Background: The Uroboros Festival was originally intended as a physical event dealing with the role of design in society. Designers from Central and Western Europe were invited to come, and they would have traveled by planes and trains to the Czech Republic. It would have taken place at the cost of significant environmental, economic and time expense. And those costs would have lessened attendance to a few people from Prague and their friends. At the time, however, we didn’t think about it that way.
I am not only a web designer, but also one of the four curators who have organized this whole event both artistically and in terms of production. Thanks to that, it was very easy for me to understand what was needed on the website in relation to the festival and its visitors. After all, understanding the reasons why a website—as well as any other design—is created is a key task for the designer and an integral part of a well-formulated assignment.
Design core: As with physical events, our main goal was to introduce the program, the artists, offer reservations and communicate what is happening right now. So the site is a kind of digital entrance hall: the place where the visitor comes, looks around and chooses the event according to their interests and schedule. We also tried to make the visitor feel like they were in a lively place on the web, which is helped by various animations, a dynamic visual identity designed by Lenka Hamosova, details in microcopy (such as “Enter Festival,” “What’s Going On” and “Upcoming Events”) and embedded video plugins with live streams from ongoing events.
Challenges: The COVID pandemic is a tragedy, but it is also a time to break conventions. Many people are saying that the world post-COVID will be different than it used to be, but what exactly will that world look like? These are the questions we ask ourselves and our festival guests, and the website itself is also their consequence. Would we decide to create an online festival if the pandemic had not broken out? Probably not. Would artists and visitors use the web as an alternative to a physical festival? Probably not most of them. However, the situation caused by the pandemic changed our plans. As the organizers, we were faced with the question of whether to cancel, postpone or transform it into an online event. As you can see, the third variant won.
Creating a festival online also enabled us to expand the program. We were able to invite artists who would not otherwise be able to attend the event and reach an audience literally all over the world. I believe that we created and managed a program that can attract attention in virtual space. I also believe that an online festival with free admission to all events can remove many social barriers, overcome geographical distances and disrupt opening hours. While it is possible to say that the festival was physically closed, it actually couldn’t be more open.