Companies team with Google for Smithsonian exhibit
Ever wanted to create your own doodle on the Google homepage?
Three local companies — Digital Deployment, Fuel Creative Group and JM Design — teamed up to create two web-based kiosks enabling you to do just that. They’re located in the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York City.
“Doodle 4 Google: If I Could Do Anything, I Would…” features the kiosks alongside 40 doodles from children whose art finishes the sentence, “If I could do anything, I would…” The winning drawing was featured on the Google homepage last month. The kiosks also debuted in the exhibit last month, allowing visitors to draw custom doodles and e-mail them to themselves or friends from the museum site, said Carol Davydova, Fuel’s business developer.
Google contacted Digital Deployment for help on the project because they had worked together before, said owner and CEO Mac Clemmens. Clemmens and his team of four sub-contracted a small design team from Fuel, which was led by Brent Rector, as well as Flash programmer Jason McWhorter of JM Design. Google also contracted a kiosk designer from the Bay Area.
“It was fast-paced and had a lot of unknowns that we had to solve,” Rector said. “Google let us do what we thought was best. We had feedback to make sure it was within their standard.”
Digital Deployment and Fuel had worked together on a number of web design projects such as WEAVE, Inc., and Make a Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles, but this was their first time working with McWhorter. Fuel also has a working relationship with The Sacramento Press, consulting on site design and creating marketing and promotional materials.
“I think Fuel has a reputation for outstanding design,” Clemmens said. “We specialize in web, and they specialize in design. We work together on a lot of stuff and we’re like two parts of a whole. Anything that’s web-based, we can put it together.”
Considering it was the team’s first attempt at such creating such a product, things didn’t all go to plan. The kiosk had a last minute change to be more Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, and due to a change in monitor size, the team had to scramble. May 17, one day before the exhibit opened, Google sent Clemmens to fix the problem.
Clemmens had to reprogram the website to fit the screen as well as ensure the kiosk’s software was secure. He stayed up until 5 a.m., slept for a few hours, and returned for the grand opening. Along with the children and great fanfare came more problems.
“All these kids came pouring into the room and (the kiosk) started going really slow,” Clemmens said. “Google asked me to stay one more day, so they asked a bunch of contractors to drill more wires into the computer.”
Even the security guards were seen drawing on the kiosk.
“I just got a kick out of the whole thing,” McWhorter said. “Even though (Google) are institutional clients, (the kiosk) can show that a website can empower anything.”
The following are videos of the kiosk, taken by Clemmens:
2: Fuel’s design of the interface