I joined the project as an interaction designer, a little after the work on text and content started. On my first meeting with the team, it was most important to me to understand the main values and ideas behind it through asking questions.
We concluded the conversation with this breif, that served as a manifesto that we mept coming back to again and again during the process:
An interactive online exhibition
The main audience are 6-8th grade students, wether as part of their formal or informal education. The experience should fit both teacher-lead, in class programs or independently at home.
The main goal of the experience is:
To expose the audience to reliable information about Jewish-Europian children who spent WW2 in hiding.
The main values and messages:
- Every child in the world is important
- The Jewish identity and community as a uniting force during hardship
- The experience should include four parts, analogue to four parts of the narrative: before the war and the separation, the hiding period, the rescue and the rehabilitation.
- Every part will include 3 types of content: historical narrative (text), historical artifacts (images, documents, qoutes) and survivor testimonies.
- In order to create emotional connection as well as to give a sense of the chronological order, the exhibition will open with a short animated film, centered around a fictional but complete story about two kids.
Emotional-engagement first approach
While trying to think up creative ways to expose users to the different levels of information, we set a few key guidelines:
We developed a sharp sense of what we wanted to achieve:
- Interactions with the content will give the users a sense of self-value and power when their actions affect what they see on the screen.Our goal as designers is to inspire curiosity, motivate exploration, free browsing and to enhance the joy in discovery.
- competitiveness, or a sense of achievement should not be the focus of the mechanisms we choose.
- Emotional engagement is our means of keeping the user attentive
- Big open questions are our lead for enagement
- make layered narratives easy to differentiate through consistent patterns
Prototyping and creating a visual system
Testing out ideas quickly was a must, so I created interactive figma prototypes to test the different interactions in context. We were able to understan
In time, this allowed me to (more easily) create a full interactive prototype of the whole expirience, which was critical to the testing and development processes.
The Testimony component
At the heart of the project are the video testimonies. As it would be repeating throughout the entire experience and a main incentive to our users, the workflow around the video testimonies was one of the first we designed.
In order to distinguish the personal stories from the historical descriptions, we decided to add them as a pop-up: this allowed for changing the “place” while preserving the context. That way we could also include more information about the survivor and their story – which was a must, considering the videos where up to 3 min long snippets.
This was the basis for our mini-design system of repeating patterns, guiding the user through the expirience.