Sunday, June 29, 2008

Made it right

I was in Bombay when New Orleans was hit with Hurricane Katrina. We as Indians (and most Asians) could really relate to it having gone through the 2004 Tsunami. A lot of foundations, charity organizations, corporate companies or individual donations came forward to help the cause monetarily and otherwise. But maybe there wasn't always a transparent account on how the money reached the victims, or even if it reached at all?

I got to thinking about this while browsing the Make It Right website. Being a Brad Pitt initiative, it surely has got a lot of attention but he takes on the cause to an interactive level.

Such sites make it quick and easy to donate and get a virtual tour on how the money has been working since the donation. MIR gives an option on the amount you want to chip in. You can click into a house besides the amount box and see every room and furniture that will be added to the house. Again, you can pay for anything inside the house.

Some good 3D studio is put in use in their design section giving a clear picture on the house layouts. Besides, there is entire photo and video update on the pink project implemented for large-scale affordable housing for Katrina victims.

A good combination of interactivity and virtual tours makes any project believable. And let’s face it we want to know that our donations have made a real difference.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This is some tasteful cooking

I am guessing the day is not far where we'll be watching live TV shows online. I can imagine Rachael Ray cooking her Spaghetti Aglio Olio on a live web show. And once she’s done she would be standing there answering your questions on food.

Speaking of food and cooking shows, the website I am about to discuss is about the close companion of food. TurboChef features their new oven with your own personal chef guiding you through the product details and recipes.

If you are interested in exploring the TurboChef, just get in and click on the oven and every interior and exterior feature of the oven will make an interactive orbit. Continue clicking the oven body-part you are seeking to know more, and the selection will get larger.

I forgot to mention that this is one good-looking oven. I didn’t know ovens are supposed to look this delicious. Moving on to the most interesting part – your personal chef. Chef Charlie (in flesh and blood) will walk within the screen and show you some recipes possible in the oven.

Start with selecting ‘cook a dish’ link, and a dial will appear asking you the time you have to prepare a dish. Voila, the chef walks in and suddenly you feel you are watching TV.

The magic of the web amazes me, and more than that it always has new possibilities. The web world comes with a promise that web designers and engineers won’t run out of new and exciting interactive tools.

Happy surfing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Virtual rides

In my accidental surfing experiences I have come across many websites that have a great marriage between design and interactivity. There is an unlimited supply of interactive tools that indulge us and going forward in the multimedia era it never hurts to explore what’s out there.

Perhaps as a student of multimedia journalism it will help keep a dairy on websites with an edge in design and content. Car companies have been stretching every cord of interactivity to give you a thorough experience.

It’s simple yet extremely sophisticated in design and interactivity. One such example is the Volkwagen site. Once you get in, there is a plethora of play-and-explore features. You can just pick a model and get every detail of the model. The deeper you go and you wont feel the need to visit the showroom.

You can configure your own model to your needs (from engine to color) and get a quote. It was fun seeing the virtual spray paints changing my Tiguan’s color. It’s playtime for car junkies.

The 'Volkswagen World' section goes into their involvement with racing sports. There is smooth amalgam of videos, flash features and interactivity. The entire tour gives you every aspect there is to know on your favorite ride. What's left is actually driving the wheel.

Interestingly there are many others keeping watch on the funny, amazing and breakthrough websites. Here’s a video I stumbled across on Youtube. This fellow is presenting his collection of funny websites.

Bye surfoholics.