IDEAS | BLOG

Longform, Accessibility, Virtual Reality…

"What We’re Talking About" is a weekly blog series featuring the articles, websites, topics, and trends that the Forum One team has been chatting about around the office.

Fresh on the heels of our presentation “Should I Longform?” at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, we took a look at Beyond Prison, an in-depth piece on the way prisoners serve time in the United States. Overall a powerful piece, and we found ourselves admiring all the small details sprinkled throughout the experience: the table of contents that sits at the bottom of each section to guide you to the next one, the typography, and the use of imagery and video. We’re also glad to see more of these sites featuring credits—so much work goes into a piece like this, all involved definitely deserve a shout out.

We admired Arts Access Victoria’s new website, a fantastic example of a website that meets accessibility standards without compromising design. Beautiful typography, innovative layout, and an extensive, harmonious color palette. We do wish we knew what the color coding pattern was on the News page...if there is one. But other than that—great work from Australian Studio Thick that’s led to a post-launch 30% increase in sessions and users. Design and function working together beautifully.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are two emerging technologies that we’re definitely keeping an eye on, especially with the recent release of Oculus Rift. This week we appreciated one of the first great representations of what it’s like to be in a VR environment. This definitely got us talking and looking forward to finding ways to integrate VR and AR into our client work in the future.

And then there was April Fools Day. Sigh. It seems like every brand out there was trying to catch us off guard, and few of them did. In a sea of pranks it’s hard to stand out, but Virgin America managed to get attention, probably because they released their “Labor of Love” a day early and got people talking before other brands had even gotten started. Their “rebrand” announcement was a tongue-in-cheek reenactment of some recent large rollouts, replete with painfully overwrought brand language, and even a CEO getting involved in the design process by drawing hilarious, quasi-NSFW sketches on napkins. Kudos to them for a spot-on prank...and not so much to Google, who learned an important lesson that users have muscle-memory when interacting with the interfaces they use daily.

Continuing on rebrands, while we try not to judge too quickly on rollouts since it’s hard to know the parameters of a project and how the design was shaped by client back-and-forth (and more importantly design-bashing is rarely productive)…we struggled to find something positive to say about Rhode Island’s new brand. Seems like a lot of people felt the same way and the brand (but not the logo) is being rolled back. It’s a shame to see work go to waste, but...definitely back to the drawing board for Rhode Island.

And finally, could we solve the locker riddle? By the time I had finished watching the great animation, one of our Senior Developers Alex Ford had written a line of code to solve it and that was that. Yes. Yes, we (ehm, Alex) could.