Living Histories is a multi-year multidisciplinary project spearheaded by Prof. Scott Townsend (project history). It is based in Kefalonia (Κεφαλονια), the sixth largest Greek island and the largest of the islands in the Ionian Sea, off the western coast of mainland Greece. It is a summer studio course that focuses on how design functions within and serves communities. The year-to-year individual projects are site-specific and collaborative, research- and participation-focused.
The portion of Living Histories that the July 2022 cohort worked on focused on the documentation of experiences, practices, values, and history of Kefalonia and its people. I and eight other students worked collaboratively to build and populate a website (link active as of 9/15/22) for all of the research done to date, including interviews, photography, cultural practices, and social values.
Website content breakdown
Our team delegated different design tasks in order to best distribute the workload. My primary responsibility was to craft and maintain the information architecture of the website: to maintain a directory of link paths, heirarchy of pages, and content placement.
SITE MAP —
The website itself has three major sections: Oral Histories, Timeline, and Practices. The homepage houses supplemental information about the project.
The Oral Histories tab houses the meat of the website: the actual interview content. The content, which is vast, can be navigated on an individual scale or on a local scale—users are able to click on a town that piques their interest or on an individual whose story piques their interest. Included in each individual page is information about the interviewee, a video recording of their interview as well as a transcript, and any photography provided. All of the interview videos can also be found on YouTube.
Navigation by LOCALITY —
Navigation by INDIVIDUAL —
— — —
The Timeline tab provides crucial historical context as to why this research is essential. Both written text and photography is present.
— — —The Practices tab is more aspirational: we laid out the groundwork for the next cohort to populate this section of the website with the cultural practices of Kefalonian people (art, architecture, cooking, etc).
Since the website is an ongoing work in progress, there are a number of pages on the site that remain blank and inaccessible. This walkthrough illustrates one possible user flow.
Our team of nine worked effectively through delegation and constructive critique. Everyone’s involvement is visible in our final product.
Main pain points we worked through included figuring out how to present both Greek and English copy in a culturally respectful way, learning to code HTML and CSS by hand, and time/team/content management to bring the project as close to completion as possible within the five weeks we had.