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Some recent project work

After my paternity leave, I returned to Shift to find myself playing furious catch-up on a truck load of work.

There have been a number of projects that launched recently that I thought are worth mentioning.

I did a wee "homepage facelift" for the NZ Department of Conservation. Keep in mind, it was a facelift to the homepage only. You can compare it to this screengrab of the old homepage.

The design is 100% pure CSS, with a Flash/XML based slideshow. The butterfly uses a bit of CSS voodoo to display a tool tip box on rollover.

Another project that I recently put to bed was a corporate IT company's website, for Optimation. As you might guess from the company name, working on the project was something straight out of Office Space. I think the client is quite happy and got exactly what they wanted. In terms of my own design satisfaction, I was glad that I pushed for a 100% CSS solution. I'd come up with some interesting techniques - I built the header in a way that is similar to the recently published ALA "Sliding Doors" technique.

Another project that I finished a while back was the redesign of the NewZealand.com homepage. If you go to travel.newzealand.com there's a large animated header, with mini pop-up slideshows. It's a Flash-travaganza. The content for the header is all managed through the Tourism CMS, using dynamically loading XML and JPG files. It was a fairly complex project, coordinating all the various animations and interface elements, plus designing it so that it loads and responds quickly, plus making sure that the interface was clear and intuitive. We did some basic user testing and the results were beyond my expectations - everybody understood exactly how the interface works, they interacted with all the right things in all the right ways, and all of them expressed how impressed they were with the pictures and how exciting it was to explore all the options. Let me know what you think.

Now I'm starting work on another Flash filled spectacular. It's a NewZealand.com promo for the final Lord of the Rings film. It's going to basically consume my life, until the launch on Dec 1. It's funny, cuz I pretty much detest the Lord of the Rings films. I think they're poorly acted, poorly written, and about as boring as watching geeks play D&D. I fell asleep watching the Two Towers. Gollum is fairly brilliant, and represents by far the best acting and writing in the whole film, but that does not carry the rest of the bloated epic.

Having said that, doing the research for the project has been great. I'm really enjoying the behind-the-scenes making of Lord of the Rings. I find that to be far more interesting than the actual films themselves.

Besides projects that I've worked on, there's some other really great work coming out of Shift. The Auckland team just finished a really elegant Flash-umentary on the Haka. Meanwhile, some of the Wellington crew are working on an absolutely stunning design for the new Encyclopedia of New Zealand, which will launch later next year.

November 1, 2003 in creative process, CSS, design, New Zealand, Shift, Web/Tech | Permalink

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