The NYC Readiness Challenge was one of those projects that completely changed our perspective on design and its importance to society. We were excited to launch this project. We had been working on an interactive tool about disaster preparedness for months and were excited to see if it would help prepare New Yorkers for a disaster.
We were very curious to see if our take on disaster preparedness education would actually turn heads. After all, disaster preparedness is not the sexiest of topics. A few days after the site launched the warnings for Super Storm Sandy started coming in. Traffic on the site increased drastically. Tweets of interest about the site started coming in. The timing couldn’t have been better. A site about storms launches, and a storm is coming.
Most New Yorkers paid little mind to the impending storm. It would probably be a minor inconvenience at worst.
Then Sandy hit. It was devastating. We were on the west coast and could only sit back and watch our loved ones do the best they could.
Of course, those who were prepared were thankful, but in the grand scheme an interactive tool that teaches preparedness almost seemed laughable. Illustrations about safety? People are suffering. At this point design was moot, only resources and man-power could make a difference now.
Some time has passed, and the east coast is recovering from its wounds. Many are saying that this type of storm is just the beginning and climate change is affecting weather patterns. Our feelings about the importance of the NYC Readiness Challenge site had been on a roller-coaster. Now, we have gained perspective. As designers, it is our job to communicate. Many people were caught unprepared when the storm hit. They had not received the message. Let’s not let that happen again. Hopefully as we prepare for the possibility of future disasters NYC Readiness Challenge can be a tool for learning how to be prepared. Check it out, share it with your loved ones. And above all else, be prepared.
We love you New York.