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Creating the Concept
The BBC has been responsible for some of the world's best natural history programs; from classic series such as Blue Planet and Planet Earth to the stunning new production Life.
Creative agency The Brooklyn Brothers are currently running BBC Worldwide’s global ad campaign - Life Is - to coincide with the broadcast of the Life series around the world and to promote their natural history programs on DVD/Blu-Ray. They came to Fi because of our track record of innovative conceptual thinking, engaging portfolio of campaign sites and proven expertise of online video delivery, and we immediately began working out the concept for the site.
With access to the BBC's incredible archive of footage, our brief was to create a website that gave users the ability to immerse themselves in a collection of beautiful images and video, which was organized into monthly themes such as “Life Is...Amazing”.
The key to the site was the content; we wanted to put world-class videos and images front-and-center, and not hide them behind unnecessary interface clutter. The overall Life Is brand is playful, organic, engaging and aimed at all ages, so we had to develop an interaction concept for the site that reflected it. We came up with a reactive, liquid interface that adapted to the site's functionality and allowed the user to focus on the rich content. Through extensive use of prototyping, UI experiments and user testing we refined the overall user experience before embarking on the full production - saving a lot of valuable time later in the process.
Aside from creating a unique concept, the key challenge was enabling users to explore the rich catalogue of footage. We designed an intuitive searching mechanism that is both simple and fun - users can drag sliders to filter content based on speed, temperature and location, as well as choose by color or BBC program.
It was imperative to inject a sense of community and intelligence into the site, without requiring too much effort from users, or distracting them from the content. So we came up with “buzz” – a system that allows users to quickly post comments or say they like content items, but also relates content items together. The end result is that the site’s recommendations for similar content come from the actual users themselves.
Aside from the interface itself, we needed to build a technical platform that integrated with the BBC's existing video delivery system, as well providing an advanced tagging and content relationship engine. Each item within the system has been rated, related and tagged so that on the front-end we can retrieve content that matches the user’s preferences. Beyond this we engineered extensive management and analytics functionality to measure the performance of the site and coordinate it with other elements of the overall campaign.
A collection of components from BBC Life Is...
BBC Earth and The Brooklyn Brothers
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