TMP Worldwide – AABot Drop AR App
Hello, how can I help?
TMP Worldwide approached us with an exciting project that would result in a unique augmented reality app. They wanted us to develop their existing AA robot character, Bot, who was the face of the AA careers website, helping answer people’s questions via a chat window. He had a limited facial range and a few personality variations when TMP Worldwide first came to us.
Our brief was split into three stages. First of all we were to take what existed, a 2D vector style head, and create a full 3D robot with a body and more facial expressions. The next stage was to then create 11 animations featuring Bot in various scenarios and environments. The final stage was to create an app that would allow the animations to be access via AR. The unique part of this app would be the ability to share videos and images from the app via social media and the plan was for this feature to be utilised for a competition the AA would run.
It was a lot of work, but work we were thrilled to take on. The first step was to take Bot who was a simple 2D vector head and transform him into a 3D character with a body. Vinyl toys were the reference we used for Bot’s body and informed the animation style to come.
We started with a cute body that was based on a panda toy, a glass style monitor for the head that was curved on both the front and back. We worked from TMP Worldwide’s feedback and ended up with a shorter limbed, cuter body with a more blocky head.
We explored some of options and came up with a mixed style we called diorama which TMP worldwide really responded to. It involved having the main characters in the same vinyl style as Bot while the background and props were in a 2D/3D paper style. Simpler objects like blades of grass would be ‘made’ out of thin card in the ‘2D’ paper style; more complex background objects such as the stage and speakers in the rock concert scene were ‘made’ in the 3D paper style; then more important props or objects that Bot would interact with like the football, snowboard or scuba mask would be made in the same vinyl style as Bot.
We made some paper examples to make sure our modellers were capturing the quirks paper models can create. For example with the crowds in the football and rock concert scenes we wanted the ‘paper’ crowd to slightly warp and bend as thin card would when cut into the proper shape. We also made some 3D cubes and cuboids to study the folds and joins of the paper models.
TMP Worldwide and the AA already had an established character in Bot. He had traits of Moss from the IT crowd, Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, Mork from Mork and Mindy and Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. It was our job to bring these traits out in the animation and our animators did a great job of bringing Bot’s awkward bravado and sense of humour to life.
The modellers and render artists also did a fantastic job, creating a beautiful and rich setting for each scenario Bot found himself him as well as some great secondary characters.
User experience, or UX, was a major part of creating the app. Simply put designing UX is making sure that the user has a nice time with the app and doesn’t get frustrated or confused by not having a clear expectation of what to do and the knowledge of how to do it. We created a detailed wireframe/flowchart to to make sure the were no logic holes or flaws in the app. This came before the UI (user interface) stage as designing the UX of the app helped inform us of what UI would be needed.
With so many devices on the market, designing the user interface for the app that would accommodate the layouts of the majority of mobile and tablet devices was quite an undertaking. Newer devices have physical notches, camera holes and in screen menu bars that need to be considered when designing the UI. We worked closely with TMP Worldwide to create a user interface they were happy with aesthetically and one that would work well with the features of modern devices.
As with any app development, testing is key. Our team stress tested the app for weeks to iron out the inevitable bugs that get thrown up. We made a thorough checklist that made sure each feature of the app worked as it should and flagged any issues that arose. With time and hard work we isolated and fixed any bugs and errors that were found until we had a smooth experience using the app.
The result was a unique AR app with the capability to record videos and take images of Bot and share these through the social media app of the users choice, something no other AR app seems to deliver. The AA hosted events at shopping centres around the UK to promote the app and launched a competition where users of the app would share their images or videos of Bot on social media using #wheresbotbeen. They had hundreds of entries and some great and imaginative places for where Bot had been.
Now the AA are using [the app] to raise employer brand awareness and deliver recruitment messages in an unexpected, immersive and engaging way – cutting through more traditional recruitment communications to engage a wider, passive audience and increase their potential talent pool.