Wherever you find yourself on Supercluster, you’ll always see that persistent launch tracker at the top of the page, counting down toward the next time a rocket leaves Earth.
The launch tracker was an important feature for the design team for two reasons. The first is obvious — for space fans it’s a clear and easy way to keep up with humanity’s progress in space exploration, down to the very second. But there’s a secondary and more important reason we built the launch tracker. It was to remind us all that we’re living through the second Golden Age of space, right now.
In 2020, and for most of the past year, the next launch is typically only a few weeks or days away. Sometimes there's just hours between launches — many times over the past year we’ve seen multiple launches within the same day. That’s why whenever the ticker hits zero it immediately jumps to the very next mission, to remind us the pace is increasing. And especially this year, with NASA using private human space flight for the first time in history, we’re on track to see a revolution in space exploration.
That's a lot of space flight to keep tabs on. So we're proud to announce the Supercluster mobile app on iOS and Android. We think it’s the best way to stay on top of everything leaving Planet Earth, built by the design team here at Supercluster, and populated by information sourced from launch experts all over the country.
“Releasing the tracker as a mobile app is the natural next step in our mission to make it easier and more fun to be a space fan,” Says Jamie Carreiro from Supercluster, a creative technologist who worked together with the design team on the structure of the app.
“It should be easy to find out what's going to outer space, and watch it happen — it's a big exciting story that's happening day by day all over the world. We want to make this story simple to follow and enjoy, without sacrificing detail or accuracy. You'll always get the full technical readout on each rocket and payload, but we highlight natural language headlines to create a browse-able, scrollable rocket launch news feed.”
Supercluster designers Joe Haddad and Tristan Dubin designed the web based launch tracker, which laid the foundation for their approach to information design:
“Ultimately our approach stemmed from the mission that guides all of Supercluster’s design — to illuminate the subject matter in a way that appeals to experts and newcomers alike. Structurally this took the form of a card system to surface deeper information, and simple instagram-like navigation.”
“Flexible notifications let a user dial in their level of engagement. And we tried to highlight the drama with bold type systems, a large persistent tracker, and of course, Supercluster Yellow. We wanted that layer of classic sci-fi that makes the whole experience more than just reading through technical data.”
Front end and mobile app designer Emilie Zeiss worked to translate the web tracker to mobile, adding many key features and optimizing for simplicity and clarity.
"I wanted to stay true to the Supercluster voice — to keep things clear, short and focused on the story. I think we achieved that really well with the card style on the launch page. The front of the cards tell the overall story of the launch, and you flip them to dive deeper into specific parts and get really into the details."
Harry Isaac is a Brooklyn based creative technologist and life long space enthusiast, who built the first ISS Finder app to help people track and learn more about the International Space Station.
"What I love most is working on fun and satisfying animations. There are a bunch of little animations hidden throughout, like the past / future launch divider, the glossary term pop-up, the card flip on the launch screen, and an easter egg animation on the notifications page."
The Supercluster launch tracker is now available for iOS and Android. Get mission info, countdowns, livestreams, viewing locations and customized launch alerts.
Download the Supercluster mobile app here: