"A great example of the potential of true multimedia expression on a human scale." —juror Elena Blanco
"This is the best project—ever. Making the National Archives more comprehensible, accessible and interesting delivers on the promise of interactive design. Once again, Second Story rises to the occasion. Kudos." —juror Jacquie Moss
Overview: Part of a new permanent exhibit, this thirteen-kiosk system lets visitors peer through the vaults of the National Archives and Records Administration. Located throughout the Administration's five Public Vaults, the kiosks bring their users into close contact with the records that define a nation.
• 13 unique kiosks
• 1 1/2 years development time
• More than 1,300 total files
Comments by JD Hooge:
"Each kiosk has completely unique content, so we wanted them to look and feel very different from one another. At the same time, there needed to be a consistent thread that tied them all together. The solution was to design a meta 'shell,' which would contain all kiosk content that would reflect the permanence and solidity of the archives.
"Since the target audience was so varied, usability was a huge issue with this project. We did a lot of testing to make sure each kiosk was easy to navigate for all ages, sizes, intellects and physical abilities. We came up with all kinds of inventive ideas, some of which ultimately had to be simplified to be more usable on a touch-screen.
"In general, working with new types of hardware was a lot of fun. Specifically, the physical interactives for the Top Secret and Investigations kiosks presented us with all kinds of new possibilities and problems to solve.
"The diversity of topics—from D-Day and FBI Investigations to Family History Searches and today's Digital Challenge—meant that each kiosk had a different type of content and a completely different problem to solve. In the end, it was like doing thirteen individual projects."