Setting the scene

With the online gaming revolution now well underway, newcomers to the scene can plug in and connect to any number of global communities, instantly.

From afterschool raid parties to professional teams on the latest triple-A titles, every gamer is familiar with NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX and RTX GPUs (Graphics Processing Units). These powerhouses are the secret sauce behind some of the world’s biggest games and most powerful desktops and laptops.

However, to a ‘newbie’ consumer from outside the PC gaming market, this can all seem quite daunting and, at times, completely overwhelming.

NVIDIA wanted to tackle this challenge head-on, by engaging and educating the wider market in an entertaining and intuitive way. They contacted us to discuss the creation of a bespoke interactive demo, to showcase the power and usability of their products to in-store visitors.

Nvidia store shot

A display of power

This interactive demo would be specially designed as a Windows 10 app. This allowed easy installation on any laptop or desktop machine that featured an NVIDIA GEForce GTX (and more recently an RTX) GPU.

Installations would then be carried out by store staff before each computer was put on display, eliminating the need for cumbersome installation media.

Once launched, the demo would run through an ‘attract loop’ to draw shopper attention with videos of the latest games, interspersed with targeted calls-to-action and NVIDIA technology messaging.

If a shopper chooses to interact with the machine, the system specs will be displayed, including the graphics card, processor, display size, resolution and memory, alongside other features such as MAX-Q or SLI. All interaction data would be uploaded to our secure online metrics server or, when no internet connection is present, onto a designated USB stick.

After the first version of the application was launched, plans for version 2 quickly followed. There would also be the need to localise the application into Spanish and Portuguese for the Latin American market.

One of the key requirements was the integration of a gaming platform (such as Steam, Origin and GOG) into our demo, to allow users the chance to see the GPU in action. After much research, we agreed that Steam was the best option, and integration was successful.

The app included a detection engine, designed to scan the system’s specifications and identify each machine’s individual specs. These would then appear on-screen during the demo – even if customisations had been made during its lifespan.

Usability was the name of the game

Creating the demo meant creating a web-based customisation system that would allow original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create feature showcases and assign them to specific models. They could then create a patch that can be easily added onto the EDGE app.

It was essential that this system was as technically simple as possible, to ensure easy use and minimise the risk of errors occurring. NVIDIA branding also needed to be instantly recognisable and visually present at all times.

To streamline delivery, we decided to work with a wireframe built in Adobe XD. This would allow us to quickly lay out every element of the website, and show how they all worked together.

A holistic perspective meant that issues could be identified early on in the process, and amendments could be made quickly and easily before any of the technical development work had even begun.

Getting hands-on

All initial messaging and content was provided by NVIDIA, which we then shaped and optimised for the retail demo environment.

This included breaking the content down into more digestible chunks, as well as creating impactful calls-to-action (CTAs) to maximise the chance of converting in-store interest into a sale. The messaging and attract loop could then be easily customised by both retailers and manufacturers.

To-the-point language and bold, clear navigation created a user experience that was self-explanatory and intuitive. The system produced warning and confirmation messages to inform the user of their actions, helping to prevent any mistakes.

Instructions were provided at a relevant time to help users continue with their task outside of the system (as the demos ran offline). Once the necessary patch was built and downloaded, the user could then apply it to the computers, as required.

To ensure any images uploaded were the correct aspect ratio for the display, the system included a preview function for users to see if any stretching or blank space was visible.

How did it perform?

Since their first appearance in-store, NVIDIA have had time to study the way customers interact with the demo, and make changes to the messaging, visuals and overall demo loop based on quantifiable observations and in-depth market research.

What’s more, they are able to do this with full autonomy, thanks to the intuitive administrative interface that is built into the system.

We have also had the honour of seeing our application running on the CES stage in Las Vegas, and are now exploring the potential to extend the system further. There is particular focus on giving NVIDIA the option to remotely customise and update the system themselves, as well as releasing new versions designed specifically for events, which will include the integration of additional gaming platforms.