In 1900, Swedish design reformer and social theorist Ellen Key predicted that the next 100 years would be “the century of the child.” A time in which modern design and modern childhood collide. Century of the Child: Growing by Design explores the past 100 years of this dynamic, interconnected relationship through interactive, multimedia storytelling.
Upon first entering this kaleidoscope of graphics, the user is bit disoriented with no sign telling them were to start. There is no text (aside from a title) and no apparent order to the visual elements, but there is a clear division of sections, made obvious by the use of color.
As soon as the user’s mouse starts moving, they realize that what’s before them is a chronology of history, and with a few clicks they pick up on its organization. User navigation isn’t simple from that point on, it requires some attention, but that aspect contributes to the user’s engagement in the site and its content. It feels like a journey. An exploration.
The use of photo, graphics, and text tell a story. The use of motion links these elements together, creating a timeline. The user must click arrows to move forward and backward on the timeline. Having the additional option of scrolling would add to the site’s ease of use. Contrastively, the user likely does not think to scroll down to find an explanation of the site and further information on its topic, but that is precisely what is required. Eliminating the need for this action would contribute to a more successful layout.
In exploring the site, the user begins to understand the relationship between modern design and modern childhood as predicted by Key. And in putting the site’s pieces together, the user will likely agree that yes, the 20th century was indeed the “Century of the Child.”
By Lauren Rundquist