HomeGoods’ Digital Design Experiment Produces Curious Results


Framingham, Mass. – Home items unveiled a digital service that provides consumers with design inspiration, but not much concrete advice.

And sometimes the HomeGoods Dream Vibes design output seems completely unrelated to the input. An essay with the dream – “Sitting on a balcony surrounded by flowers and feeling the warm ocean breeze” – returned with the result “Home Office Hero” and a suggestion to search for eclectic accessories and timeless fashions.

Here is the process. Visitors are asked to describe a dream by voice or text, then answer four multiple-choice questions:

  • How did you feel at the end of your dream?
  • If someone was with you in the dream, how did you feel afterwards?
  • Was there anything else familiar in your dream?
  • Did your dream lead you to action?

The dream is translated by the IBM Natural Language Understanding algorithm, which identifies the textures, colors, shapes and details of the decor inspired by the mood of the dream. The recommendations are minimal and generalized: a miniature description of the mood of the dream along with some design suggestions, such as “simple footprints” and “earth elements”.

Users can click to share their results on Facebook and Twitter as well as by email or SMS. They can also click to find the nearest HomeGoods store or buy HomeGoods online.

Linking directly to the HomeGoods site, it was unclear whether the products on the landing page related to the design recommendation. There was no verbiage on the page to suggest continuity of research or curation based on the “Dream Vibe”. The presentation of the products seemed to offer the random mix of fabrics, table tops, decor and furniture typical of the site. Repeated trials produced mostly the same range of products.

However, the scavenger hunt experience has always been a key element for both the e-commerce site and HomeGoods stores, so maybe that fits the core business model.

“We created Dream Vibes to spark new inspiration in home design, and we can’t wait to see how consumers will use their dreams to breathe new life into their favorite spaces,” said Sarah Ajamian, chief marketing officer at Home Goods.


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