Make Make Make
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My name is Reed Enger, I make complicated things simple. I work at Catalyst studios as an interactive strategist and systems designer. Beginning with investigation and discovery, I draft, design and build platforms to solve problems. I've worked closely with Target, University of Minnesota, and Covidien; and wake up early to make coffee and develop my ever-expanding online art-history book.
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— About Damn Time —
Imagine a textbook that you can google. Where double-clicking a word displays definition and glossary. Where you can highlight the text, print your notes as a study guide, and peek at the passages your classmates saved.
When the Rothenberger Institute approached Catalyst to craft a digital textbook I was delighted. Interaction design is an exercise in attentive dissatisfaction - and I had new ideas for engaging students. While Bryce Howitson developed a user-friendly course-builder for the instructors I focused on the focal points of a student's experience: accessibility, progress, and study.
TO ALL PEOPLE
We wanted to meet students where they're at. Working with Phong Tran, I drafted a platform with the VAK learning models as a loose guide. Lessons as a linear narrative supplemented with images and videos for visual learners - and the ability to 'play' the lessons, or download each as an mp3 for the auditory learners.
As a web application, the platform adapts to the device it's viewed on - on laptop, it's a wide, columned layout - cleanly typeset to Bringhurst's exacting legibility standards, and supported by fold-away search and navigation. On mobile and tablet tap and swipe functions are supported, and lessons are downloadable through iTunes.
Motivating the Exhausted
— Gamifying Progress —
Students abandon textbooks out of fatigue. A seemingly endless text is easy to get lost in, and the only measure of completion is page count. Drawing from our work gamefying social apps we turned each lesson into it's own achievable mini-goal. Combining word count, video length, and average reading speed, we calculated a completion time for each lesson - and graphed the student's place and progress through the course material - using the psychology of completion to fuel the student and make progress tangible.
CAN WE MAKE STUDYING
— Search and Highlight —
Students use different techniques for study than for an initial overview of the material. It's non-linear, kinesthetic learning, and the textbook becomes a reference. Here our platform really shines - expanding the glossary, we created a highlight-to-search function, delivering definitions and the ability to tab through each instance of the searched word. Students can highlight lesson content and export their highlights and annotations into a personalized study guide. Then toggle the classroom view, to see what your classmates have highlighted.
— CATALYST STUDIOS —
Every person at Catalyst Studios carries not only formidable skills, but a honed philosophy of why they work. Bringing a group like this together is beautiful and dangerous - and defining it is all but impossible. We're a squirrely, liquid agency, always evolving. I was asked to build a brand that could evolve with us.
A New Voice
— The Death of a Portfolio —
Catalyst Studios is an iterative company. I replaced the last print designer, completing our transition to a purely interactive agency. We shifted next to business apps, then efficiency and digital consulting. Our transitions were natural, each project opening new insight into what businesses need. While compiling our portfolio it became apparent our history was holding us back. An agency portfolio of TV spots and glossy print ads confused clients who expected production, and were presented with strategy. So our portfolio because a handful of logos, our most well-known and long-term clients - and our site would be a simple story.
A Simple Story
— Unbranding —
Drafting the new website, we talked about our obsession with perfection, our desire to transform, and our confidence that change is always good. Presented in the simplest interaction the web can provide - a single scroll, from top to bottom, I built change into the site and into our new brand. Catalyst doesn't have a brand color. It has black, white, and an ever-shifting highlight hue. A loop of color transitioning from bright to subtle and back. Leading with photos of people inhabiting a space, and the Parallax? I make no excuses - it's animation gives life to the ideas we love.
— Yep, People Like It —
Catalyst's previous website had never generated work. We got requests from hopeful interns and the odd inquiry for business cards. Our two partners doubted that a website could properly sell our expensive strategic and development services, but the site wasn't meant to sell - it was meant to tease - and it worked. The week the site went live we received multiple inquiries from fortune 50 companies, curious about what it meant to step into the future with Catalyst.
Trivium is an art browser: a library of artists and artworks, crosslinked by collection, location, medium, and theme. An ongoing collaboration with artist Rick Love, Trivium attempts to make education more exploratory. A more expanded case study coming soon.
— Creating Luci —
Curating Brands Together
At Catalyst we wrestle with the operational struggles that plague large corporations, and we began to see a common problem - and draft a product to fix it. Brands flex, stretching their niche. And we work with companies who manage multiple brands, where it becomes radically difficult to grasp the whole landscape, understanding brands in relation to each other. So we built Luci. A suite of simple, interlocking apps that allow brand managers collaborate to create a visual map of their brand - zooming out and seeing brands and demographics laid out like continents. A birds eye view of the brand world.
Luci is under continuing development, but if you'd like to learn more, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org