Click, scroll and interact with these four websites that mess with the cursor

Shauna Buckley and Simon Sweeney:

While Bruno allowed the aesthetics of his work to guide the design of his portfolio, for Shauna Buckley and Simon Sweeney AKA Other Office, it was their process that provided the inspiration. “We wanted the site to reflect how we work,” they say, “there’s just the two of us and we sort of circle round projects at the same time and approach them from different perspectives so we spent some time thinking about how to visualise that in the context of the internet. At some point, we said to ourselves Other Office means ‘other mouse’ and that was the starting point.” In turn, upon landing on Other Office’s website, you are presented with two pointers, connected by a single black line that rotates and extends depending on your position.

Then, when discussing how the two cursors could cause confusion, they landed upon the idea of connecting images with their captions using the line. “The idea that the cursors are working in tandem meant that where they both landed would be interrelated,” they explain. “The design then had to follow the rule that if the mouse was pressed, the link under both cursors had to go to the same place, so the layout and navigation tumbled out of that thought process pretty swiftly.”

If they had more time, they tell us, they would have loved to have invested more time in the mobile version of the site and what the tandem behaviour could be, “maybe some sort of my multi-touch interface would have conveyed the same connection or even needing two devices to view the site fully or something would have been interesting to explore.”

Other Office’s top tips:

  1. At the minute we’re trying to approach websites as an extension of the person publishing the site (usually our client). We try and get a sense of their process in whatever work they do. If they’re an artist and they use collage, building up layers upon layers over time to create a final image, we note that and try and apply that process to the medium of the website. We take those verbs and pose them to ourselves as a question. How could a website make a collage? What if a website could talk? That type of thing.
  2. Usually, we find that in replicating our client’s process through the lens of the internet the output speaks more closely to who they are and what they do than something that is just “nicely” designed. I guess we’re hoping that if we can communicate something about them via interaction or behaviour, we’ll be taking advantage of the medium in ways we couldn’t elsewhere. In the same way that you might choose a certain foil for the cover of a book.
  3. Of course, many clients simply want something that is nicely designed so how visible this process becomes sort of a sliding scale.

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