Billabong was founded in 1973 by Gordon Merchant on the Gold Coast of Australia. His unique triple-stitch technique redefined boardshorts in the surf industry. Billabong’s quality boardshorts made them stand out as a brand leader and grew their popularity among surfers.
Fast forward to 2016, Billabong is now one of the largest and most successful surf brands. However, this growth has created a new challenge of staying relevant. They have to actively work on staying connected to the core surfer who influences the industry. If they were to become disconnected from their core audience, they could be seen as a corporate giant that is irrelevant to the industry of surfers.
How do you connect one of the largest surf brands to their core consumer on a daily basis? By giving the core consumer a tool that they use everyday. Each day surfers constantly check the surf conditions and search the forecast to find the best waves. By creating the Billabong Surf Report app, we can market to the core surfer in a new way on a daily basis. This increases the brands top-of-mind and relevancy in the surf industry.
From the start of the design process we leveraged data and analytics to drive key decisions. Utilizing analytics from our ecommerce platform allowed us to make informed decisions. Looking at our data we learned that majority of our mobile online shoppers used iOS devices. Leveraging this data, we focused on creating an iOS app first to target the majority of our user base.
In addition, we conducted multiple user interviews with our target user to drive the priorities of the app. Our app was designed for the core surfer, so their opinion mattered the most. Our user interviews informed us that the prefered surf data provider in the US region was Surfline. In addition, we asked the users we interviewed to rate and prioritize a selection of app features. The data we collected helped us prioritize the features of the app to create a tool that is useful to the target user.
When we kicked off the design process, we held many brainstorming sessions with key stakeholders. Our objective was to talk through the numerous options and different strategies for the app. From there we took a handful of ideas and explored different directions. We mapped out the information architecture, designed the wireframes, and high fidelity comps to thoroughly test out each idea.
Once we had a few solid versions we began the process by: designing, prototyping, testing and refining each version. The prototyping and user testing of each design revealed the areas that needed improvement, which directed us toward the final solution. Ultimately, we didn’t move forward until we felt we had exhausted every possible design option thoroughly.
We created an experience that was visually different than all surf reports apps on the market. Instead of using a generic list style design we created a highly visual and unique design to help the app stand out. We introduced a photo driven card view allowing the users to swipe left and right through their favorite surf spots. When the user wants to see more details, they can simply tap on the card. This displays a detailed view with an extended forecast and a breakdown of the data in a highly visual design.
When the user wants to refresh the data, they can simply pull the card down to refresh. If they want to share, delete, or set an alert, they can flick the card up for more options. The user can set an alert to be notified when their favorite surf spots are the optimal surf conditions.