(Published in NewMedia August 1999
NSX by Genex
Q & A
Anyone at Genex Interactive who worked on nsxbyacura.com -- the site that celebrates the sporty Acura NSX -- will tell you that it is different from most automobile manufacturers' sites. Typically these sites herald new models, but when Acura commissioned the NSX site, the model had been on the market for nine years and already had a loyal following.
"Acura said, 'We want this to be different. We want this to be an experiential site,'" explains Walter Schild, CEO and chief technical strategist for Genex Interactive, which won a 1998 Invision Gold Award for its online marketing campaign for Herman Miller furniture.
Different and experiential describe nsxbyacura.com well. Visitors use a rotating 3D molecule to navigate at will throughout the site. The molecule, which gives a unique, smooth feel of momentum and drag, was created using Macromedia's Shockwave 7.
"Part of the attraction is the navigation," says project leader Kevin McManis. "We are encouraging exploration, just following your nose and seeing what you can find."
The design team avoided the brochure-pasted-on-the-Web feel of some automobile sites -- there are no interior, exterior, performance, or safety links. Clicking on the orbs that extend out from the molecule is the only way to get around.
The orbs help guide visitors through the story of the car, which is told from two points of view: technology and passion. "The people who are interested in these cars are very passionate about them," says McManis. "So right up front, we broke it into the technical and emotional content."
Genex designed the site with both current and potential NSX owners in mind. An Enthusiasts page offers information on the NSX Club of America and allows users to sign up for the Acura NSX mailing list. Eventually, it will include NSX discussion groups and a FAQ area.
"We wanted to build a site that enthusiasts and hardcore NSX owners could appreciate, but we also wanted to speak to the wider car-enthusiast market, all the folks who aspire to own an NSX," McManis explains.
At just under $90,000 for the 1999 model, visiting nsxbyacura.com might be as close as a lot of those aspiring NSX owners will ever get.