Fwd: Re: Holiday Experience Issues

17:55 (3 minutes ago)  

Doug Collins (
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Hi Luke,

Thanks again for including me in this year’s UXmas! In lieu of something original, I wanted to pass along this chain from my friend Bushy Evergreen, who has just started work as a UX Researcher at the North Pole itself.  

He said that although they’ve always focused on customer satisfaction, the North Pole is only now building a UX team. This chain gives some great insight into the team-building process and the working conditions up at Santa’s place (the chain is in reverse order, so maybe start from the bottom and read up).

After some back and forth emails with Bushy and the North Pole legal team (who are  surprisingly litigious, even by elven standards), I’ve been given permission to pass these emails along to you for publication.

Let me know what you reckon.  If we’re going to run with it, I owe Bushy a case of Sweet Baby Jesus Porter.



Hi Alabaster,

Thank you for the opportunity you’ve given me to join the Christmas Research team on short notice during a busy time of the year.  We’ve been working hard to make this year absolutely magical, and I’m proud to be a truly small part of a great organization, especially considering my lack of experience with Christmas in general.

This very lack of experience, however, that makes my viewpoint valuable. I’ve designed a series of tests we plan on running in the coming year.  

1) Christmas Music Focus Group – A focus group of 5-8 shoppers who plan on visiting retail locations in 2019.  We want to determine if our plan to begin the regular playlist of Christmas music in August 2019 is too soon. If not, we’ll begin in mid-July.

We also want to re-evaluate our suggested musical rotation.  We want to study how often participants can hear “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” before terminating the study. I suspect 20 times an hour is too few.

2) Christmas Tree Survey – Pine trees are an outside curiosity, except for the holiday season.  No one here is quite sure when we first brought one indoors, but the old timers have told me it may have been a drunken office holiday party prank some 400 years ago.

Given the worldwide movement towards sustainability, would like to explore other festive decoration options.  The eco-friendly and sustainable Christmas Cactus shows great potential worthy studying.

3) Snow Usability Study – Snow has long been a staple of our brand and user experience strategy. However, snow does not naturally occur in many parts of the world we’re looking to for expansion. Where it does occur, it’s often either a hazard or nuisance.

There’s been marked decrease in the both the Weather and the Wish Granting Departments’ headcount over the past year.  When coupled with global warming concerns, our ability to grant what our analytics show to be the number 1 Christmas wish, a “white Christmas,” has decreased dramatically this season. 

We plan to research alternative holiday weather design strategies.  Christmas rain, for instance, would bolster food output worldwide, and the Weather Department has informed me that this is a far more attainable design strategy.

I know this is a lot to digest, so I’ll schedule some time on your calendar to talk it all over sometime after The Big Day.  In the meantime, let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.





Welcome - I’m excited to have you on-board.  It’s rare to find an elf with such a great research background and professional presentation.  I suspect your time living in San Diego affected your level of professionalism positively. Your resume was the only one we didn’t receive written in icing on gingerbread.  

To business. Our team works best ahead of the curve. For your first sprint I want you to start looking into issues we could address in 2019 Q1 and Q2.  I want to hear your thoughts on proposed research projects and areas of opportunity.

Side note - we differentiate here between Rap music and Wrap music.  The latter are usually Bing Crosby tunes we play during Wrapping Hours (8 AM - 10 AM Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and may be played quietly at your work station. 

Eminem, Tupac, and Snoop are all excellent artists, but their musical themes are disturbing to the other elves. In the future, please use headphones if you plan on listening to them during Wrapping Hours.

Let me know if you have any questions.


Hi Ali!  Everything’s been set up.  Let me know if you run into any issues.

We’ve doubled up on sugar plums in the vending machine for the moment. I know it’s not the same, but it’s the best we can manage until the next air lift.




After meeting with Big Red yesterday, I extended an offer to Mr. Evergreen.  He accepted. Please complete his onboarding with a start date of next Monday.  

Side note - the vending machine at the north end of Production Complex 14 is out of candy canes again.  I know there are re-supply logistical issues with our remote location, but I hope this can be fixed soon.


Doug Collins

Doug Collins

Doug Collins is a Denver-based UX Engineer who volunteers part-time at the North Pole in their “Strange Wish” department, helping to grant the odd requests kids make to Santa each year.  In years past, he has hand-delivered a gallon of pickles, a live cobra, and a gumball machine full of avocados to hopeful children around the world.

When he’s not working with Santa to legally change children’s names to “Batman” or raising unicorns that vomit rainbows, he’s an occasional guest contributor to UX Mastery, full-time father to an amazing son, and husband to a wonderful woman.

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