"This absorbing story is brought to life through a real time interactive map on which Rachael’s father details her progress through the sled races. The immediacy of the contextual information is compelling and clearly communicated through the design and interaction model of the map." —juror Melissa Haworth
"When designing around a story as compelling as this, it's often best to bring the content to the forefront. This site offers just the right tools, at just the right time, to bring this remarkable narrative to life." —juror Jeffrey Veen
Overview: Gorachaelgo.com follows the struggles and triumphs of vision-impaired sled dog racer Rachael Scdoris. Her ongoing story provides a source of inspiration for many visitors, who can, in turn, send Rachel messages of comradeship and encouragement.
• Edit-in-place content management system
• Accessibility-conscious design for visually-impaired visitors
• 900KB initial download; 12MB total file size
Comments by Arve Overland:
"From day one, we agreed with the client that GoRachaelGo.com should be as much a dynamic, Flash-driven canvas that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit as it should be a site that monitors the struggles and achievements of a vision-impaired teenage athlete.
"Because our goals were lofty, we felt we had to spend considerable time with, and 'get inside the mind' of, Rachael Scdoris, the legally blind 19-year-old champion sled dog racer, who in 2005 finally won her battle to be allowed to compete in the famed Iditarod race in Alaska.
"During the development stage, Rachael's site became richer in direct to proportion to the time we spent listening to her stories, and watching firsthand her incredible rapport with the 90 dogs that she cares for and trains on her father's southern Oregon desert homestead. Long hours of interviews, photo sessions and research helped build the foundation for representing Rachael's inspiring life story—a story that's touched thousands of people, including children, from around the world.
"We included a number of interactive features, but because Rachael consciously serves as a champion for the capability of vision-impaired Americans, we also incorporated additional audio. Her voice and the voices of her dogs, along with other cutting-edge functionality and technical design features, support blind and other physically challenged individuals, whose access and enjoyment of the Web-based experience may have otherwise been limited."