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NatGeo Interactive
posted: April 20, 2010
Got sleep? National Geographic gave us the call recently to program an online survey based on just that question. One week deadline!

What NatGeo wanted: Ten illustrated questions. Four possible answers for each question. Four final results based on how the ten questions were answered. Finally, choose one of four faces that you post to Facebook.

Here's a link to the final result.

For this assignment, I had to pull out some dusty illustration skills (such as they are), which I hadn't put to use in nearly nine years. While struggling with the doodles for this interactive, it occured to me that what I'd really like to be doing is collaborating with a real illustrator to make this project really pop. It's something to think about for the next interactive we're asked to do. Cool javascript written right here, illustrations from somebody that really makes the final project solid.
Details for Dorks

In the past, we did interactives such as this exclusively in Flash. For this one, we programmed the entire interactive in javascript and for certain, this will be the way we handle these sorts of projects going forward. It was faster to deploy, and at the end of the day, it looks better than having to rely on a Flash player. Not only that, it runs on hand-held devices, which Flash currently can not.

Getting our final code delivered to the National Geographic server provided an interesting look under the hood of this major site, which AdWeek recently named as website of the year. We were provided with access to the NatGeo CMS (content management system), which allowed us to simply paste our full code straight into a text field, save and then view. Having designed and delivered CMS systems for the last nine years or so, it wasn't exactly the most intuative or elegant interface, but at the end of the day, it worked and that's all that really matters, one supposes...

It was also a fine thing indeed to team up with Rob Covey again. Rob is heading up online creative for NatGeo these days. Back in the day, Rob made working with US News and World Report a real gas and at NatGeo, he's still making every project a real pleasure.
10 comments
John Dykes April 20, 2010
I like, Robert! Took the test - your drawings are perfect for this.
Tim OBrien April 20, 2010
Good work Zimm. I like all your drawings.
Adam McCauley April 20, 2010
What Tim said! I also think that something important about what you do isn't being addressed: copy. More specifically, copy with personality. Distilled, this translates as Personality. A Zimm site is inherently rich with a basic, clear and attractive personality - beyond the content that it displays.
Zimm April 21, 2010
Thanks much, John Tim and Ad. It was REALLY REALLY REALLY weird for me to have to draw something after so much time away from the board. Honestly, I'd rather not do that and would much prefer to work with active professionals in the future on projects like this. AD - NatGeo did give me a LOT of freedom for inserting my own peculiar brand of copy into this project and I had I LOT of fun with that - thanks for noticing!
Tim OBrien April 21, 2010
It read like Zimm....there is a Zimm style by the way. Dig.
Hanoch Piven April 21, 2010
Definitely there is a Zimm writing style and it is a great one!
Mark Fisher April 21, 2010
Best damn survey I ever t..zzzzzzzzz
Leo Espinosa April 21, 2010
Funny, last might I picked up the last issue of NatGeo from my son's desk and read the article on sleep. Fascinating! It's great seen your drawings again, Zimm. Great pieces (art AND copy)
Richard Downs April 21, 2010
Great work and programming, Maestro!
Victor Juhasz April 21, 2010
I liked the selection of answers to the questions. The drawings are cute.