Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Couple of months ago I went on a field trip to visit Castelo Branco’s Environmental Center, a museum dedicated to explore the nearby International River Tagus Park (Parque Internacional do Rio Tejo).
I rode along with our Art Director and the Account Manager responsible for the project, the best tour guides one could hope for. It’s always interesting to learn how a project is born and evolves, how they nailed a particular concept or what changes they had to accommodate along the way.
Everything looked impeccable, with every application running smoothly and the industrial / interior design fitting perfectly with the environment. Our projects division is growing every year, and so is the overall quality of our interactive environments.
One of the things that I really noticed, though, were the interfaces. We’ve come a long way in designing interactive installations, and the experience we have amassed is really showing, both in programming and designing the applications.
On one hand, every installation featured a different interface, keeping things fresh and interesting for visitors, on the other hand, they were really intuitive, bringing learning curves to a minimum while featuring some neat tricks that keep users engaged.
Take the interactive table where users can learn about car tours in the region, for example. You can select and visualize different routes, and find more information about suggested points of interest. But you can also freely move the car around the map, watching it perform sharp turns and frantic racing around the map. It’s useless, yes, but still fun – and part of the experience.
I was also very curious to see how the interactive kayak would work. You hop on a real kayak, grab the paddle, and descend a section of the River tagus, projected right in front of you. You use the paddle to steer the kayak and can access multimedia information, when steering in specific directions. It works really well, and the fact that it is located in a separate room, with sound effects, scores points for immersion and learning.
There are several other installations and plenty to explore about the center, so you can either go to our website and see more pictures or, even better, go visit the center.