Fracture wins South by Southwest web award

Immersion with client Jasmax reaps its award

Auckland-based design and development studio Fracture Media Syndicate won an award at the South by Southwest Web Awards, held in Austin, Texas, earlier this month.

Fracture won the business category award for the website it built for Jasmax, one of this country’s largest architect firms. There are 20 categories in the Web Awards, including best activism, art, music, blog and community website, to name a few.

The idea behind was to structure it like a building, with sections and pages appearing like rooms and walls in a building, says Nick Shaw, Fracture’s creative director.

Shaw wanted to capture the people element of buildings, especially workplaces, where people come together and talk over a common interest, he says. Similarly, a website is a virtual space where people with a common interest converge, with the potential for people on the site to interact, he says.

At the beginning of the project, Shaw spent two days with Jasmax, “sponging up their culture”, talking with everyone from the top executives right through to the most recently employed graduates, to get a feel for what the website should be like, he says. He even went on a field trip with the directors, visiting their favourite buildings.

The website, which went live in August last year, was initially built in 2D, but somewhere along the way Jasmax and Fracture agreed that 3D would be the ultimate format for the website, says Shaw. Because it was an architecture site for a company that builds 3D spaces, the website should also be in 3D, says Shaw. was built using Adobe Flash and Papervision3D, an open source 3D engine for the Flash platform. The content management system behind the website is built in .Net.

The site also features a traffic statistics engine, which allows for seeing who is on the site in real-time, says Shaw. The plan is that, eventually, this functionality will enable visitors to see, in real-time, other people who are on the site and maybe even chat to them, he says. “So it is more like a real building.”

Winning the award at South by Southwest is a “pretty massive deal” for Fracture, he says. “It is helping position us where we want to be – the leading, high-end, Flash creative studio in New Zealand.”

Shaw says when local companies win international awards, it raises the awareness of New Zealand as a country that can produce world-class, award-winning work.

“Going into the future we can compete [on a global scale] with the creative people that we’ve got in New Zealand,” he says. “There is no reason why we can’t do that down here.”

Given the current exchange rate, it is attractive for US companies to get web and 3D work done in New Zealand, he says.

Fracture, which has six full-time staff, was founded by Shaw in 2002.