Placemaking, identity and digital design


  • Creating a sense of place through interaction with a digital medium
  • Identifying the one conclusive concept from a wealth of possible routes
  • Building a community through an interface

A new neighbourhood

As Manchester continues to evolve so do the districts that make up its city centre. NOMA needed to make its mark, and as one of the largest developments the city has seen for some time, its character needed to be distinctive.

(If you’re wondering, NOMA’s unique name comes from the first two characters of each word in ‘North Manchester’.)

Connecting physical and digital

To give purpose and direction to the concept workshop sessions we created a set of personas based on NOMA’s target audience profiles. We used these personas to help focus the initial ideation process and determine which routes would best communicate with our audiences. It became clear that the way to bridge physical with digital was by giving NOMA a voice.

A space that speaks

There’s no better way to establish familiarity than through conversation. In a bid to improve connectivity and awareness we developed the NOMA chatbot, which allows people to build a relationship with the physical space. The ability to design the voice UI (user interface) meant we could shape the bot’s responses to align perfectly with NOMA’s vision. Plus, we can modify it in line with any updates to the neighbourhood so the chatbot remains relevant over time.

How can a place talk?

Through Facebook Messenger®. Following the persona creation it was clear that the NOMA voice needed a strong mobile presence. After all, users are likely to be on their phones if they’re on the move around the city. The bot was launched at Summer Jam (one of NOMA’s social events) to ensure maximum exposure and uptake.

Growing with the NOMA community

From a range of digital ideas to the beginnings of a place you can talk to. Our bot is designed to grow as NOMA does, with Amazon set to move in as the newest neighbours, joining the Co-op Group and the many social enterprises that have already made The Federation their home.

From brief to reality

Find out more about our concepting and ideation process

Let’s talk