Zebradog


Zebradog is an award-winning interactive multimedia design firm. We built solutions for Aurora Healthcare, Northwestern University, Saudi Aramco, UW-Madison, and others in various industries.

Lessons Learned

  • You can teach an old dog (pun intended) new tricks: teaching a 20-year-old organization how to be more agile has its benefits.
  • Interactive multimedia ("environmental graphic design") is a unique design/technology challenge, and while testing is important, it's mostly in the form of dogfooding.
  • Your users, in this setting, are passersby. They have no idea what you're building, and there aren't any trends to rely on, so designing for discoverability is crucial.

About

Zebradog is an environmental graphic design firm located in Madison, WI who specializes in creating immersive, branded experiences for their clients. Zebradog’s multidisciplinary team of architects, graphic designers, and software developers blend the physical and digital realms, creating novel digital applications of technology for interactive multimedia and website design.

Technology

Working with Zebradog gave me the opportunity to work with an extremely talented team as well as push the limits of web technology in the interactive multimedia space. During my time at Zebradog, we made the decision to move away from the technology the company had previously used (Quartz Composer) and toward embracing the developing world of web technology, which lead us to experiment with a lot of new technology, such as Three.js (for WebGL), Zigfu (for Kinect), and many Javascript touch libraries.

The other branch of Zebradog’s Digital Team built beautiful, well-structured, and highly usable websites for clients. Built mainly on Drupal, ZD’s sites traditionally had not been responsive or mobile-friendly, which is another point I stressed while working with ZD. Mid-State Technical College serves as an example of the first mobile-first design project Zebradog completed.

Process

One of my proudest achievements during my time with Zebradog was the ability to migrate the company from what had essentially been a waterfall process (customer –> project manager –> designers –> developers –> customer) to an agile process for digital projects. In the new process, the PM gathered requirements from the customer and came back to the core team (which consisted of the project’s Lead Developer, Lead Designer, and myself), where we would collaboratively translate the requirements into proto-user stories (I was too young/inexperienced to call them that) and sketch out wireframes.

The wireframes were cleaned up and presented back to the customer to make sure we were in line with their expectations before we spent any time on development or visual design. Any iterations needed were made to wireframes until we found consensus, which is when the development and design teams could begin working in parallel. Oftentimes this would free them up to begin laying groundwork that would be needed regardless (e.g. branding, a hosting environment, authorization, etc.)

The new process saved hundreds of hours across 4 projects in my time with the company and delighted customers.


Videos can be found on Zebradog’s Vimeo page, and Zebradog’s Demo page.

Images

Mid-State Technical College Website

Mid-State Technical College Website
Mid-State Technical College Website
Mid-State Technical College Website
Mid-State Technical College Website
Mid-State Technical College Website
Mid-State Technical College Website
Mid-State Technical College Website

Northwestern University Kinect Installation

Northwestern University Kinect Installation
Northwestern University Kinect Installation
Northwestern University Kinect Installation
Northwestern University Kinect Installation

Saudi Aramco Media Wall

Saudi Aramco Media Wall
Saudi Aramco Media Wall
Saudi Aramco Media Wall
Saudi Aramco Media Wall
Saudi Aramco Media Wall

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