From bouquets to search engines, there’s nothing the talented folks at Jackson Fish Market can’t do, except maybe sell fish. Last week, in cooperation with their former employer Microsoft, they launched “Tafiti“, a Silverlight-powered Windows Live Search interface with a twist.
Given it’s Jackson Fish with Jenny Lam we’re talking about here, there’s no question it’s an elegant experience inside out. But it’s not all looks and no substance. Tafiti also incorporates a set of unique ideas including result clippings and “passive search” – a.k.a. tree view – the ability to explore search results without user interaction.
I had the wonderful opportunity to ask the Jackson Fish gang (Hillel, Walter and Jenny) a few questions. Of course they were busy as always, so we kept it reasonably short.
For how long have you worked on Tafiti? How long did you spending planning, designing and implementing?
Did Jackson Fish approach Microsoft or vice versa? What was the initial project concept?
What sort of tools did you use to design and develop Tafiti?
Does Tafiti use only public Windows Live Search APIs?
What were the best features of Silverlight to work with?
Did you encounter any major problem(s) with Silverlight and/or Microsoft’s Live APIs? How did you work around those problems?
What was the decision behind the wood and paper styled design?
The user experience has some key elements from there including the index card from the library card catalog (notice the telltale hole where the spindle holds the cards in place in the drawer) as well as the motif of the card catalog drawer at the top of the results view. We weren’t trying to be completely literal but we thought these elements added a library/research atmosphere to the experience.
We also felt the “tree of knowledge” was a powerful motif as ultimately the search engine contained pointers to huge amounts of useful information. That element felt coherent with the general library/research concept.
How did SectionSeven play a part in the development process?
Will Tafiti be maintained by Jackson Fish or Microsoft?
Finally, should we expect more Microsoft branded solutions and/or Silverlight-powered solutions in the future from Jackson Fish?