This week, we spoke with the team at Pikcells, a US and UK-based agency with teams of digital artists, interior designers, stylists, and software developers that specialize in photorealism and disruptive technologies . In 2022, their configurator design for Wren Kitchens won Best in Show in Website Features – Best Use of Emerging Technology . The team shared more about their creative process, the challenges they encountered and their learnings from this award-winning project.
Tell us more about the team that worked on the project
Our team comprises Technical 3D artists, Front end developers, WebGL developers and UI designers. With a keen focus on usability, functionality and UI aesthetics, our team are committed to creating interactive tools that exceed our clients expectations and inspire their customers with captivating experiences.
Describe the first brainstorm session you had about the Configurator
The Wren 360 Configurator was one of our first widely recognised configurator tool successes. We wanted a way to be able to take a 360 panoramic image and make it configurable, doing so would mean our clients could promote 85% more products than with a conventional 2D static configurator. The initial brainstorming involved creating a proof of concept, selling that concept to a client then building out all the tools to make it economically viable, which took years.
What challenges did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
One of the significant challenges we faced during the development of the Wren 360 configurator was the issue of slow load speeds. Having potentially thousands of users all generating unique rooms and accessing these 360° image files can be a huge overhead on the server. To overcome this challenge, we created a clever ’tile generation system’ that divided each layer into small sections, loading tiles only when a user viewed them. This approach significantly improved the system’s speed and reliability, allowing tens of thousands of concurrent users to access it without any issues. Although using much larger image files than a conventional configurator, the tile loading system actually makes our 360 configurators faster to load than a normal 2D one!
What was your biggest learning or takeaway from this process?
Our experience in developing the Wren 360 configurator has highlighted the crucial role that tech now plays in helping humans deal with vast amounts of data. Our tool empowers Wren’s customers to explore their full catalog in a dynamic and visually engaging way, making it easier for them to make informed decisions. This has resulted in a more positive and memorable customer experience, which has driven sales and promoted Wren to being the leading kitchen supplier in the UK.
As a Best in Show Winner, what does winning a w3 Award mean to you?
Winning a Best in Show award at the w3 Awards is a great honor and a testament to the hard work and dedication of our development team. We’ve had successes in the W3 Awards previously, but winning the top Best in Show award is recognition that our configurators are some of the best available on the market and underscores our commitment to innovation, creativity, and technical excellence.