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Above a bakery in Portland, Oregon, a unique group of storytellers are quietly changing museum and exhibit experiences all over the world. In this Creative Inspirations documentary, we meet Second Story, creators of award-winning interactive projects for clients that include the Getty Museum, National Geographic, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Smithsonian Institution, just to name but a few.
Founders Julie Beeler and Brad Johnson introduce us to their uniquely talented studio where their signature interactive design is conceived and produced. Second Story creates immersive adventures that educate and entertain through compelling visuals, touch and play, and inspiring participation through curiosity.
We follow the team as they reveal one of their latest triumphs, the Age of Mammals exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, designed to both please the doctorates and the first graders who participate in their finished project.
(Music playing.) Heather Daniel: One of the unique things about the studio is that the designers are also the user interface designers, the architects; they're really thinking through the entire experience. So that's something that's very special, and I think a special talent set that we have with our designers. Jennifer Guibord: So they're thinking about an experience, in addition to visual design. What we do is we put together packages similar to this.
This is our wireframing package for one of our presentations, the Exhibit Kiosks that is going into L.A. Heather Daniel: What I really like about the wireframes is it forces us as designers, developers, producers, the whole team, to really think through the user experience. Devoid of design, this is just really concrete: how is the user going to use the interactive? I think this is a great moment for us to really ask the hard questions. Jennifer: Each one of these allows us to illustrate to the client that there is multiple functions in this kiosk.
So when you're on this screen, the visitor is standing in front of a kiosk where they can zoom a timeline, and they can explore geologic time. As they explore geologic time, the map changes, the continents move, and different stories come to life. So as these wireframes are coming together, we're working on prototypes. Heather: Seeing the transition from wireframes to prototype is we get a lot of those answers of like, "This isn't working well," or "This is not a good user experience," or "This isn't intuitive." Jennifer: Both internal and client team can go, "This is great, but I totally didn't see how I was supposed to get back to that map.
It got lost on me." Then we know we have a challenge going into design that we need to make everything that's advertised on this screen clear to the visitor, because people are missing the fact that I can do this, or missing the fact that I can go back to that. Heather: That's a lot cheaper. It's a lot easier to find those mistakes in the prototype than it is to get all the way into beta and realize, you know what? I can't get back to looking at the map, or I can't see the species that I want to. So, the prototype is a really great moment for us.
It can be a hard moment for us when we realize that what we've been working on for a couple of months, and feel pretty strongly about, is not really the right solution.
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