“A beautiful and graceful interface that extends the personality of this important writer.” —juror Gabe Kean
“A pleasant takeaway from the site is the directional transitions between interactions, which serve as lightweight wayfinding reminders to determine both progress and depth when navigating through modules and pages.” —juror Megan Meeker
Overview: Eel is his favorite lunch. He owns around 10,000 vinyl records, most of them jazz. A bobblehead figurine of Japanese baseball pitcher Yasuhiro “Ryan” Ogawa stares at him as he writes. Such are the facts that visitors unearth on writer Haruki Murakami’s new website. Created by Bluecadet, the site is streamlined into four navigation tabs—Author, Library, Community and Resources—that are gateways to inviting, in-depth content. Fans will be delighted to find that the site is a mirror for Murakami’s own writing, in all its sophisticated and strange wonder.
•Murakami’s publisher wanted this website to be a living experience that reflects his client’s prolific writing.
•The developers used WordPress for the back-end CMS and Angular.js for front-end development.
•A six-person Bluecadet team—one creative director, one art director, one producer, two developers and one designer—handled the project from start to finish.
Comments by Troy Lachance, Mark Llobrera and Kathryn Stracquatanio:
What was the thinking behind the navigational structure? “Murakami’s work is immersive, imaginative and experiential, so we wanted the website to convey that. The homepage is designed as a playful window into his latest work. His words are juxtaposed against imagery that evokes each book’s plot and creates a series of immersive slides that let visitors explore Murakami without committing to reading the entire book. Clicking on a slide takes visitors deeper into the site, where they can find a wealth of information, from a captioned tour of Murakami’s desk and the objects he keeps close at hand while writing to a library that includes long descriptions, excerpts and reviews. The Resources section delves even further, with opportunities to discover his books’ many musical and artistic references—encouraging site visitors to linger and learn.”
Describe any special interactive features. “Users are encouraged to share their stories about favorite Murakami characters, scenes and discoveries in the Community section of the website. Visitors fill out a brief form that populates a storyboard, where users can read other Murakami fans’ comments.”
Did you learn anything new during the process? “Building the Haruki Murakami website gave the Bluecadet team the opportunity to learn how to decouple WordPress from the front-end client.
The site is responsive and has a custom WordPress content management system. This has opened up room for innovation in most of our other projects since the Murakami site.”