Inspired by interactive storytelling pieces like Spent and After64, we considered arranging the content in an interactive narrative. Users would come to the site and interact with it, making choices that would influence the material that was presented to them. If we'd chosen this concept, we would have created a script with a series of possible outcomes, using characters from the Chinese Restaurant histories the museum had gathered to walk the user through a biographical narrative.
Inspired by the clean lines and highly-organized content of websites like the Tennessee government site, we though tat this concept would help to make sense of the huge amount of information the museum had gathered for their exhibit. We also considered the possibility of a Prezi-style animation that would be zoom-in to the desired content frame.
It turned out that the client liked elements of each of our concepts, and each of our design treatments, so much so that they couldn't choose just one! Ultimately, we decided to combine them in a way that lent itself to the material, creating a grid-style homepage, a one-pager timeline, and exploring the restauranteurs' stories by highlighting a few of the longest-standing restaurants on their own pages.
The design theme aligned with the exhibit, using the black and red with gold accents and white text that the exhibit's designer had used.
A Few of our Favourite Things...
The food, was, of course, a key feature in the exhibit, and on the site. We built a carousel showing place settings with the key menu items mentioned in the exhibit - Chop Suey, Green Onion Cakes, Sweet & Sour Pork, Won Ton Soup and Ginger Beef. A few of the dishes are accompanied by videos of chefs from our featured restaurants.