RedShift Now, the Ontario Science Centre’s science content site, launched in spring 2005.
The website pulled content from the same database as the Science Centre’s Weston Family Innovation Centre. I was responsible for the design and much of the architecture, and worked with the Science Centre web team to launch the site and its subsequent versions.
From the floor to the web
The challenge was to take the content from the physical exhibition hall and present it in a way that it was more appropriate for the web.
For example, the touchscreens on which you can flip through the journals of science researchers became Field Diaries, which functions like a blog.
At launch, there were only three offerings, which is why in these initial versions everything links off of the home page.
Implementing a primary navigation was challenging. The user testing we did with teens showed that they’re more likely to search for a specific subject rather than browse by the type of activity offered.
Categorizing content seemed arbitrary; the similarities between RedShift activities are geared only to one niche user group or another. Moreover, the site needed to be organized so that it accommodated future content.
What’s a web designer to do?
I ended up working on the IA for a new version of RedShift that uses a tag-based, non-hierarchical architecture.
Unfortunately, shortly afterward I left the Ontario Science Centre to work at SapientNitro, and it never got built. The RedShift Now website has now been retired and some of its content moved to the main Science Centre site.