Peter Tertzakian is a renowned energy pundit and bestselling author, who also happens to have a unique collection of energy objects and ephemera. So when he was developing Energyphile, his new project exploring the past, present and future of energy, he knew he needed an equally unique way to showcase his collection.
Peter recognized that social media connects people with people, allowing them to share their lives and moments. The Internet of Things connects devices with devices, allowing machines to share operational information. What about objects? How could things like art, photographs, museum pieces and even ideas or stories be similarly connected?
Any of the “museums” Peter saw online were simple linear catalogues that listed the records for each artifact. But Peter wanted a more dynamic user interface, one that would tell stories for each object in itself, and in turn show the thematic connections and relationships among all objects, ultimately telling an even bigger story. In short, he wanted a platform that would lead the user down a path of serendipitous discovery of our energy story. PhileSpace is this Internet of Objects and Stories.
VizworX worked closely with the Energyphile team to create PhileSpace, a uniquely visual platform for showcasing Peter’s collection. PhileSpace capitalizes on our natural curiosity and instinct for storytelling, inviting user-led exploration. Content is displayed in a dynamic, integrated interface highlighting the connections among the objects, while user interactions are intuitive, much like shuffling cards around on a table.
PhileSpace content includes short stories and vignettes, which are short “postcards” highlighting the objects in the collection. The vignettes are organized along two axes, by forces of change and a timeline. As well, the stories related to a vignette appear in the right sidebar. Users can engage with the content in several ways: They can sort vignettes by the forces of change or timeline. They can search for keywords to find relevant vignettes. Or they can simply browse through the collection as they want, letting their curiosity lead the way.
A powerful admin portal drives the platform. The relational database is built on a deep tagging taxonomy and relevancy scale. As a result, content can be flexibly categorized and the relationships among the library elegantly expressed at the front end. The database also supports various media for the “flip side” of a vignette, including video, audio, and PDF. Assets are processed to minimize storage requirements and optimize loading times.
PhileSpace is a robust, story-driven visual platform users actually want to explore. Energyphile has received great feedback from users, who love being able to engage with the content in a variety of ways. See PhileSpace in action on your tablet or desktop at energyphile.org/philespace.