A Great Experience: Time to Fly

July 1, 2011

As user experience consultants, it’s in our DNA to evaluate experiences. Even though our work is dedicated to online experiences, we often find ourselves assessing offline experiences with a similarly critical eye. Does the experience feel tailored to me? Is it easy for me to find/do/learn what I’m interested in? Was the experience enjoyable and valuable? These are questions we can’t help asking ourselves.

We tend to become aware of the non-ideal experiences more often than the positive ones. We notice when an experience is frustrating, inconsistent with the brand, or doesn’t meet our needs. But sometimes, we have a great experience. Not only does it meet our needs, it contributes something to our life. It enables us to discover something new about ourselves. It rewards us in unexpected ways, and changes our perception of the world. We are always looking for ways to integrate the great experiences we have into our work, into our culture, and into our deliverables.

On June 25th, the whole Crux Collaborative staff had a great experience. All of us, plus several of our friends and family members, participated in “Time to Fly” for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF). This annual fundraising event includes a 10k run, a 5k run, a 5k walk, and a kids fun run. Research for children’s cancer became very important to our staff this year (here’s why), so we were motivated and excited to participate in the event.

John Golden was our team captain, and made a big contribution to the experience leading up to the event. John created our team, “Joggers for Julian,” and recruited 28 people to participate. He led by example, training six days a week and raising so much money he had to increase our team goal several times. Many of us had never run a race before, and most of us knew nothing about fundraising. It was a new experience; it proved to be an exceptional one.

It was clear that CCRF designed the event with the intention of creating a great experience. All of the important logistical details had been delivered via email, making it easy to know how to get there and where to park. The signage was easy to see and understand. Volunteers were plentiful and happy to help.

All of the participants clearly enjoyed the experience, and CCRF made it even more rewarding by acknowledging the leading teams with awards for participation and fundraising. We were surprised and delighted when “Joggers for Julian” received four awards, making our experience even more special:

  1. We were given a trophy for best rookie team, meaning we had the most participants of any new team
  2. We had the highest average donation per participant
  3. My dad, Jim Eaton, was recognized for being the 3rd highest individual fundraiser out of all of the participants (over 2,500 people)
  4. My dad also received 1st place for the men’s 70+ category (And my brother, Dan Eaton, finished 20th overall)

Needless to say, we were all thrilled with the outcome of the event. Back at office on Monday, we talked a lot about how emotional, fun, and rewarding the day was. Here’s what we loved about our experience:

  • Everyone who participated approached it with authenticity and motivation. There was no one who “phoned it in.”
  • The event was well executed, planned, and designed.
  • The message and cause were clearly defined and actionable.
  • Participants genuinely felt that we were making a difference.

Here’s what we learned from the experience, and how we plan to continue to integrate these learnings into our work and our culture at Crux Collaborative:

  1. When there is a shared vision, working together toward a common goal is easier, more efficient, and more effective. We see this daily in our work when we help clients develop UX strategies and plans, but it was underscored by participating in an event that mattered so much to all of us.
  2. When there is consistent communication along the way, and effective feedback mechanisms, it makes it easy to stay motivated to meet (or exceed) the goal. The ability to track success and progress be it via project status updates or metrics, is a big part of our work and our culture.
  3. When there is a mechanism for acknowledging accomplishments and rewarding success at the end of a project (or event), it acts as a catalyst for repeat action. Whether it’s a well-written confirmation message or an awards ceremony at the end of a race, knowing you accomplished what you set out to do results in a feeling of satisfaction that you look forward to repeating.

In the end, our team raised almost $10,000 for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, and we helped bring more awareness about the impact of childhood cancer. We approached it how we approach every project we do: we were authentic, passionate and determined to always do our best.

Overall, it was a great (brand, user, life), experience – we are already excited to do it again (and do it even better) next year!

By John Golden

John’s career in interactive media design began in 1995 and has spanned over two decades with a focus on developing simple, streamlined approaches for complex problems.

View John's Bio

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