We designed an online interactive documentary to provide an understanding of slavery in the colonial North for a general audience. Rather than an examination of the institution, the website explores the human dimensions of enslavement. The interactive online experience aims to provoke thought and help give voice to the enslaved, for whom little physical evidence remains.
Mapping Storytelling Paradigms
The names of the enslaved men, women and children listed on Adolph Philipse’s probate inventory, runaway slave ads, slave narratives, legal and court documents, and other primary sources will serve as the entry point for exploring human enslavement. We mapped out the different paradigms used to narrate their stories.
After mapping out the story paradigms, we thought of how to disperse them within the navigation such that each story is intertwined for a non-linear experience.
As the top level navigation plays an imperative role as to diver deeper into the stories of slavery, we had to think of how we can subliminally introduce the plot, without giving it all away. We had to create meaningful interactions to perk a user’s curiosity as to what is to come when they select a story. The first exploration used typography to mask and reveal illustrations that represented each chapter.
The second exploration uses a modular block system that reveals hints of what each chapter is about on hover state.
Animations Supporting Narrative
The next design process was to think of how transitions and content loads in when a user first lands on a text and image narrative. We thought of how animations and the order of objects appearing supports the narrative.
Designing for Mobile
We stripped away heavy content on mobile, focusing on the core narratives for each story.
Agency— C&G Partners
Role— Interactive Prototyping, Animation