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Interactive Annual 17:
information design

National 9/11 Memorial Interactive Timeline

Launch Live Site

“A fascinating look into the moment-by-moment events and artifacts of 9/11. Simple and focused, yet engaging.” —Jared Benson

“The use of audio recordings, photographs, videos from both victims and survivors presents an intimate, minute-by-minute account of the day's events.” —Jill Nussbaum

Overview: One from a set of interactive applications for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum’s (9/11 Memorial) Web site, museum and show floor. This application was built as part of the National 9/11 Memorial’s larger mission and in preparation for the upcoming opening of the memorial grounds and museum. Among these interactive applications is this time-line featuring objects, images, video and firsthand accounts from people who witnessed the event unfold. It drives a deep level of visitor engagement around text, audio and visual content gathered from the day. The timeline incorporates creative and dynamic interactions, while maintaining a high degree of readability and usability; it’s a unique storytelling experience that enables people to move through the content at their own pace or in autoplay mode.

  • • It took ten people working approximately four months to complete this project.
  • • The timeline of the day’s events and aftermath includes artifacts and witness photos that relate to each time block, accompanied by windows containing additional information that users can zoom into and explore.

Comments by Danny Riddell/Mike Lucaccini

What was your key objective when developing the timeline? “We wanted to create an intuitive experience that highlights the rich imagery and media associated with the piece. We also wanted to make sure that all users would understand how to scrub through the timeline. In the end, our scrollable experience allows users to quickly and dynamically browse through the time-based events of September 11 and connect the timeline entries with oral histories, video content and images from the day.”

How did this project compare with others you’ve worked on in the past “Although this project was similar in overall style to what we are used to, the sensibility of the subject matter and its deep connection to the audience was far greater than we had experienced in the past. It challenged us to look deeper at the style of experience we were creating to make sure that we were highlighting the content and creating an experience that was elegant and usable and even contemporary. From a technical perspective, utilizing both Adobe and Microsoft platforms (Windows Azure combined with Adobe Flash and AIR) presented some unique development challenges. In order to manage the content from the museum as well as personal submissions, we built a robust administrative tool that enables the 9/11 Memorial staff to add, edit and remove content, as well as test and review each update.”


Kara Gates, interactive designer
Guido Rosso, chief creative officer
Phil Chung, senior developer
Rob Manson, engineer
Luigi Rosso, technology director
Danny Riddell, executive director
Chad Audet, producer
Mike Lucaccini, executive agency producer
Eric Anderson, production artist
Archetype International (Emeryville, CA), project design and development Sean Anderson, Sept 11 Memorial/Michael Frazier, Sept 11 Memorial/Lynn Rasic, Sept 11 Memorial/Angela Sheridan, Sept 11 Memorial, clients

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