Responses by Gladeye.
Background: Our client L’Atelier identifies future market opportunities in digital domains. This site summarizes its research and insights on the virtual economy, which includes cryptographic virtual assets. L’Atelier believes that the virtual economy could be part of a solution to the growing generational wealth gap. The audience is global and includes everyone interested in new economies and new ways of creating value.
L’Atelier is continuing to research and report on the Virtual Economy. This is an introduction and hero piece for this stage of its research, so there will be more to come.
Design core: The site is a 3-D “universe” populated by planets, asteroids and nebulae intended to represent different elements of the virtual economy. It’s a very cinematic treatment of a long read. There’s a lot of movement and activity, so we opted for a restricted color palette based on bold black and white. Each chapter was treated differently in terms of design. For example, at one point we transition from the universe to a “pixel world” inside a spaceship where we learn about the population of the virtual economy.
Challenges: There were lots of challenging aspects of the project. The L’Atelier team were developing the story while we were designing the interactive concepts, so we shared ideas and influenced the storytelling—but that also meant more changes in production. The world going into lockdown due to COVID-19 added a few challenges as well.
Navigational structure: Early on, we identified that we needed to choose between a single page experience versus an experience where chapters were split across different pages, and whether it was linear or flat in hierarchy across the chapters. There was an early draft at this point, and with L’Atelier, we identified that it was very much about a linear narrative with a conclusion that would be crucial as a takeaway for readers.
Combined with the creative concept—a scroll-driven exploration through this metaphorical space—this is what determined that we’d go with a single page experience for the site. We didn’t know quite how long the article would be when we were making this decision, but we knew it’d be long enough that it would warrant a traditional navigation that allowed readers to navigate through to particular chapters, so that they could read it easily in multiple sittings.
Technology: The universe is built in WebGL. For the front-end framework, we used Gatsby, and Prismic as a headless CMS for the site to allow for more flexibility in the content-editing workflow.
Special features: Within the Distributed Open Markets section, we pull real-time transaction data from OpenSea—one of the platforms where virtual assets are traded—via its API. As a design element, it reads like a stock ticker; the transaction content is also fairly obtuse to a normal reader, so it adds this strange content-data noise that we think suits that section where we’re explaining the current state of virtual asset trading and its future potential. This element gives readers a chance to dip their toes in if they want (it includes links to the actual assets and transactions on OpenSea) without the data we present here being too overwhelming.