"An ingenious idea. By combining dozens of tiny singular widgets, it gives people the feeling that they can see what is happening 'right now' on the entire Internet." —juror Jay Zasa
"This inventive and clever widget aggregator gives people the sense that they're tapped into the collective consciousness of the moment." —juror Amber Bezahler
Overview: Designed to be enough of a spectacle to gain momentum virally, no advertising drove to this carefully-curated dashboard of live feeds, cams, counters and animating facts. All on a single page, it streams live and was targeted at everyone who uses the Internet. Promoting Sprint's Mobile Broadband Card—the card that provides high-speed Internet—it's the world's largest widget. Users can add themselves to the site via Webcam, play a Pong-like game in real-time and compare the buzz of any two things on the Internet right now. Visitors can also download the entire site as a mini widget for use on the desktop or social-networking page.
• Everything is a live feed, live cam or animating real-time fact that the team worked long and hard to get permission to use.
• Flash 9 AS3 was used on the front-end—which is where most of the work took place—and the backend was done with PHP.
• The site took about three months to complete.
Comments by Mandy Dietz and Aaron Dietz:
How did this project compare with others you've worked on in the past? "The idea of a Web site that's just teeming with live information excited us, and then seeing it come to life was a real joy. You know you're onto something cool when, during the creation, coworkers come in and say, 'Ooh, what's that?' Not all projects go that way. So often as advertisers we try to boil down our ideas to something simple. In this case it was just the opposite, and that's what made it fun.
Were you pleased with the results? "The response online was overwhelming—the site was mentioned in over 100,000 blogs, including some of our personal favorites, like Boing Boing and the Wall Street Journal. It even made its way into New York Magazine's approval matrix, on the brilliant side, right next to Spider-Man. "Since launch, we've had over 500,000 visitors to the site, with an average time spent at five minutes (for a one-page site!). Over 25,000 people have visited the product page and over 15,000 people have downloaded the mini widget. There have been over 130,000 postings across blogs, with over 15 million estimated total reach from those blogs and currently over 2,600 users have bookmarked the widget on sites like Delicious. After experiencing the site, thousands of people immediately clicked through to get the card."
Please comment on the site structure. "There's a loader and main SWF that control the whole application, an intro SWF and also an SWF for each little widget. A couple of XML files defines all of the widgets generically, for instance how wide and tall they each are, their names and whether or not they have a feed as well as the actual layout of the widgets (in the small downloadable versions, this layout is randomized). "If a widget has a feed, it gets a server-side script file of the same name. Results of any particular feed are cached on the server and after a certain amount of time the server hits the feed again. The truly great thing about the site is that it's completely self-sufficient–it updates its own content."