“Then wham bam we’re web developers!”: Danny Baragwanath and Rifke Sadlier on their journey with DXR studio

At present, DXR already boasts an impressive client list since. This includes work for Dazed, Burberry, Institute of Digital Fashion, Warp Records, Mowalola, Dua Lipa, Universal Music Group, Loose Joints, Dropbox, Wavey Garms, Converse, The Face, and Anyways Creative to name a few. The studio’s most recent commission, however, is a site development for Climate in Colour, an online education platform and community that aims to bring climate conservations into the mainstream. Founded by Joycelyn Longdon, a climate researcher currently studying A Master of Research (MRes) and PhD at Cambridge University, DXR was briefed to collaborate on a website that would serve as the hub for all of its impactful work – the central point for each of its platforms, which includes a new online course. “Obviously we were super excited, we’re huge fans of Joycelyn’s work which focuses on making conversations around climate change and social justice accessible and inclusive,” says Rifke. “We had a few meetings to work out exactly what the site would need, and various references that we sent back and forth to make sure we were all on the same page.”
The result is the elevation of the already-strong visual identity, housed amongst a playful mix of fonts, visuals and the pre-existing Climate in Colour infographics. A bashful yellow takes centre stage, giving it an almost 70s-style feel as its paired with a medley of soft and bubbly typography, plus the inclusion of more legible serif fonts.
Of course, the last 12 months have been somewhat of a whirlwind for the studio. But the two have remained consistently busy despite it all, with thanks to the increase in demand for online services and platforms. “When the pandemic hit it seemed like the entire planet needed to go digital overnight,” says Danny. With plans to add to its repertoire in sustainable projects, to continue to “hack the mainframe for the foreseeable,” and take on causes and initiatives that are close their hearts, the future for DXR is looking bright and purposeful. That is until the pandemic ends and they can both head back to the pub and continue their chats about javascript once again.
There were two key learnings from this project. The first was induced through the Climate in Colour team who, after completing a full accessibility audit, made sure that the site is completely inclusive; this involves adding in an option for people to switch off the animations, and navigating around the idea of accessible colour choices and fonts. The second was how to host a site that’s powered by renewable energy, or writing code that’s energy and processing power-efficient – something which Rifke has come to realise over the past year after discovering the solar-powered website, Low-tech Magazine.
The site is quite text-heavy, meaning that DXR needed to work out how to keep the information fresh and exciting. “In our earlier conversations,” says Rifke, “we both talked a lot about sites which used ‘scroll-jacking’ – basically where the user scrolls in the usual direction, and the page moves along but in different directions to add an element of surprise and playfulness. To prevent these changes in scroll direction from feeling too abrupt, a lot of the elements are animated to look like they’re floating slightly, or like the site is kind of breathing.”