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October 24, 2011

How many slaves work for you?

Map of worldSlaveryFootprint.org is a clever website with an important message.

Unfortunately the designers got so caught up in making a "creative" interface that I suspect they lose a good part of their audience halfway through.

I'm pretty interested in, and knowledgable about, interactive websites, and even I got annoyed at the lack of simple, consistent ways to enter the information needed.

But if you do work your way through a series of quirky screens that ask questions about what you wear, eat, and buy, you get an important reality check: a world map that shows how many people work in slavery-like conditions to provide you with all of the above.

Man surrounded by gadgetsMy map shows a lot of folks working in China (the biggest yellow circle) to make the many electronic gadgets I own. This illustration tells the story.

Since I actually don't own all of those things, I could go back and fine-tune the results, but that means answering a lot more questions, so I'm going to go with this.

The site's heart is definitely in the right place, and I applaud the effort that's gone into the website. Unfortunately the designer's chose to make the controls different from screen to screen. More creative, I assume.

Too creative?

add childrenTo adjust the number of children in your family, click a button.

house roomsTo add a room to your house, drag an icon from the row below to the house image above.

items on shelfFor what's in your medicine cabinet, tap on the items you don't have.

jewelryTo change the number of jewelry items, move a slider left or right.

Circular controlAnd there's more, including this circular control, one of the least intuitive of the bunch.

Clever? Imaginative? Sure.

But you have to work to keep up with the site's ever-changing cleverness. I'm pretty sure that the less computer-savvy folks (and maybe those over age 30) who start the process bail out part way through. If true, that's a shame. The site's message and the information it provides deserve the widest possible audience.

Does it work for you?

Go to SlaveryFootprint.org and try for yourself. I'm very interested in your reaction (use "Comments" below to talk about it).

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