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And lo, ready to roll a full week before we take off for Texas, here it is — our Twitter-powered SXSW people-tracker:


For those who haven’t been following the posts and discussions around this project, here’s the story…

Just about all of Made by Many is heading to Austin, Texas for SXSW interactive. Several weeks ago, we decided to build something onto our website to bring our SXSW experience to life for the people who aren’t going to be there with us. We thought this project would also be the perfect occasion to throw the doors open on our creative process and actually share the journey we go through as we work an idea through to a final execution.

This series of posts started with shots of our original approach. We then showed how this idea was refined a few different ways. The third and final instalment in this design journey is above.

The idea for the page is very simple: all of our most recent tweets on one page, updated in real time as it happens.

The design started out as a series of coloured panels, one for each person, laid out on a very regimented grid. However, we all felt that this was a bit strict – it neither reflected our personality nor the event we’re going too.

So we loosened the design up, taking the hand drawn style of our avatars as inspiration. The page is a series of speech bubbles, laid out in a seemingly random and slightly haphazard way. Connected by lines, doodles and graffiti, the speech bubbles change colour with time: the freshest tweets are dark, the stalest white. The page will be darkest when the conference sessions are going on and we’re tweeting non-stop, but completely white in the middle of the night when we’re all sleeping. Except for @malbonster‘s bubble. He never stops.

As well as pulling in our tweets, the page also pulls in the latest photo in our Flickr stream, our latest blog posts, even twitpics. You’ll be able to see more tweets from each person by clicking on their avatar or simply going through to their Twitter stream.

We like the sketchy style and the playful execution. We also think the design has some dynamism to it, that it tells a story and carries your eye through that story fairly easily. All in, we think this is really close to who we are.

This whole ‘designing in public’ thing felt a little strange at points (sort of like being naked in front of a lot of people, I reckon) but we got some interesting feedback here and on other blogs, which was cool. And it’s practice for us to be more open in the future — something we are really committed to doing.

Our SXSW special will be live on Made by Many as of Thursday 11 March.

Sara Williams

Sara Williams

Sara worked as a journalist, copywriter and blogger before joining Made by Many. She loves writing and community building, and accordingly works on content strategy, copywriting and business development.

In her off hours, Sara contributes to several publications, mainly writing about culture, media and international issues. She's very interested in how emerging technologies and corresponding cultural shifts can facilitate lasting social change.

She also recently started Girls' Club, a network for women in the creative industry: