My Day Job

During the day I work at Click Suite – a little new media company based in Wellington which picks up some strange and wonderful projects. I frequently write articles for their blog – 360°. Here’s some of my latest posts… Your Place or My Place? Facebook will soon not only track your conversations and interests,

Good Onya!

On Friday night I was the proud recipient of an ONYA – awarded to this website for ‘Best content (personal)’. The other finalists in the category were Alison Green of  WebWeaver for  The Gathering Archives, and Jared Gulian for  Moon over Martinborough. Sorry guys! What makes the ONYAs  so special is that the  judging panel

The Pollinator

Click Suite // Auckland Museum: The Pollinator from Click Suite on Vimeo. Using touch-screen technology visitors could tap into a world of pollination. Auckland Museum and Click Suite took three common New Zealand insects – the honey bee, monarch and native hoverfly – and set them loose in an amazing virtual rose garden. The Pollinator,

Tap Dancing on Paper

When it comes to creating a user experience specification for a website, it\’s usually a straight forward exercise. You create wireframe diagrams and show the web pages in different states. But how do you specify user interactions for a touch-screen that\’s ever-changing, highly interactive and has unpredictable curious creatures influencing the user navigation? This was

Tsunami Early Warning Information Graphic

 

Yep - they get it in Japan.

When the recent 6 metre tsunami hit the Samoan region, killing 189 people, there unfortunately wasn’t time to warn their people.

But there was time to warn their neighbours in the South Pacific.

We failed.

New Zealand had several hours to crank-up the tsunami warning machine. The police did their best to round up people on the shoreline, but apart from that all we got was out-of-date news reports, government websites which were light on detail and the internet rife with speculation and rumours.

In New Zealand SMS (text) messages warning people in high-risk areas arrived 3 hours too late. How many people on the East Coast of New Zealand could have been killed if this was the big one? Potentially thousands.

My previous article covered how bad the information out there was at representing where the tsunami could strike, the risk and what to do. The graphics which were available were highly technical, easy to misinterpret and in most cases was retrospective data of what had actually occurred – not predictions of what was coming.

And we have to take into account human nature. In New Zealand when we hear a tsunami is coming a fair number of us just assume it’s yet another false alarm. Hundreds even go down to the shoreline to watch it coming in.

Why? Saying “go to higher ground” isn’t specific enough. Some will think that means the big sand-dune a few metres from the shoreline.

I believe we need to give people a clear message at a glance, and just enough detailed information that they’ll take it seriously.

So, while I don’t claim to be a tsunami expert, I decided to have a go at creating a ‘general public’ information graphic which could be populated with data in real-time (or by hand and published online within minutes).

Feeding the Suite Spot

The SUITE SPOT (as seen at Webstock) takes live data feeds from blogs, Twitter, Flickr and SMS messages then ‘repurposes’ all of this into an exploratory scene.

suitespotecu

The feeds might look  simple enough on screen but deciding what appears on the timeline, where and when were all challenges faced during the design and development.

The result is a single timeline for the Webstock community to explore feeds, but content can actually appear on several different spots within the timeline.

This is because  we considered the Webstock community and where they might look for content.

Here’s a few scenarios for our hypothetical user, Charlie Bird, who was, hypothetically, out dancing last night with Webstock celebrity Jane McGonigal:

Where’s Your Suite Spot?

Who knew swimming with data could be such fun.

In 2009 my employer, Click Suite, is a major sponsor of Webstock. Webstock is a series of workshops and floorplan3seminars held in Wellington from 16- 20 February focusing on web technologies and attracting major international speakers.

As part of our sponsorship we are providing an experimental interactive experience for conference participants. Entitled, the SUITE SPOT, it takes live data feeds from blogs, Twitter, Flickr and SMS messages then ‘repurposes’ all of this into an exploratory scene which grows and reacts to the incoming content. The SUITE SPOT will also be available on the web and projected on the big screen at the Webstock conference.

Don’t Mash the Method

Is ‘process’ the same as ‘method’? Many people seem confused.

mashers

When you try and mess with the method it gets messy.Photo by H is for Home

Does it matter? Sort of.

It matters when your job is to take a look at how a company runs its design and production line.

Over the years I’ve re-engineered the in-house processes for a handful of IT and New Media companies. I’ve learnt that, while you can redesign the process, when you try and mess with the method it gets messy.

leftovers

It has been about six months since I changed jobs and now some of the projects my old team were working on at the time have started going public… This was my last mini-project during my last week at Provoke (ironic since I don’t eat meat!). I did the Information Architecture and Alastair Bruerton the