Consulting in practice
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialised agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
A key focus of IMO's work in Marine Environment is the designation and protection of Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSA's). A PSSA is an area that needs special protection because it is deemed vulnerable to damage by international maritime activities or it is of significance for recognised ecological, socio-economic or scientific reasons.
The IMO commissioned Coracle to help raise awareness of PSSA's and educate people about the issues. They wanted a permanent display of some kind at the prestigious Headquarters in London, telling the unique story of each of the 14 PSSA's around the world and sharing insights from IMO’s work on this topic.
There were a number of challenges:
- PSSA's can be a technical topic. We needed to make the subject matter universally appealing
- The audience for the display and website was very broad, ranging from members of the public to policy makers
- We needed to balance usability with cost-effectiveness, to arrive at the best approach to programming the digital content
- The display IMO requested was really two systems – the touch screen explorer forming part of the exhibition at IMO’s headquarters, and the website
Our approach combined a physical, multi-faceted exhibit for visitors to the IMO’s prestigious Headquarters, with a website at pssa.imo.org, making the content accessible to all.
We collated and edited copy and applied a ruthless structure to the content. Apart from the map allowing you to select one of the fourteen areas to explore, users are faced with no more than four choices at any stage. Even though there are over 80 pages of content, simplicity rules. This taxonomy means you can get something out of the content whether you have 30 seconds or 30 minutes.
We took full advantage of the spectacular photography and video footage these marine environments offer, to create exhibition displays and engaging digital content for people to browse on an interactive, touch screen. The exhibition, screen and website feature huge seascapes, amazing imagery from coral reefs, and impressive coastlines. A giant, wall mounted map of the world locates the 14 PSSA's to help orientate people quickly.
With the digital aspect we made it possible to drill down to the legal basis of each PSSA, and zoom in on maps showing individual ship routes, thereby satisfying those with a deeper technical knowledge.