Very Big Things and Dan Marino Foundation’s ViTA System Chosen as Product of the Year by UX Design Awards

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The WebVR platform was created for the Dan Marino Foundation, dedicated to improving the lives of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities.

Very Big Things, an award-winning digital product agency, announced today that the virtual interactive training agent (ViTA) system, designed in partnership with the Dan Marino Foundation, has been selected as the Product of the Year by the UX Design Awards. The ViTA system, a Dan Marino Foundation program, immerses users in a mock interview experience that is enjoyable, yet educational, technologically advanced, and comfortable. The web-based platform can be used on nearly any computer or tablet and requires no special hardware or software.

The website’s design, color choices, typography and text content are all designed for maximum usability and accessibility by people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. Users practice social interactions during interviews and other job search-related communication. Usable in multiple languages, the platform lets teachers add their own dynamic interview questions and scripts

Very Big Things accomplished this advanced engineering breakthrough with cutting-edge graphics libraries and extreme attention to the user experience. Very Big Things used Three.js, a cross-browser JavaScript library, to create the 3D computer graphics. Using custom 3D frameworks for webGL, the team created skeletons for models inside of the web browser and animated them with lifelike movements. They perfected light-based visuals by adding effects such as subsurface scattering, which mimics the natural appearance of skin.

“We are extremely proud of the work we were able to do with the Dan Marino Foundation,” said Chris Stegner, CEO and Co-Founder of Very Big Things. “We made huge breakthroughs in what is possible to be achieved in a web browser, using cutting edge graphic libraries, remarkable engineering and refining. This UX approach allows users to focus on interviews through beautiful, unobtrusive flows and visuals.”

“The Dan Marino Foundation created ViTA, virtual interactive training agent, as a means for young people in our program to practice interviewing for potential employment,” said Mary Partin, CEO of the Dan Marino Foundation. “Very Big Things took the time to first get to know our team and understand what we were working to accomplish. Then they transformed the Foundation’s vision into reality...virtual reality!”

The UX Design Awards are a global competition for outstanding user and customer experience. Originating in 2008 as a show for usability, the Awards were established in 2015. The annual competition is open for products, services, environments, prototypes and concepts as well as for future-oriented visions. The awards present all nominated projects in an exhibition at the global tech show, Internationale Funkausstellung, in Berlin, Germany.

About Very Big Things:

Very Big Things, an award-winning digital product agency, designs and develops unique digital experiences for startups and enterprise clients. Very Big Things fuses cutting-edge technologies and techniques with innovative approaches to create amazing user experiences. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, the 60-person firm has offices in three countries. For more information, please visit verybigthings.com.

About the Dan Marino Foundation:

Founded by Dan and Claire Marino shortly after their son, Michael’s, autism diagnosis in 1992. The Dan Marino Foundation has a long and distinguished history of life-changing programs and services, with the mission to "empower individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.” The Foundation has raised more than $84 million to create and support unique and impactful initiatives. Among these are the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Dan Marino Outpatient Center, the Marino Autism Research Institute, Marino Adapted Aquatics, and Marino Campus post-secondary schools in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. In the spring of 2020, Marino Virtual Learning will premiere offering online courses focused on social competency, independent living, and gainful employment. At the forefront of creating award winning technologies with partners like Google and Magic Leap to reach non-traditional learners, the Dan Marino Foundation continues to be a game changer for children, teens and young adults with autism and other disabilities. For more information, please visit https://danmarinofoundation.org. In addition, please follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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