A website is a collection of items including text, images and video, that is presented in a way that is easy to navigate. At least that’s what it’s supposed to be. Logos are generally in the top left corner of the page, the navigation bars are either at the top of the page or down the left side, and text is usually a sans-serif font, although not exclusively.
An immersive web experience is one that pushes the boundaries of web site design, and the best examples of it blur the lines between visiting a website, and telling a story.
Creating an immersive web experience is one that challenges the way in which I look at a website. There are tools out there that I will be exploring through my 2nd year, so that I can build something that stands alone on the web. The key thing is to make sure that there is a story there, but also that there is additional content to engage the user beyond the story itself.
I have looked at these immersive story telling websites, and I have selected 5 that I feel are good examples of the field. There are aspects of the sites that work, and some areas where I feel that the designer(s) could have made improvements.
MoMA – Century of the Child
The Museum of Modern Art is located just south of Central Park in New York, and in 2012 hosted the exhibition “Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000”. The exhibition shows different aspects of childhood throughout the 20th Century.
The website also shows a child’s journey, with an animated child walking within the hub of links to different parts of the website. From this hub, the page is divided into 7 different areas, each one showing a different sector of time within the decade. Each of these areas has a different colour to denote the changes in decade.
By using the links, you can navigate to the individual pieces within the exhibition, or you can find out more information from the navigation menu, which breaks convention by being placed at the bottom of the screen. By showing the pieces, it engages with the user, and hopefully they feel that they want to explore the exhibition physically, as well as virtually.
I feel that although the site is visually striking, it does lack the medium of sound, which I feel could have added to the experience.
Formula 1 Data
Formula 1 is a motor racing championship that has been in existence since 1950, when the first race was held at the former RAF base at Silverstone, which is located on the border between Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire.
The website uses data post-1965, and shows visually the information regarding races, circuits, drivers, and teams from the start of the 1965 season, through until midway through the 2014 season, specifically the Canadian Grand Prix.
The front page has no navigation bar, but is a holding page with the title, a brief description of the purpose of the site, and a “start button” designed to replicate the start button that is a feature in some cars.
The main 4 sections of data, allow for moving easily from one type of data to another, for example, clicking on a race result, allows you to drill down to history of the drivers, or the circuit data.
As with the MoMA site above, this site lacks an audio element, be that as a background track playing, or sound clips of the cars, but I feel visually the site works well, and as a fan of the sport, I was able to drill down and look at the data and check for accuracy.
Gravity is a film staring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock released in 2013. The film is set in outer space, and the two main characters are astronauts, who are stranded after the destruction of their space shuttle.
The website features moving images on it’s main page, together with audio files to build an atmosphere to the website.
Along the top of the main page, there is a navigation bar, which is in one of the positions that is typical. These links take you to other content within the site, including further video and pictorial content.
The site feels less like a standard website, and has made me want to learn more about the film, and the way in which it was made, thanks to the additional content given by the developers.
This website has been developed by Resusitation Council UK, and is an interactive way of learning about the do’s and don’t’s about resusitation and the part it plays in First Aid.
Using interactive options after watching a piece of film, the website takes you through the steps of giving aid to a member of the public who has collapsed for an unknown reason. These options are timed, and scored, so that you can learn in a kinesthetic way. By making your way through the initial scenario, you are offered the chance to move onto other situations, again with video and audio clips.
The website cleverly uses audio and video to help you to learn, but not in a boring and stuffy way, and by using these methods, it feels like a gaming experience, which personally is a great way to learn the skills necessary.
The Guardian created a story about Tasmanian Bushfires. Nothing sensational in that, I hear you cry. But it’s not just about the story, which is powerful in itself, it’s also about the way you can feel part of the story.
By moving away from a news story, and more towards an interactive book, the Guardian have created an experience, rather than just a few pars of text. Clever use of voice interviews, background audio, and video, means that you can try to understand what was going through the minds of the people involved.
The whole web experience add value to the content, rather than just being gimmicky, and makes the story about Dunalley so much more accessible.
My powerpoint presentation gives an outline using bullet points to look at these websites.