My project is finally starting to take on a physical appearance, pushing it beyond its mere conceptual existence. And to be honest, this transformation has been a bit tumultuous at times. I have spent far too much time staring at a blank art board, trying to rationalize the beautiful white space with the fact that I could not yet visualize the project as a whole.
Yet, after much trial and error, I have grounded the content in, what I believe to be, a compelling and emotionally charged visual identity. My original intents were, in some regards, a subtle foundation of this new design direction, yet the purpose of the piece is still intact. And, let’s be honest, I still have a long road of revisions ahead.
The linear narrative is still in line with the structure of a horizontal website. The viewer has quite a few options for control, yet the underlying story is not compromised.
User interaction plays a huge role in creating an effective site. Horizontal websites are, for the most part, a rare find in the cyber world. To avoid confusion, I must pair a traditional means of navigation with the horizontal scrolling cues.
The above navigational bar is an unobtrusive solution. It acts as a ‘table of contents’ to the story. Perhaps an individual has already previewed the content and wishes to return to a particular point of interest. This will allow the viewer to advance through the story at their own pace, especially if they wish to disregard the sequential structure that I have created. The titling eludes to the content of each ‘page’ of the horizontal story, and the white highlighting will notify the user as to which page he is currently viewing, offering a point of reference and focus.
The stylistic arrows are links to advance through the story according to its sequential purpose. In this instance, the user does not have to consider the potentially confusing options that the traditional navigation bar poses. They merely can read through the story and turn the ‘pages’ at their own pace. I will apply a jQuery plug-in to animate the ‘page transitions,’ causing the pages of the story to move gracefully across the screen, alerting the user that the information is indeed connected in a pivotal way.
I could easily present this information using other methods. However, I believe, in comparison, my decision to organize the information via a horizontal website is most natural and helpful to the viewer.
For example, a poster has the potential to overwhelm and confuse the viewer. It is far to easy to ‘skip ahead’ without fully absorbing the content according to its purpose. Yes, we naturally read left to right and top to bottom, but presenting all the information in one fell swoop offers this ‘cheat’ on a silver platter. I believe the poster is appropriate if other options are null according the environment in which the information is presented, but for the most part, it offers too much visual stimulation and does not allow the viewer to ‘bite, chew, and swallow’ the information before moving on.
Even a vertically scrolling website would allow one to skim the information too quickly without taking to heart and mind. The trackpad on my computer allows me to easily manipulate a scrolling website like a DJ — I must merely scrub my fingers over its surface, and the content is blurred beyond recognition. By forcing the viewer to adjust to scrolling horizontally, they are placed outside of their natural computing habits. Hopefully, they will be more aware that they are advancing through the information, and will recognize that the story is organized like a book to be read rather than visual fluff to be skimmed.
I have decided to brand the project as a campaign, a global movement. By tapping into the power of the social networking thrill, I want to encourage people to become a part of a community which exists to promote a cause and enact positive change. I am basing this decision on the general understanding that as human beings, we are often hesitant to take this step alone. However, in numbers, we are more inspired and encouraged to take part. Think of how many people might show up at a 5k race, the proceeds of which goes to benefit brain cancer research. Or consider the movement for breast cancer awareness — women proudly wear the pink ribbon and walk for miles, hand in hand, as part of a global community.
In order to brand my campaign, I gave it an abstract name that eludes to its purpose and initiative. In this case, the name “half4half” is derived from the understanding the approximately a HALF a billion dollars can put the RTS,S vaccine into production, a solution which has the potential to cut the malaria mortality rate in HALF. The name is based on rounded figures, the purpose of which is to provide clarity to the audience. At the end of the day, the idea is that greater funding is needed to make the RTS,S malaria vaccine a reality to those in need.
First, I wanted to provide the audience a tangible means to contribute and share the cause with others. Using a live flip counter makes this an active communal project. And each participant is able to mark their location and sync with their Facebook profile. To join, one must make a donation to the half4half RTS,S vaccine fund, and they can encourage others to do likewise and watch as the social networking world takes the cause viral. (Yes, I admit. It draws on the concept of “look at me!” It would be ideal if people could give anonymously, but often we need a little encouragement to be a part of something beyond ourselves.) I also need to incorporate some way of gauging the incoming funds as the campaign reaches toward a goal of a half a billion dollars (in the same way as the number of participants is exhibited to the public.)
While the initiative to act ends the story, I wanted the beginning of the story to be stark, abstract, and somewhat elusive (leading the audience to the malarial burden without spelling it out). The graphics are still in need of further thought and development, but it will draw upon a enlarged silhouette of a mosquito, providing a comparison that something so small as these pesky creatures can bring so much devastation. I still need to add a tasteful element of “gore and horror” to this depiction. At this point, this insect looks far too harmless to merit a half a billion dollars counterattack.
As I progress further in this stage of graphical development, hopefully the great need for aid and support will become more evident and emotionally stirring.