Responses by Andrea Meilgaard, product manager, Zero Studios
Background: The purpose of the website is to communicate the personality, values and offerings of Canal Street Market. The market celebrates the eclecticism of downtown New York and its important heritage of Chinatown through a curated food and retail marketplace and mix-use event space. The website is primarily directed to small business owners that are looking to expand and grow their businesses through a physical space, people in the creative community who are looking to host events, and people in the area looking to get lunch or explore new, upcoming retail brands.
Highlights: The moment of discovery and surprise is present throughout the site experience and is something we wanted to translate from the physical experience to the digital one. The color palette and typefaces are cool, but it’s the pairings and usages that create a certain dynamic and visual aesthetics. Lastly, we introduced shapes, symbols and signs that you actually see in Chinatown New York in a few subtle ways on the website—a personal favorite is the 404 page that is a good representation of the Chinatown vibe.
Challenges: A range of different venders across retail and food made keeping photographic content consistent and scalable challenging. We used color, typography and unicode characters as the primary visual design elements, and utilized photography to create more discoverable moments, like vendor hovers and detail pages.
Favorite details: I really like the animated characters that are present on the food, retail and community pages. There are soup bowls, roses and smiley faces that gently bounce up and down at a slow pace. They are not especially utilitarian, but always make me smile. It was a great collaboration between design and development to make them come alive and feel right.
Navigational structure: The desktop navigation is similar to turning pages in a book and consists of three columns in different colors, fixed to the right-hand side when users land on the site. On mobile, it translates into a full-screen house that consists of four colorful squares: About, Food, Retail and Community.
Technical features: For the Canal Street Radio section under the Community tab, we displayed all the shows from the market and a feed featuring the latest episodes. We pulled in RSS feeds from the different shows, which enabled the latest episodes to automatically show up on the page.