flow of the app can be viewed clearly. We use Sketch for creating storyboards.

The art style and overall design was one of the first big decisions. We knew we wanted to use a light material palette we initially experimented with colours from Google’s Material Spec mixing and matching to develop a bright complimentary palette.

Our primary colour is the light blue of a crisp Christmas morning.
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The overall art style we opted for is a flat design, which limits the use of 3 dimensional styling. Combined with the bright flat colours the flat design gives a modern feel to the app.

We created this app for iPhone and iPad, so we needed to have slightly different designs and proportions for the icons and layouts of the two screens.

Assets

Choosing and gathering assets for this project was a challenge. Our choice of bright flat design Christmas assets limited us somewhat, we got a lot of the raw assets from Shutterstock. We were then able to edit and colour grade to fit our needs.

One challenge we faced – Elves, the Elves in the app are integral. They needed to be inviting and exciting for kids while being within the defined palette. They also needed to be simple enough that we would be able to programatic customise them inside the app. Change gender/hair/clothes etc.

Music

The music and sound effects were a huge win. The way music immerses a user into an app is so important and the music we used for ElfMail really did the job. You can hear it by playing the Vimeo link at the top or by clicking here

User Research

User research is key, once we had storyboards it was easy to bring our idea to our target market and see what they thought. The feedback we got was incredibly valuable and helped us nail down the scope of the project.

The initial plan was to send messages between a Child’s device and Parents device, this would allow parents to have a conversation from another room or from work. After some early brain storming and user research we found that several problems made cross device messaging unfeasible. Such as: Child’s Literacy, Data Protection and Setup Complexity.

Marketing

The first step in marketing is to narrow down your target market, we aimed at Women between the ages of 23-40 in Ireland, UK, Canada, Australia, United States. We targeted on keywords like Late Late Toy Show, Elf, ElfMail, Elf On The Shelf, Motherhood, Childcare etc.

Our next step was to decide on the mediums to use to communicate to our market. We focused on Bloggers, News, Parenting and Family orientated sites alongside Facebook and Twitter.

Press Release

We prepared a physical press release which we sent to a narrowed down set of high value bloggers and sites. We sent a followup online press release the following week by email to the high value targets alongside the rest of our targeted blogs and sites.

This is the press release, you can download it here

Facebook

We were quite successful on our Facebook, we gained 430 likes on the page with a huge reach of 50,000 Facebook users – this was due to our carefully targeted advertisements, competitions and choosing the correct target market.

We ran one competition for €50 Amazon Gift card, this was early December during the shopping rush so it was highly sought after by our target market. We initially asked for a like, share and a screenshot of their Elf but this seemed to cause a drop-off in uptake so we switched to like, share and tag three friends.

We joined 20+ Facebook groups for Elf On The Shelf and Christmas in general, we posted about ElfMail using an embedded video link from ElfMail’s Facebook page.

The Embedded video posts allowed us to quickly move users from those Facebook Groups over to our Page, the image beside shows this in action. The video auto-plays, the comments are shared across all the places it has been posted, any click will direct the user to ElfMail and it feels like part of the Group so its easy to segue users over.