9 months ago



FORM AND FFUNCTION Above Samuel Dupras (developer), Chloé-Ève Levasseur (UX specialist) and Audrée Lapierre (creative director and co-founder) discuss their latest project forwardtousingD3Expressandseeifit fulfilsitspromiseofamoreinteractiveand creative way of designing (and coding) data visualisation.” Withaspecificapproachtoeach project, how has FFunction approached itsrecruitment?Audréeexplains:“Most FFunction’s employees come from multidisciplinarybackgrounds.Wehave adeveloperwithabackgroundin educationanddesign.Amarketing director with an art history degree. An artdirectorwithaMastersinengineering. Ourprojectmanagerhasachemistry degree(and,incidentally,isalsoa certified yoga teacher). “We look for smart people with a rich knowledge base who can look at a problem from several angles and find the most creative, functional solution. We also want to maintain our commitment to the advancement of women from coding to leadership, so we make sure the composition of the team is at least 50 per cent women. We also hire for team culture fit; we want people who are interested in staying current in terms of their outlook andskillset.Andwewantpeoplethat we’re happy to eat lunch with every day too! It’s a small, close-knit team, and there’s no room at FFunction for big egos or jerks. “In terms of design positions, we never hire pure information designers. We hire graphicdesignerswithapassionfor information design. This is an important distinction because employees need to be able to work on a wide spectrum of projects and we always need the ‘form’ as well as the ‘function’. Honestly a lot of people who specialise in information design simply don’t have strong aesthetic skills, or don’t understand typography.” And Audrée advises: “My advice to designers looking for work is this: design a super tight CV, and publish new work regularly. Create interesting side projects that show off your skills and interest areas.” The future will increasingly become even more data driven. For FFunction this means a landscape it can shape. “We’re actually in a very exciting phase right We also want to maintain our commitment to the advancement of women from coding to leadership, so we make sure the composition of the team is at least 50 per cent women now,” Audrée concludes. “FFunction is launching its first product; a project planning tool called Min. We’re developing this software because, honestly, we’ve tried just about every project management tool on the market, and none of them were that great at servicing the needs of an agency. “Min will allow the user to quickly make a project timeline and track budgets, projects and resources. But I think the clincher is this: Min auto-calculates the best delivery dates based on your task dependencies and current team availability. I always wished that we had that capability at our fingertips when planning client projects, it would have been so useful. “The response so far to Min has been extremely enthusiastic; we’ve signed up more than 600 people for early access to the beta without doing any advertising. That tells us that other people are feeling just as frustrated with the current tools on the market as we are and there is demand for this combination of features. 40 __________________________________________________profile

AIGA Justified 2014 - Winner 2014 GRAFIKA 2015 - 100 Best Projects 2015 FORM AND FFUNCTION HP EARTH INSIGHTS hts FFUNCTION FOUNDER SébastienPierreandAudréeLapierre YEAR FOUNDED 2008 CURRENT EMPLOYEES 9(inhouse) LOCATION Montreal, Canada SERVICES Interactive data visualisation Data-driven applications and portals Infographics Data-rich reports Motion design Earth Insights is an innovative collaboration between HP and Conservation International that applies data-processing technology to monitor biodiversity loss across the world’s tropical forests. Using millions of animal photos captured by camera traps, scientists are able to track how land use, human activity and climate change affect species. FFunction’s mission was to design an interactive touchscreen presentation introducing Earth Insights at HP Discover Barcelona, an industry conference which was attended by approximately 10,000 customers, partners and IT thought leaders. Data-rich visualisations were overlaid on lush forest photography to create an intriguing nature-meetstechnology ambience. The experience was structured to guide the user from a big picture overview to granular data insights through three separate sections that each expressed a different aspect of the data. Using slideshow, timeline, animated map and data visualisation elements, the finished presentation told stories about threatened animals around the world, the conservationists who are working to protect them and the biodiversity trends they are discovering with the help of data-analysis solutions. It also integrated statistics and animal photos from fieldwork sites — all into a seamless, intuitive layout that captivated visitors to the exhibit and won over the jury of the AIGA Justified Design Competition in 2014. Here’s what AIGA juror Christopher Simmons had to say: “This is an awe-inspiring, seductive and immersive display of quantitative information that expertly treads the line between gratuitous technological flash and accountable and decodable data. It’s a triumph of interaction and experience design.” “FFunction will still remain FFunction; we’re not planning on phasing out any our service offerings or pivoting into a product company. Interactive dataviz is what we’re most well-known for and there is still a high demand for it. But there is another area of our work that has been growing almost exponentially over the last four years: UX for large-scale data-driven applications. Going forward, I can see that becoming a very core part of what FFunction has to offer.” The need to understand the increasing quantities of data being generated by businesses has always been important. Data has now become a highly valuable currency. Studios like FFunction help businesses and organisations make sense of the shifting sea of information to clearly communicate their messages. And these messages can be designed to not only deliver their insights, but also illustrate how beautiful that information can be. As information denizens, the creatives at FFunction are on the cutting-edge of digital design. Right Connecting the masses of data to the real-world impact deforestation is having on wildlife is bought to life with engaging images and dataviz design profile___________________________________________________ 41

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