Responses by Bluecadet
Background: To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the historic Henry Street Settlement opened a permanent on-site exhibition. In partnership with their team, we created The House on Henry Street, an interactive online exhibition, timeline and neighborhood tour about Settlement’s origin and its ongoing impact on the New York neighborhood it supports.
Highlights: The custom “press-and-hold” video player. We wanted to create a mechanism for displaying all of the incredible archival imagery the client had without it feeling stagnant and “old.” The player, we feel, draws users into the video stories—the physical act of holding and ramping up makes the videos more rewarding—and the videos themselves use motion moves like 2.5-D to really pull you into the scene. Also, the neighborhood walking tour. It delivers a number of different types of content in a clean and easy-to-use design, while leveraging the users’ locations to surface the most relevant, nearby stories.
Challenges: Building a content experience before the content was ready. It’s a really story-driven site, but the client was developing the content—adapting it from a traditional physical exhibit into a structure that works for web—at the same time that we were designing for that content.
Favorite details: How immersive and interactive the storytelling is in the Online Exhibition. Our goal was to evoke a sense of place—the Lower East Side in the 1890s—within a web environment.
Navigational structure: The navigational structure was subject to a lot of conversations internally and with the client. We needed to create a single site that was home to three distinct experiences—one of which has its own semi-linear table of contents. We needed to make sure users could clearly find what they were interested in without getting lost in the site.
Time constraints: Since content development was taking place concurrently with design, we had to figure out an experience—especially for the Online Exhibition—that could be flexible enough to handle whatever the final content would be. Figuring out how to do that without burning hours and redoing a ton of work was definitely tricky. To accommodate the content development timeline that made sense for the client, we wound up staggering the release of the sections of the site: the Online Exhibition and Timeline launched first, followed by the Neighborhood Walking Tour.