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Vas Sloutchevsky, chief creative officer
Brian Kadar, programmer
Iain Lawson, database programmer
Shea Gonyo, technical lead
Robert Forras, technology director
Craig Elimeliah, executive producer
Freedom + Partners, project design and development
Johannes Leonardo, ad agency
Daffy's, client

"A spare layout, rich colors, dynamic menus and the well-placed inclusion of social elements have injected new vitality into an old retail brand." —juror Rachel Pasqua

"The site has a novel interface that actually works and that brings together different kinds of content into a unified experience. I also liked the immediacy of the interaction design." —juror Ingrid Bernstein

Overview: This New York City bargain store offers high fashion at low prices. In 2009, the third-generation, family-owned business made a concerted effort to connect with a younger and digital consumer through a major rebranding. The new campaign laid the foundation for what would become Daffy's online brand platform. The fun, playful and bright system breaks the usual mold with an amorphous navigation scheme that's easy to use and creates a compelling reason to stop and look twice. Due to the nature of Daffy's inconsistent inventory, the fashions are represented with a handful of looks that draw visitors in to the rest of the site and hopefully create emotional connections with the brand.

• The project took a team of eight exactly ten weeks to execute this digital component of Daffy's rebranding campaign.
• The load for each section consists of a single, very simple XML file. The data plugs into a custom and flexible engine that dynamically creates and positions the rectangular navigation blocks. All transitions are based on the same data.
• On average, the site gets between 2,500 – 3,000 unique visitors per day. Four months after launch the site had over 60,000 unique visitors.

Comments by Mark Ferdman:
How did the content shape the navigation? "The navigation system was born out of Daffy's new campaign look, which was built around colorful rectangular shapes with bold typography. The interface design concept came out of a late Friday afternoon session between me and a talented junior design intern, Min Yang. We worked together in front of Min's monitor and, in an attempt to get some assets open in Photoshop, got started by literally typesetting the names of the site sections onto the colored rectangles. Almost immediately, we arrived at the basic concept for the navigation system. Min pushed the concept through the weekend and by Monday morning we had a system very close to what is currently on the site."

What do you think was the most creative use of technology? "Since Daffy's sells off-priced items, their buying patterns and merchandise can lack continuity; customers never know what they'll get when they walk in to a store. We proposed the Truck Tracker, a Twitter-based service that notifies Daffy loyalists when they can expect fresh items to arrive at the stores. It uses Twitter's API to feed data from our application and broadcasts it onto Daffy's Twitter page. The feature is dependent on someone inputting delivery schedules into a CMS; the person responsible for making the entries is a senior citizen dispatcher who has been working in the Daffy's warehouse for decades. We're not sure she understands exactly why she is doing this new task daily, nor the impact of her daily administration on marketing to a new generation of customers."



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