The online platform Everyday Differences brings people together, breaks down cultural barriers and stimulates limitless discussions about the shapes, colours and functions of various everyday objects. All around the world, people can upload photos of everyday objects – packaging, signs, municipal services (police, fire brigade), public institutions, monuments, architecture, etc. – in order to compare and comment on them.
With just a few clicks, users with a passion for graphics, a love of photography or an interest in travel can access foreign cultures, traditions and inventions.
It will become the tool of the future for architects, urban planners, designers, artists and photographers, and even sociologists and ethnologists. A new source of inspiration as well as offering solutions for systems that are already in place in different countries.
In time the platform will grow and will allow that every object and subject can be compared world wide.
Overcoming differences to allow commonalities to emerge – that is the underlying intention of this project. To communicate, swap experiences and thereby draw closer to one another.
Everyday Differences is aimed at all the world's detail-obsessed flâneurs who also enjoy the occasional virtual stroll through a city's streets without having to travel far. It is aimed at people who are fascinated and attracted by the structures and materials of multifaceted objects; those who like to use their smartphones in order to
photographically capture the new things or fresh takes on old things they come across; and those who love to share their discoveries with their friends or online followers.
With Everyday Differences, everyone has the opportunity to learn something about other countries and cultures by observing, comparing and discussing. Everyday Differences makes it possible to find new urban solutions or visual design solutions (recycling systems, improving public transport, living spaces, etc.).
The online platform Everyday Differences is intuitive to use.
When searching for inspiration, it takes only a few clicks of the mouse to compare elements. Users can choose whether to search according to origin or object, globally or nationally. Thanks to an ingenious filter system, the results of the individual search can not only be presented on a pinboard and sorted according to various criteria (most recently added, photos with comments, or those photos with the most "likes"), but can also be displayed within their local context on a map. All the photos can be shared with friends and followers via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or email. The comment function provides the opportunity to learn about and discuss the context of various different products and objects.
Users can upload their own images via the individual upload or multi-upload functions as required. They can then assign their uploaded images to one of the categories and/or locations offered. The parent categories available on Everyday Differences are "Cityscape", "At home" and "Food product/Packaging". If you are searching for a category that is not provided on the platform, feel free to suggest it to our administrators. Photos can be managed, edited or deleted as required in the login area.
The site will initially be available in English, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Additional languages (Russian, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Japanese) are being planned, and will be easy to integrate into the existing system.
The planned smartphone app will make it possible for users to upload images directly from their phone and automatically assign a location to the images thanks to their phone's geo-localisation technology.
Going forward, our plan is to organise a quarterly photo exhibition based on one of Everyday Differences' key thematic focuses, and invite the platform's users to attend the event. The aim is to give the digital collection a physical reality, and to create a space in which people can come together and engage in dialogue with one another. The photo prints will be available for purchase at these events in order to keep the website's running costs to a minimum.
Everyday Differences is a platform focused on a specific target group and which allows users to discuss an image or an issue, comment on images and ask questions.
Unlike Google, the contents and search results are controlled and, if necessary, corrected by users themselves. Whereas Everyday Differences features a clearly structured filter function, the search results for a Google image search are unfiltered. In order to obtain additional information about an image, Google users must go to that image's page of origin and familiarise themselves with the image's context.
By contrast, Wikipedia provides a lot of text and few images. Wikipedia is not visually oriented.
Pinterest, whose target group is predominantly female, offers a slew of images on topics such as fashion, food, weddings, children, etc., but does not consciously promote the theme of intercultural communication, or of mutual understanding and dialogue.
Our team has all the skills necessary to make this project a reality:
Tobias Hellwig, a skilled programmer who is always on top of the latest technologies
Selina König, an experienced UX designer and graphic artist working in print and internet media
Diana Chwalczyk, an eloquent art historian and PR spokesperson
Geoffroy Tauszig, a Parisian photographer and globetrotter
Friederike Lorenz, a student of visual communication, an intern, and our best beta tester
The only thing we lack is a budget for covering our server costs and for compensating our team members and translators for their work.
When I moved from Germany to Paris nine years ago, I gradually began to notice all the little differences in everyday life between the two neighbouring countries. The green cross as the international symbol for pharmacies, rather than the German pharmacy symbol I was familiar with – a red A for "Apotheke" ("pharmacy") in combination with the rod of Asclepius and a medicine goblet – is just one of many examples. The shape of the letterboxes, the supermarket logos, banks, packaging, construction site signage or police vehicles... the list is almost endless.
I began to collect pairs of photographs, and wrote a blog in which I published these visual differences I had discovered. It did not take long until this topic received great interest not only from my friends and acquaintances, but also from strangers who discovered my blog by chance. People began sending me more photos from different countries, so as to be able to compare the different objects with one another.
Out of this grew my dream of a giant database which would make it possible to compareeveryday things from around the world with one another. One single click would provide images of all the world's letterboxes; everybody should be able to compare them with one another!
This dream is very soon to become a reality. I gathered together a team of people with a broad variety of skills. We decided to tackle this project head on in order provide humankind with a platform which will not only allow for visual comparisons, but also provide various target groups with wholly practical benefits.