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Robert Zimmerman
April 2010
NatGeo Interactive
posted:
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.
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