Responses by Mark Beechy, executive creative director and Aaron Kim, art director, RED Interactive
Background: Currently, space travel is only attainable to those who can afford it, but Virgin Galactic is taking first steps towards spaceflight for mankind. The new site allows users to imagine and experience the next 20 years of transportation. RED Interactive worked with Microsoft Edge, who served as both partner and client, to envision, develop and launch the Virgin Galactic site, optimized for the Microsoft Edge browser.
Highlights: Using cutting-edge web technology to create experiences that show the wonder of Virgin Galactic space flight. We were also able to create “Explore,” an immersive tour of SpaceShipTwo and the WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircrafts. We optimized this experience for devices that range from mobile devices to high-end VR headsets. Our audience is able to traverse around the large stage floor and see the spaceships up close.
Challenges: Telling an authentic brand story. For Virgin Galactic, this meant being able to speak to a broader audience outside of the wealthy few, and get them excited about their future in space travel. The site needed to appeal to hardcore space enthusiasts, but also inspire a casual audience to care.
Favorite details: Whether on the homepage or through the dropdown menu, each of the navigation tiles tilt and bend to the direction of the cursor arrow. The extra depth and perspective of this interaction helps create a smooth and premium feel to an unexpected component of the site.
Navigational structure: Moving away from a traditional homepage, the site presents a handful of enticing experiences. We want users to slow down, and the navigation structure reflects that.
Time constraints: We had some engaging experiences that never made the final launch. For example, we worked on an abstract WebVR experience that let users “ride” along on a spaceflight while listening to the pilot and ground control comms—but this ultimately got cut.
Approach: We prototyped all kinds of crazy ideas and initial thoughts. We had motion mock-ups of sites that flew vertically through space. We had split-screen views where users could navigate each side of the site independently to create unique combinations of stories. We played around and had some fun—all on behalf of our target audience.