premium subscriber content
Interactive Annual 13:
A clever and subtle way to attract worldwide attention to a social problem.
It is pure pleasure to play all three games and nothing in the design distracts
you from the purpose of the site. Vas Sloutchevsky
The approach on this project really impressed me. While a standard site that
explained the subject matter in a big block of text would have sufficed, the creators
took a huge leap and let the audience experience the effects of deafness firsthand.
Every experience drove home the message loud and clear. Simple and effective.
Using experiential games, this innovative
site brings the effect of specific hearing impairments home to its visitors. Intended
to produce empathy and understanding, What Noise? also serves as a fundraising vehicle
for the client.
- Built with Adobe Flash, Photoshop and Audition
- 3 interactive games
- $70,000 raised as of May 2007
This was a challenging
project because all we had were pages of facts and figures to work with. Unfortunately,
hard facts about the disability were never going to be enough to get peoples
attention, so we persuaded the client to allow us to explore a more from-left-field
way of presenting this information, one that would capture a persons attention.
Through interactivity, we placed the user in the position of a hearing-impaired
In order for the site to work, it had to be stealthy. We had to sell visitors
on a message that, though considerable, is easily ignored in this day and age if
presented using traditional methods. We needed to draw people in by playing on their
With this in mind, we came up with a rather vague-sounding, yet relevant,
URL whatnoise.org as our working title. Then we set about finding ways
to relate the experiences of a hearing-impaired child to the user. After several
brainstorming sessions, we decided that the best way to go about it would be to
use very simple games to engage and entertain the users. It was no easy
task. The game ideas needed to be relevant and, at the same time, not come across
as overly contrived.
Eventually, we crafted three micro games, each one specifically relating to
a symptom of the disability. The first levels are all relatively easy to complete.
But, when it comes to the second levels, the user begins to feel physical challenge
and will find it almost impossible to complete the task. At that point, when they
feel the frustration and the plight of these children, relevant information is revealed
Its only after playing the game and returning to the homepage, when
the logo and a menu bar with more information appear, that visitors discover that
the site is actually for a charity.Sean Lam
Sean Lam, creative director
Sean Lam/Francis Tan, art directors
Alex Goh, writer
Francis Tan, interface designer/developer
Kinetic Singapore, project design and development
Hear and Be Heard Fund, Centre for Hearing Intervention & Language, National
University Hospital, client