Using cutting edge technology and contemporary design, Kōkako has proven to be an elegant approach to helping preserve and promote the first language of Aotearoa.
Mind blowing. A hidden, humble gem. World class in concept, design and execution.
Iwi radio stations across Aotearoa are required to play a certain amount of Māori content every day and this is monitored by Te Māngau Pāho (TMP). TMP is responsible for promoting Māori language and culture through the provision of funding for Māori initiatives in music, radio, television and online.
Monitoring language manually can be labour intensive and time-consuming. TMP needed a more efficient way to review usage and ultimately have an archive of some of that content. There was also a secondary need for iwi radio station managers to have an overview of what their teams were playing and celebrate the Māori content now being widely distributed. The greater goal being to encourage more use of Te Reo Māori.
A great example of a successful combination of an innovative idea that emphasises clever technology, and a beautifully crafted user experience.
Our partners at Dragonfly Data Science came up with the idea for Kōkako, an automated system that continuously listens to broadcasts, tracking spoken language and music use through machine learning. Reporting is available in close to real time. The name comes from the rare Kōkako bird with a very distinctive and beautiful voice.
Dragonfly built a rough prototype of the software and came to us to partner with them to create the brand identity, UX and UI design, and front end development of the application at an early stage.
The identity we developed combines traditional hand drawn Māori motifs with a contemporary graphic language suitable for a sophisticated app with rich data.
The user interface of the app is designed for continuous display on the monitors in the radio station studios and the dark tones allow the data to ’shine through.’ The colours of the data visualisation represent the different languages heard and as a result form striking dynamic patterns that are reminiscent of traditional weaving patterns.
The simple and intuitive user journey takes the user from a New Zealand wide overview of Māori content across the different stations to a station specific landing page with the different content types displayed as time series. From here the user can access the console, for an overview, or go more granular by selecting a 15-minute time slot going into the ‘player’ which allows the user to play that particular piece of content (forming a useful archive as well).
A uniquely New Zealand project in the field of language processing that achieves the critical balance between deep, complex data science and understated, intuitive user experience.
Kōkako has transformed the way TMP can monitor what is happening with Māori language radio broadcasting across Aotearoa. TMP can now easily track the use of Māori language and music on the stations they fund with visibility in close to real time. This allows them to see patterns and manage behaviour. It also gives radio station managers an attractive overview of the content they engage with daily and provides an archive. It has been so well received that a new public version is about to launch to make the content available to wider NZ audiences.
As well as engaging key audiences, Kōkako has had much publicity and won the highest honour in the NZ Best Design Awards in 2016 as the top Interactive entry (purple pin), further building awareness and relevance around the language.
Using cutting edge technology and contemporary design Kōkako has proven to be an elegant approach to helping preserve and promote the first language of Aotearoa. As the judges commented, Kōkako is “a uniquely New Zealand project in the field of language processing that achieves the critical balance between deep, complex data science and understated, intuitive user experience.”