Design Case: Olympic Interactivity
For the London 2012 Olympics, the UK agency Collective London was given a brief to use data visualisation and social media channels to represent the dramatic nature of live sport and bring it to audiences far beyond the Games venues themselves.
Collective London took its inspiration from fairground racing games by using a game metaphor and the whole notion of watching and influencing Twitter ‘races’ to develop its design concept. It also created a dynamic, virtual Olympic Park that reconfigured to show where the most ‘buzz’ was, Games venue by venue.
The resulting platforms - #Supportyourteam (pictured above) and Olympic Pulse (pictured below) brought innovation and design skill to the question of how to engage audiences.
The agency knew there would be a lot of noise and conversation happening during the Games. Its challenge was to pull these conversations into one place and visually represent them in a simple and meaningful way.
It also knew that typical data visualisations tended to be passive in nature. It wanted to create a more involving experience – something people would return to time and again. So for #SupportYourTeam it built on the patriotic nature of the Games and created a new Olympic event: Competitive Tweeting.
#SupportYourTeam (pictured above) was a country vs. country race for Olympic Twitter support supremacy run throughout the London Olympic and Paralympic games. It aggregated all Tweets containing #SupportYourTeam, #nation and #sport hash tags over the course of the Games and then displayed these on the London 2012 site as animated info graphic ‘races’ – gamifying the whole notion of Twitter support and visualising data in an engaging and unexpected way.
Twitter ‘races’ started and ended in sync with their real counterpart events. And as events finished, the winning nations were awarded gold, silver or bronze and added to our overall league table. During the course of the Games, the platform aggregated and visualized over 1 million tweets from all of the 204 Olympic nations.
For Olympic Pulse (pictured below) Collective London wanted to show people where the buzz was in an engaging way – not just a tag cloud. The agency hit on the idea of linking and aggregating tweets to venues, so that people could instantly see the changing nature of support, by the relative size and scale of individual venues. It also encouraged in-venue tweeting to allow those who couldn’t be at the Games to get a bird’s eye view on the action. In effect it created a second-screen social experience for the Olympics.
“Our major design challenge was to show off the vast amount of social data generated by the Games, in a simple and easily understandable way that could be simply ‘consumed’ by the widest number of people.”
Executive Creative Director, Collective London
Executive Creative Director
Associate Creative Director,
Senior Art Director
Technical Team Lead
#SupportYourTeam and Olympic Pulse