Designing a way to access an online database for Project Quartz

Flux, thinkstep, Health Building Network, and Google(x) launched a startup for the public good: Quartz Project, a collaborative open-data initiative designed to help owners, architects, and designers plan better buildings.

Under the umbrella of Catabolic Design, Martha paired with another interaction designer/client liaison to shape the site's content strategy, website UI, and interaction design. Martha also worked with the client to craft an appropriate brand identity. 

The launch date for the website was tight: four weeks until a major industry conference. We collaborated tightly with Flux to determine who the audience was, what design would be most impactful for the conference, what the brand should look like, and how the site and database could be scaled up at a later date.

The compressed timescale and close collaboration drew from a more agile work cycle, as Flux's developers were working while we were designing. We used several Goal-Directed Design® techniques to move the design forward, including sketched personas and workflows.  

Our work made it easy for visitors to browse for ideas, explore commonalities, conduct comprehensive analyses, and offer feedback.

Whiteboard sketch of common product database interface with interaction notes 

Whiteboard sketch of common product database interface with interaction notes 

Wireframe of common product database interface. This is one screen from a series of storyboarding.

Wireframe of common product database interface. This is one screen from a series of storyboarding.

The visual design is based on the Swiss Modern style, a look associated with standards, straightforwardness, and facts.

The visual design is based on the Swiss Modern style, a look associated with standards, straightforwardness, and facts.