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- July 16, 2012
The Range Rover Evoque is a radical new direction for the classic vehicle brand. Smaller, cooler and aimed at a new audience, it represents a turning point in the company’s history. As part of a massive global PR campaign, Fi was asked to come up with an innovative interactive concept that could sit at the heart of the campaign. The goal of the project was to bring the key cities around the world to life through the movements of the people in it, with the Range Rover brand at the center of the experience.
Fi decided to launch the project in multiple phases to gradually start raising awareness of the new Evoque brand. The first release of the site was a micro-site detailing the new Evoque and inviting users to download the iPhone application. The app allows users to create customized wallpapers that visualize their journeys through their cities. Users liked this feature so much that we carried it over into the main site’s journey visualizer.
One of the biggest challenges was to create a unique UGC experience that leveraged the offline print campaign for the new Range Rover Evoque. Specifically this meant combining the two primary experiences of exploring the vehicle and one for the Pulse of the City while also tying in a cross-promoted celebrity aspect, which prompted some very creative IA and UX problem-solving.
How do you allow visitors to experience a city’s pulse, movements, voices and culture over time? This was the core of the experience we wanted to bring to the site. From a global view, visitors can see live updates from users of the iPhone and Android apps in real-time as well as input from the ‘City Shapers’ (celebrities) taking part in the campaign.
We brought this dynamic data to life within the cities by showing location-specific user comments, user journeys that can be filtered by time, monthly questions posed to users, and dynamically stylized City Shaper and personal journeys. All of this can be downloaded and shared with friends across popular social tools. We decided not to translate the user generated content to highlight the diversity of users from different cultures around the world.
Visually we wanted to bring the key cities from around the world to life through the movements of the people in it. When you come to the site over time you begin to see the streets of New York, Sydney, Madrid and other cities glowing with colored lines that trace the cities’ streets. The challenge was designing a user generated visualization without knowing how much or how little data there would be and at the same time complementing the sleek style of the new Range Rover Evoque. We achieved this by using a minimal black and white palette with striking neon lights to define the city shape and user journeys.
The iPhone and Android mobile applications are the main way users upload their journeys to the site. We created a fully integrated experience for the mobile application, which allows users to track and archive journeys as well as share them on Facebook and Twitter. We engineered a custom API that the applications access to create users, get URLs for sharing and to store journey information. The challenge was to build applications that balanced the need to collect enough journey information while preserving battery life. Since the applications were available world-wide, we spent a lot of time perfecting localization as well. The iPhone application launched supporting eight languages, but due to the success of the campaign we are already planning on adding more.
We wanted the user experience to be playful and dynamic while supporting some rather intensive map-base animations. A notable challenge from the technical side was to keep the city sounds and map integration light-weight by employing smart tiling methods. One of the most exciting features on the site is the unique time-lapse of city activity which required us to design a scalable, low-latency streaming architecture for journey data. The pulse of the city experience also makes heavy use of geo-IP data and GPS positioning to show the user relevant geo-location data at all times, both on the website and in the mobile app.
Achieving all this meant digging deep into complicated map projections, geometric algorithms and approximated calculations of great-circle distances, bearing, destination points, and proximity of longitude/latitude points on the earth’s surface -- not for the faint of heart.
All tech nerds will also be happy to know that we created an offline processing queue for visualization of wallpapers. This was implemented as a distributed client-server solution over TCP/IP where each client renders OpenGL into a Xvfb virtual framebuffer.
This project was a great engineering and creative achievement considering all the moving pieces required to allow users to download a mobile application, create a journey and upload and share them so easily with their friends and the world. What’s going on in your city?
A collection of components from Range Rover Pulse of the City
December 7, 2010
- Actionscript 3
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