Partially adapting the UI for the holidays is not an uncommon practice. This is also humorously known as the season of: "the client wants snow on the logo".

Do you have any good, funny or dreadful examples to share?

Definite vote up for accompanying stories.

  • 4
    Not really a suitable question. Now, if it was about the benefit (or otherwise) of seasonal changes that would be a different matter.
    – ChrisF
    Nov 26, 2010 at 13:39
  • Benefits: emotional binding between user and application. Now, what are good idea besides the logo? Are there?
    – peterchen
    Nov 26, 2010 at 14:07
  • 1
    @ChrisF There are plenty of questions asking for examples rather then a single answer. If this practice is not suitable mods should send a clear signal by closing such questions.
    – fluxd
    Nov 26, 2010 at 15:01
  • 3
    For all we know, @fluxd may have posted the question as a form of research. He's asking for our experiences with this idea. To me, it's a valid question for this forum.
    – JeromeR
    Nov 27, 2010 at 18:18
  • Don't know about UIs, but some Santas on malls are scary enough that if I had children I'd keep them away from the guy :D Dec 1, 2010 at 0:53

3 Answers 3


Google calls their seasonal holiday logos "doodles", and in the absence of a better term, I'll refer to them as doodles, too.

This may seem like fluff, but it occurred to me that our call-centre employees—users of the software on which I currently work—might benefit from doodles that reflect our employers' current marketing campaign. Especially when the marketing campaigns are about a customer need or a pain point, this could remind the call-centre reps steer the conversation and reinforce the message.

An example?

alt text

This is the Contract Monster (watch the TV commercial on YouTube). This thing is a life-sized suit, currently on display in the lobby of the building where I work. It featured in a series of ads, earlier this year. It—and any of the company's other ad campaigns—could be the basis for an interesting doodle.

We haven't yet had time to implement doodles of any sort, in the UI. I wish we could, though, because during our product research (an early usability study), a small number of respondents said they have to look at the interface all day, and they would like it to be more colourful, less boring. This was clearly a response to the dreariness of the alpha version we were testing, so before any skinning.


One of the fun ones is the VLC app icon (a road safety cone). In December, it dons a santa hat.

Subtlety is the key to making it successful. You probably don't want to cover your home page with a cheesy snow-globe effect, for instance.


Adapting the UI for the holidays serves probably very well the online retailers.

The best example is Amazon.com which decorates every year its UI for Christmas. For my part, I tend to spend more when I'm in a "Christmas mood". For instance, as soon as I decorate my apartment for this time of the year, I'm sure my spending behaviors change.

Maybe the same thing happens on online store? I've done a quick research on Google Scholar and found interesting results :

Early research in environmental psychology by Mehrabian and Russell (1974) was later adapted to the retailing context by Donovan and Rossiter (1982). The latter tested the Stimulus – Organism – Response (S – O – R) framework in a retail store environment and examined Mehrabian and Russell’s (1974) three-dimensional Pleasure, Arousal, and Dominance (PAD) emotional experience as the inter- vening organismic state. Their findings suggested that retail environmental stimuli impact consumers’ emotional states, which then result in approach or avoidance behaviors toward the store.

Eroglu S.A., Machleit K.A., Davis L.M. Atmospheric qualities of online retailing: A conceptual model and implications (2001) Journal of Business Research, 54 (2), pp. 177-184. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0148-2963(99)00087-9

I think well thought "doodles" can have a positive impact on the users. What do you think?

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    This is more on the environmental psychology rabbit trail stemming from Sebastien's post. So if not interested, please skip. See: amsreview.org/articles/tractinsky1-2007.pdf It's a look at challenges facing designers and developers of online stores, given what we know about traditional selling and the design of stores. Superficial, but will get you thinking.
    – gef05
    Nov 29, 2010 at 19:03

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