After our first round of product testing, we decided to make big changes in the look of our Infovark product. This is the first of an occasional series of posts about the design of the Infovark Beta.
We use the Infovark mascot — we call him “the Vark” — to represent our company. We use his head for our avatar in twitter and as the favorite icon for web bookmarks.
I like the simplicity and abstract look of the icon. It has a certain Scott McCloud less-is-more aesthetic to it. As Scott explained in his book Understanding Comics, the less detailed an illustration is, the more it invites the viewer to use their imagination to fill in the gaps. The more detailed a drawing, the more it represents a particular thing. We wanted Infovark to be about you, the knowledge worker, and not about us, Gordon and Dean, two guys making software.
We also chose an animal mascot for a reason. The Infovark name was partly an accident, but it stuck because it was a useful metaphor for us. Infovark does a lot of work in the background for you. It watches files, catalogs email, indexes content, and other useful things automatically. We liked the image of an animal digging through your information, trying to find interesting items and making associations between files, contacts, and email. It made our software feel friendly and helpful, like an enthusiastic pet you’ve taught to do neat tricks.
For round two of our product design, we wanted to try giving the Infovark just a little more personality. But not too much personality. Ever since Microsoft introduced Clippy to the world — and to much popular scorn — software developers are mindful about overeager assistants. Does anyone remember these guys? It’s a fine line that we’re walking here…
So after much consultation, this is our attempt at something a little cuter, with a touch more detail.
What do you think? We’ll use this new character on our redesigned blog theme, and possibly in the product itself. Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!