Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:12

Thoughtworks develops custom bathroom planning tool for Reece


Plumbing and bathroom supplier Reece has commissioned technology consultancy Thoughtworks to develop and launch its custom bathroom planning tool Imagin3D.

Reece picked Thoughtworks based on its industry experience and design-led approach to bring Imagin3D to life.

The development stages ensured that the features that mattered most to users (like moving products with arrow keys) didn’t miss out on assumed priorities (e.g. advanced product filtering).

The tool (pictured above) gives customers full planning power so they could visualise the look, feel, and scale of their space, in real time - reducing future changes and ensuring a positive experience for customers and Reece’s showroom consultants.

The planning aspect required insights into or how to make 3D architectural design easy for all users, with natural interactions of dragging and dropping, millimetre precision and 3D visuals rendered in real-time on any desktop or mobile device. It also features glassmorphic design (a technique used to emulate the opaque quality of frosted glass to add texture and dimensionality) that matches and enhances the feeling of designing a real-life room.

The tool would rely on continued improvement of small interactions based on user testing in real environments and observing actual user behaviour (in addition to their input and feedback) - especially in relation to the movement of products and navigating the 3D space.

Reece and Thoughtworks engineers employed technologies such as Three.js, WebGL, and React Three Fibre to leverage innovations in web-based 3D technology, and position the tool to stay up to date with potential future developments in areas such as virtual reality and machine learning.

Importantly, new features can be planned, developed, tested and released to users in days, rather than weeks or months.

“The proliferation of e-commerce presents an enormous opportunity for companies to capture and convert customers online by offering seamless, user-friendly experiences,” says Thoughtworks head of customer experience product and design Nic Smythe.

“As competition to attract and hold onto customers intensifies, the winners will be those who can embed new and disruptive technologies to offer unique digital experiences that are equally meaningful and valuable for users.”

The collaboration also saw Reece leverage Thoughtworks’ technology to elevate its digital customer journey, making bathrooms renovation easier.

This is in line with research commissioned by Reece that found more than a third of renovators agreed that the most frustrating aspect of renovation was not being able to visualise how all the products would look like in a new home.

The rise of e-commerce prompted Reece to develop an innovative online tool that captures the customers’ vision and help them feel more confident about their design choices and decisions.

This also allows Reece customers to communicate better with their trade workers and ensure the product selection is more seamless.

“This new chapter in our innovation journey is based on exploring how we can harness disruptive technologies to deliver a more valuable experience for customers, partners and our team,” says Reese group chief innovation officer Carlo Tarquinio.

“By embedding the latest in 3D technology, our goal is to make it easier for customers to select products and feel confident about their bathroom design, and to make improvements for consultants and trades by reducing friction in the path to purchase.”

In December 2021, Reece launched its 3D Bathroom Planner for pilot program testing with its showroom team and to date, the new tool has helped over 15,000 customers.

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