100 Gallons – Powering A Nation

After viewing the Coal: A Love Story produced by Powering A Nation in class, I was intrigued to see what other types of projects this group has pursued.  I came across their 100 Gallons project. This interactive page pieces together, text stories, video narrative and engaging graphics to tell a more complete story behind this mundane material that sustains life.

The page begins with a 2 minute video that ends on this landing page. From the beginning, the topic of the story is clear with an opening video that takes a creative look at every day water usage. This was engaging being clear on the topic but not giving too much away.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 9.10.22 PM

Over all, the content of this story is intriguing, giving unique perspective on a seemingly broad and boring topic such as water. The perspectives represented explore the different ‘life giving’ capabilities of water, while still adhering to journalistic principles of storytelling in the content. The stories are artistically and creatively driven and informative, presenting the information in an engaging interface. Combining these pieces give a thought provoking presentation of water issues.

The strongest elements of this story is the surprising artistic quality of the mini pieces that make up the greater story. The videography is beautiful and adds to the strength of the narrative of each subject. The weakest element of this piece is the navigation and cohesion of the website page. Individually, each of these elements is high quality and well done, however, the cohesion across media platforms becomes murky and the navigation is a bit confusing. There is even a tab in the corner of the screen that says “how to view”. I believe this was an attempt to compensate for the usability issues, but even that information was not adequate for a seamless and friendly user experience.  The ‘dot’ navigation along the bottom of the screen is could easily act as a hover, but doesn’t interact with the video playing making it confusing as to when the appropriate time is to interact with these dots. When the introduction video is over, there is a grid of photos hinting at the each media piece. This helps with usability because it is more direct and clear, however the flow of the page is still unclear. I became confused as to where I was supposed to go next.

In regards to general design elements of the story, the blue tones used in the interactive graphics and blue basic tones  of the website allude to water as the topic. They took a subtle, yet effective approach without being cliche.

This story was engaging and informative despite some of the confusing navigation. The contributors took a unique approach to a commonplace topic and succeeded.

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One thought on “100 Gallons – Powering A Nation

  1. I agree–it’s a beautiful layout that uses a lot of pretty graphics and photographs, but the navigation bar at the bottom was confusing to me as a new visitor. Even though the bar is laid out pretty simply (left to right obviously means start to finish, I assume?), I found myself clicking on random dots rather than in sequential order. Because of that, I wasn’t really being told a story, and I ended up growing bored of the site. Not nearly as visually engaging as the Coal site we looked at in class!

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