WHAT PEOPLE DO:
If you haven’t noticed, there is a lot of confusion about climate science out there. People that acknowledge climate change and believe the real science were responding individually to online to articles and comment threads where false science facts were being seeded. The problem with this was that if you were undecided, false science usually outweighs the facts in these comment threads, because there are so many non-believers attacking articles. The seeds of doubt were still being planted.
WHAT WE PROPOSED:
Attack the problem where it lives - give dormant climate change activists the scientific ammo they needed to go out and balance the comment threads on environmentally-related articles. When we developed the Reality Drop functionality, the notion that slacktivism was, in this case, the answer helped us ask people for exactly the right amount of effort. Adding a leaderboard and scores gave our power-users motivation to keep returning and playing. And it's working - the average return visitor is on the site for a whopping 17 minutes and 42 seconds.
We designed Reality Drop from scratch, and for a newish brand that had never touched the product space. It presented an exciting and refreshing opportunity, especially at an agency that typically engages legacy brands. In many ways, we saw our brand/client not as Climate Reality, but as SCIENCE. We began with a more wiki/educational approach - our main stories were the climate denial myths, and the villains that perpetrated them. We quickly realized we needed to change tack if our desired outcome was action. We looked to news sites like Huffington Post and Mashable for patterns around how people engaged with news, and to social platforms like Twitter and Pinterest as always-on environments that users ambiently engaged with.
We worked on the product for over a year, and, through a series of betas, tested features and appetite (on the front AND the back end CMS). We had two big takeaways. 1) people were getting a fractured/disorienting experience when we bounced them from our card to the news source. 2) Users were definitely engaging in the right way, copy-and-pasting science, but the system wasn’t adapting to provide different pieces of science to grab, and we were coming off as spammy. Both of these were fun problems to solve. We worked with our dev team to come up with a solution where when users clicked an article card, we gave them the source within a Reality Drop skin - they had access to all the science and tools in the context of the actual article. And a sense of continuity. The spam issue was a more nuanced solve. We explored a system where science nuggets could be retired from an article card once a 5 users had achieved click-backs with it. Then, a related nugget would be drafted into the front of the science queue. We also added copy encouraging users to put science in their own words.
This project was an important one for me. it was a privilege to be part of a team working towards something that lived far outside of the traditional brand/consumer sphere: social change for the greater good.
Reality Drop was awarded a 2013 Andy Awards Bronze, 2013 One Show Interactive Merit, 2013 Webby Awards Honoree, 2013 Montreaux Golden Award, and a 2013 Addy Awards Silver.