Boulder, Meet the Busy Board
The Viget Boulder office is nestled in the heart of downtown Boulder, a couple blocks off historical Pearl Street Mall and mere yards from the Boulder Transit Center. Every day a parade of locals pass by our office windows:
- Nearby residents walking their dogs.
- Professionals racing to catch their bus.
- Friends from neighboring agencies and tech companies on their way to lunch.
- A literal parade (the CU marching band setting up before a Pearl Street Stampede.)
- Randos smoking and staring into our office like we’re an aquarium exhibit.
We get it all.
Meanwhile, for a couple years now we’ve had a large standing display screen in the office. It had originally served as a device to test our in-store display design for Dick’s Sporting Goods: Baseball. Here’s Sam giving the touch screen a go:
After the Dick’s Sporting Goods project wrapped, the display lived on for awhile as “The Gif Board,” boldly displaying animated gifs from the office Campfire room (in the dark ages before Slack) for the whole office to see. But eventually the novelty wore off and The Gif Board was retired.
Then the display sat in the corner, dark and dead. Doug hung his coat from it. It was a sad time.
But today I’m thrilled to announce that the display has found a new purpose: Busy Board!
Inspired by our friend nclud’s window display at their old, old DC office space that displayed metro times for DC commuters, our Busy Board is displayed in our window and gives Boulderites all the info they need to navigate downtown. We’ve finally given all those bus riders, neighbors, and downtown randos something to look at when they peer into our office. It’s our way of saying “hi!” without standing outside all day.
What Keeps the Board Busy: #
- A countdown of busses about to leave the Transit Center; we even show an animated diagram so commuters know which gate to sprint to.
- Not to be outdone by every bank in America’s outdoor signage, we have the current weather on display, as well as what to expect later in the day.
- For our tech friends, an upcoming local event from meetup.com. (Or maybe just a friendly greeting.)
- And for those hungry and out late, info for a late night, Viget-approved restaurant within walking distance. Every 30 seconds, the board shows a different restaurant.
Lessons Learned #
- Designing a window display means planning for sunlight conditions. In the end, Busy Board has a dark purple Night mode, and then all the colors inverted for Day mode. As much as we love the dark purple, sun glare completely overwhelmed the dark screen. It’s a good lesson to remember next time I’m designing a phone app that’s meant to be used outdoors.
- Local data is more readily available than ever before. And so fun to use! We found out that we were barely scratching the surface of fun Boulder data we could display.
- Stay on target. Busy Board was a side project for myself and Doug. We kept the scope simple, focused, and resisted the urge to add any of the crazier, fun features we and the rest of the office thought up. Even so, Doug’s downtime was rare (too busy for Busy Board) and the board was slowly pieced together over time. If we were doing anything fancier, the display would still be gathering dust in the corner of our Boulder Digital Agency office indefinitely.
Closeups of the Board Being Busy #
A Boulderite Beholding the Busy Board in its Window Display #
So Boulder friends, next time you’re strolling/sprinting/dog walking past Walnut St., swing by and check out Busy Board in person!