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On April 24, 2013, Rana Plaza, an eight-story commercial complex in Bangladesh, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 and injuring at least 2,500. The majority of the building was used as a garment factory, where workers had been ordered to return even though the rest of the building had been shut down the day before after the discovery of cracks in the building that foretold of the massive structural failure. The disaster is the worst accident in the history of the garment industry. The Ghosts of Rana Plaza website is an interactive visualization of a long-form article of the same title, written by Jason Motlagh, funded by the Pulitzer Center and published in the Spring 2014 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review that explores the tragedy in depth one year after the building collapsed. The website is built around timelines that map out the individual stories of the six primary characters in the article. The six timelines were constructed to give a sense of the connection between these people’s lives. While Motlagh was reporting the piece, he took some photographs of garment plans in the ruins of the factory, and these became the primary aesthetic influence on the site’s design. The other main design driver was to make the site fully responsive and easy to use on mobile platforms. When viewed on a smartphone, only one active timeline is displayed, and a character icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen lets you switch timelines. The site broadens the reach of Motlagh’s reporting, investigating a story that could all too easily be forgotten.
ranaplaza.pulitzercenter.org/

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