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Interactive Annual 15:
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Nike+ Human Race

Launch Live Site

“A true interactive experience that merges the physical and digital worlds. It cleanly delivers information to the user that is easy to find and navigate.” —Edward J. Heinz Jr.

“Engaging people’s individual passion to turn a local sport into a worldwide, history-making, running collective.” —Amber Bezahler


Overview: On August 31, more than 800,000 runners, from every corner of the globe, raced against each other in the Nike+ Human Race with Nike+ enabled shoes, effectively blurring the lines between the physical and virtual worlds. With a little help from technology, runners around the globe came together, virtually and in-person, to challenge and inspire each other and raise money for some very worthy causes. The online experience created a place for participants to sign up for the race, choose one of three global charities to run for, set up team challenges, customize training programs and check to see if they’d won.

  • • On race day, blog features allowed regional content providers to post content in their native language.
  • • Race information—start times, end times and results—were displayed on an interactive map on the homepage.
  • • A media player not only played music and video, but also allowed users to buy the tracks on iTunes.

Comments by Donald Oliver, Thomas Chan and Cesar Marchetti

How did your relationship with the client evolve over the course of the project? “Our relationship with Nike was a key ingredient in the success of this project. The size and scope of the Nike+ Human Race extended far beyond the site; it was critical that we kept the overall goals of the event, and Nike’s goal for Nike+, top of mind with every decision. Having a partnership in place with that common perspective, and having these goals at the forefront of our decision-making process, allowed us to focus on delivering a successful platform.”

Were there any specific demands that made the project easier or harder? “The Nike+ Human Race was a very difficult project to staff, which had nothing to do with our capabilities, or resourcing; the problem was that everyone wanted to run the race. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to participate. However, we were able to set up a system of shifts that allowed several of our team members to break away to run.”

What development tools did you use? “We used Flash to deliver most of the rich graphical content. The best examples are the Human Race Map, the multipurpose Hero Space and the City Selector. But instead of creating an entire Flash site, we elected to build an HTML-based platform as a shell to hold the components. JavaScript was the glue that held the HTML and Flash components together, creating a seamless experience. The approach allowed us to be highly flexible in our Flash development and it allowed regional content managers to be more selective about the experience offered to their users.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Integrating the site into Nikeplus.com was quite a feat, done in an incredibly short amount of time. One of the things that people may not notice is how much work went into the design and layout. The vision for the design was clear, but we had to account for a very large amount of content and imagery; it also needed to be accessible all over the world and the design had to be flexible enough to display many different languages. We had many issues with multi-byte characters, such as those found in Chinese, Spanish and Turkish. To address those problems, we wrote our own version of SIFR to display characters in those languages using a custom font because, at the time, it did not support multi-byte characters.”

Credits

Wade Convey, art director
Jared Elms/Eissa Shively/Todd Brown, writers
Jim Hord/Natalie Lam/Can Misirlioglu, creative directors
Jill Nussbaum /Robert Rasmussen, executive creative directors
Alberto Botero/Heidi Miller, strategy
Masha Ioveva, interactive designer
Daisy Dai, designer
Thomas Chan/Michael Mosley/Michael Piccuirro, technical leads
Vincent DiBartolo/Thomas Harris, engineers
Lee Walling, developer
Josh Balik/Sarah Grant/Michael Mosley/Michael Randolph/Simon Tam/Henry Tseng/Tai U, Flash programmers
Diego Aguilar/Adam Jesberger/Steve Peck, graphic designers
Cesar Marchetti, design director
Jesse Beller/Chris Shimojima/Bharat Vohra, visuals editor
Josh Baron/Jerome Thelia/Eric Wagner/Chad Yapyapan, animation
Laura Pence, motion graphics
Mark Voelpel/Kirill Yeretsky, visual effects supervisors
Mike Frank, sound designer
Guy Helson, line producer
Jordana Reim, agency producer
James Juo/Donald Oliver, senior producers
Dan Jurow, executive producer
Nick Coronges, executive director
Vin Farrell, production manager
Sean Lyons, management director/production
Dayna Vecsi, post production supervisor
Nauman Hafiz, quality assurance
R/GA, project design and development
Nike, client