Category: Websites

A Suite Makeover

Ever heard the saying “you’re your own worst client?” In our industry it’s common knowledge that a DYO (or “Design Your Own“) website is one of the trickiest things a web/interactive/design company can undertake. First of all, paid work always comes first. So despite your best efforts the DYO falls by the wayside, only to […]

Tsunami Early Warning Information Graphic

  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 […]

Card Sorting Doesn’t Cut the Custard

Why I don’t use Card Sorting Card sorting is a simple technique in User Experience Design where a group of   users are guided to arrange subject-headings under pre-determined categories or into groups which make sense to them. For example, a card labelled “apples” might logically sit under a category labelled “fruit”. It can be […]

It’s Semantic

Throughout 2009 you’ll probably hear a lot of talk about the semantic web, aka “Web 3.0”. The semantic wave embraces previous stages of internet growth. The first stage, Web 1.0, was about connecting information and getting on the net. Web 2.0 is about connecting people – the web of social networks and participation. This was […]


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 […]

It’s about the experience…

While Provoke has a golden reputation for being leaders in Microsoft-driven solutions, this doesn’t restrict our dUX (Design & User Experience) team from crafting an awesome experience for other technology platforms. The most recently example is – with the information architecture, visual design and HTML/CSS templates created by Provoke (in close collaboration with the […]

Unravelling Visual Design

At Provoke we’re increasingly focussing on visual design and how this influences a user’s comprehension of content, interactivity and pathways. Moments before unravelling…Coming up with a nice-looking visual design usually isn’t the greatest challenge – the real magic lies in the delicate interplay between the brand, content, navigation pathways, interactive tools and how the visuals […]

FullCodePress : The Aftermath

On Saturday 18 August 2007, teams from Australia and New Zealand competed to build a fully-operational website for a non-profit organisation in 24 hours. No excuses, no extensions, no budget overruns… Press release below. Full coverage, including videos, photos and commentary, over at FullCodePress Code Blacks bring home the trophy Kiwi geeks win trans-Tasman 24-hour […]

geeks gearing up for website olympics

It\’s not often that the geeks get to represent their country in a team sport. That\’s an honour usually reserved for the rugby types, the netballers, and the all-round action stars. More Photos But for seven self-confessed computer nerds, the embarrassment of always being picked last in PE is now a distant memory. This group […]

We’ve Been Skin’n

The Provoke Design & User Experience team had some fun last week when we were given the opportunity to design some ‘skins’ for a beta of the new Sharepoint Community Kit blogging tool. The Community Kit for SharePoint is a set of best practices, templates, Web Parts, tools, and source code that enables you to […]

I’m Hiring (Again…)

When you see the latest jaw-dropping feature from Flickr, 37signals, ZoomIn, TradeMe or [your favourite website], do you think, “how on earth did they do that”? Do you then dig around the browser code, scour the web, read the blogs and try and actually find out HOW they did it? Ever tried to DO it […]

Filtering Out Advanced Search

Last year I designed a prototype of an advanced search system for Student Job Search (SJS). I’d taken inspiration from the iTunes ‘smart playlist’ feature and created an ultra flexible tool for students to add multiple layers of search phrases and criteria. Then a few months ago SJS asked us to build the search for […]

I’m Hiring

Well, strictly speaking, Provoke is hiring… I’ve now been working as the Director of Design & User Experience at Provoke for just under two years – in that time my small team has been flat-out conducting user research, usability reviews, designing conceptual models, information architectures and interaction designs for webapps, mobile devices and folk songs. […]

BankDirect vs Kiwibank

It’s one of those strange things about my world – every time I criticise a company or Government department the next day they’re nominated for an award (or even actually win something). It happened with Statistics NZ and the Online Census and now it has happened with Kiwibank. Kiwibank wins 2006 Sunday Star-Times Cannex Banking […]

When the Web Was Young

Glimpses of zef[a]media between 1995 and 1999 – courtesy of the Wayback Machine… [Note: Wayback Machine isn’t perfect, some links and images are missing]. 1995 I’ve been scouring the archives to find versions of this website from 1994-95, but all I could recover was this logo… 1996/1997 This homepage wouldn’t pass usability tests these days! […]

Microsoft Bridging the Gap Between Developers, Designers and the User Experience

This article originally appeared on Digitalmelon, and is re-blogged here with the kind permission of Chandima Kulathilake. Chan has been recently evaluating new Microsoft technologies for User Interface Design – in what is just the start of Microsoft recognising interactive designers as integral to software – better enabling them to deliver an engaging User Experience. […]

Gold-plated Paper

Dealing in software design I often work with budgets worth many more times than my car (and sometimes as large as my 25-year mortgage). And because I often work in the early stages of web projects what I’m delivering to clients is usually nothing more than concepts on paper. When the end-product is merely conceptual […]

Bob’s Webstock Lyrics Uncovered!

In an exclusive scoop, Zef brings you the original lyrics from Bob’s legendary Webstock performance on May 25. Those who were lucky enough to be present at Webstock may notice a few differences from the improvised live performance, including “Flickr’d” substituted for “Google”, and “pointing device” exchanged for “mouse” – just like a good CSS, […]

Taking Stock…

Well – Webstock was a blast. Here’s snippets from my seven days of coffee and haze… Sunday (PM) I join the Provoke crew to wine and dine the phenomenally busy Kelly Goto. Monday Running a packed UPANZ event with Kathy Sierra + Bert Bates… Kathy gives us plenty of food for thought – Phil and […]

‘Absolute Beachfront’ by 2050

What will New Zealand look like in 20 years if we don’t have fresh Water, are still dependant on Oil and human-induced Climate? A sea-level rise of 5m will make my house ‘absolute beachfront’.To debate this I recommend you subscribe to Future Blog – which has a focus on Wellington/New Zealand environmental issues. It’s well […]

Environmentally Friendlier Pop-ups

Old fossil Web1.0 technologies (such as pop-ups) continue to pollute our browsing environment and are hampering progressive and sustainable navigation. So, in one of my previous blogs I declared “War on Pop-Up Pollution“. In this issue I look at some alternative techniques to “display information within information”. Why Pop-ups Are Evil Forced Consumption’¦ According to […]

Meantime, in my day job…

Recent success stories from the Provoke coal face (where I manage a small team of interaction designers)… The National Bank of New Zealand’s new plastic fantastic personalised photo cards have been so popular that oil prices in New Zealand have shot up yet again. During beta-testing I cheekily tried submitting this cartoon of a rabbit […]

Online Census Flopped?

The online census attracted less than half the expected number the Dominion Post reported yesterday. Less than half the expected number of people filled out the new Online Census.The paper reported that Statistics NZ had hoped that 15-20 per cent of the population would complete the census online, based on dry runs conducted last year […]

Just “waiting for the real thing?”

Ever had a brilliant idea that could potentially ‘spice-up’ a business, the world wide web, or the planet? Like many creative people my great ideas often stay “just ideas”. They tend to languish and then fade away. Except, in my case they don’t always fade away – a few abandoned concepts have come back to […]

Students Treated to Defensive Design

The Student Job Search website has been relaunched, but at first glance you wouldn’t notice much of a difference… While the visual design has largely remained untouched – most of the work has gone in to turning a potentially arduous registration process in to something digestable and usable for both students and employers. Provoke’s ethos […]

ZoomIn BloomIn Brilliant

Zoomin is a New Zealand dynamic street map site, where you can zoom, pan and navigate around the map in real time. Sound Googlesk? Well, it is, but better. What I really like about it is the user experience – it’s uncluttered and simple to use – minimal navigation and appropriate use of AJAX. And, […]

TV3 Website Gives Me Nightmares

Just when I thought the web was actually going through a revival with usability, web standards, AJAX taking hold – and New Zealanders actually starting to churn out some pretty decent websites – TV3 had to come along and trash the party. Obviously TV3′s web designers needed a ‘What’s Hot/What’s Not’ list – so I’ve […]

Foto Blotto

It was my first exploration into the brave new world of ordering photo-prints online. I thought the experience would be simple… Visit a website Upload a bunch of photos I want printed Choose the size and format Enter my address and credit card details Then forget about it a for a few days… …until “viola!” […]

Trade Me Your Region

The Trade Me ‘change my region’ feature assumes New Zealanders are hermits – never leaving the comfort of their internet device, home, street or town. I live and work in more than one region.The purpose of ‘change my region’ is to allow people to search for goodies in ‘their region’ (or, alternatively, over the whole […]

Designing for Loyalty

Astute web designers do more than just design with your customers in mind- they actually design with your customers- in person. Zef Fugaz looks at ways to get your users on board, and looks at New Zealand success stories. This article originally appeared in Unlimited Magazine (June 2004) The dotcom crash taught the young web […]

Kissing the Lips of E-govt

Achieving e-Government compliance for public sector websites will require a makeover that’s greater than skin-deep. Zef Fugaz looks at the realities of putting public service websites on the operating table and making them skip to an e-Government beat. Trevor has spoken. By 2006 all public service websites will have to be well and truly on […]