Author, commentator and historian Clare Wright was struggling to keep her online audience up to date with all of her recent work and contributions generated by her activites a leading, public intellectual. Her existing website design did not allow her users to quickly and readily access her content and this called for a design rethink.
By incorporating visual elements from Clare’s work as an historian, we set about designing a dynamic, visually driven menu which became an elegant centrepiece for user experience; a living portal through which Clare’s audience could engage with her latest work. The result was a contemporary design that users reacted well with and easily complimented the social media landscape in which Clare is an active participant.
Challenge and Objectives
With Clare’s increasingly diverse presence across the Australian media landscape, with a career spanning academia, broadcast media, journalism and much more, meant that her contributions to public debate and intellectual landscape were so broad as to warrant clever design solution. Her existing design did not allow her users quick and easily access her most recent content and contributions to different forms of media. Thus her audience was not engaging with some of her most important work.
For our team, the major challenge was to design an elegant framework which gave users clear, direct and intuitive access to Clare’s broad and diverse body of work. We needed to make Clare’s work readily and rapidly available to her growing audience in a way that was easy to navigate and easy on the eye. In addition to the major design challenge our objectives were to increase Clare’s online presence, enhance her professional appearance and profile online and increase the accessibility of her work for a wider and more active digital audience.
Process and Insight
Clare is immediately recognisable as the Stella prize winning author whose re-examination of the eureka stockade through the perspective of the hundreds of women who were actively involved in this major historical event. Thus our design team wanted to make reference to Clare’s work by making reference to the symbol that underpinned this important period of history; the flag of eureka. The flag thus became the design inspiration for a unique menu layout which perfectly suited Clare’s contribution to our cultural history.
Due to the nature of Clare’s work and her visibility across the media landscape many of the visual decisions concerning the most appropriate choice of images had to be made in close collaboration with the client. This collaboration proved very fruitful and Clare's input really complimented the design and brought it to life. The visual side of Clare’s work was aways strong and by laying out each page with a full screen featured image, the breadth and diversity of Clare’s involvement in public life can now be easily and clearly seen. Clare's audience were also seeking a clean design combined with an easy to navigate, engaging and modern UX which mirrors the world of social media.
The most striking feature of this design was that of the flag with image rotators within individual sections acting as the primary form of navigation. The individualisation of complimentary image was difficult to perfect however it proved to be one of the most rewarding aspects of this build. This design itself gives the site a very contemporary look and feel. It also provides the client with the opportunity to create a compelling visual narrative about themselves and their work.
In this case, Clare is a leading voice in many areas of history including: the history of female publicans, the role of women at the Eureka stockade and the history of the Suffragette movement and human rights in Australia. This gave us an opportunity to animate the visual narrative of her site with many images from the historical record.
As Clare appears regularly in the media as a public speaker and broadcaster and as a recognised, and well known public intellectual, we saw the opportunity to strike a balance between Clare's social and media presence on the one hand, with the world of her ideas on the other. The menu was naturally conceived with tablet and mobile devices in mind and thus the cross device functionality was one of the most crucial aspects of this solution.
This new design has led to a direct increase in Clare’s online presence. It has also enhanced her brand and professional appearance online. The site has also achieved the important goal of increasing the accessibility of her work for a wider and more active digital audience.