Snow + Rock are the UK’s leading specialist store for winter sports and outdoor gear. They’ve been around since 1982 and have shops all over the UK plus a great online store that stocks their huge range of over 10,000 items.
We approached Snow + Rock with a proposal to create them an app for the brand new Windows Phone 7. When Microsoft announced this new smartphone platform, aimed at busy and active consumers rather than the usual corporate audience, we jumped at the chance to develop one of the first mobile apps for it. We thought that Snow + Rock’s sporty customers would be a perfect match for the WP7 target audience.
It was clear that Snow + Rock weren’t simply after an app version of their online store, but rather a fun and useful tool. Our idea had to be something that would fit with their customers’ lifestyles, and their interests in hiking, walking, running, and climbing, with just a secondary focus on selling the products. We did a lot of research into the target audience, and the way that they liked to interact with their mobiles before we drew up our final ideas.
Our solution was Pathfinder, an app that provides detailed tracking and mapping so that users can create their own trails. If they like, they can then choose to share these with others, and view trails that other users have created too. As we know mobile signal isn’t exactly reliable in the countryside or up a mountain, routes can be cached so they can still be accessed when reception drops. There is also a “Gear Guide” section, which allows Snow + Rock to highlight the latest equipment from top brands, whilst avoiding a hard sell.
Microsoft were totally impressed with our results, and Pathfinder was chosen as a ‘showcase launch app’, meaning it was one of only three apps included on journalist’s handsets at the Windows Phone 7 UK launch, which was a huge honour. We also had great awards success with it – it won ‘Best Interactive Design’ at the 2011 Cardiff Design Festival, the ‘Best use of mobile and portable devices’ silver award at the 2011 Communicate Magazine Digital Impact Awards, and it was nominated in ‘Mobile: Utilities and Services’ at the 2011 Webbys. We were also awarded a Microsoft Partner Award in 2012 for our work on this app.