National Geographic 
— The Serengeti Lion

An immersive, interactive storytelling experience showcasing the lives of lions in Tanzania's Serengeti.

Date 2013    Role UX & UI Design

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Photographers capture hundreds or thousands of photos when they shoot for National Geographic. A rigorous editing process results in only a handful of photos selected for publication. Such was the case when photographer Nick Nichols and his team presented hundreds of photos and videos they captured of Serengeti lions in Tanzania. Watching Nick’s presentation, a photo editor knew instantly that we had to build something special to showcase the remarkable images. The photo editor brought the challenge to my team, and we got to work.

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The Solution

My team gathered examples of the most interesting interactive video and photography projects we could find. We critiqued each project discussing what worked well and what wasn't working. We used this competitor analysis to develop a set of guiding principles. The Serengeti Lion project had to be Simple, Immersive, and Compelling.

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Start

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Section

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Gallery

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Gallery — Caption

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Index

Motion & Interaction

As the Serengeti brings to mind wide-open plains, the team knew early in our process that the project would have a primarily horizontal, left-right layout and motion. 

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A looping intro video entices the user to explore

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Navigating through sections

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Exploring the index

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Diving deeper through captions

A looping intro video entices the user to explore

Navigating through sections

Exploring the index

Diving deeper through captions

You feel in a very intimate position with the subject material, and the way it’s designed enforces that intimacy. It’s really rare to find an experience with instant empathy.”

—Judge from SND35 competition

Team

LEAD DESIGNER
Roy Wilhelm

PHOTOGRAPHER
Michael Nichols

CINEMATOGRAPHER
Nathan Williamson

PHOTOGRAPHER
Brent Stirton

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Jody Sugrue

PRODUCER/EDITOR
Pamela Chen

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Tess Vincent

PRODUCER
John Kondis

PRODUCER
Web Barr

LEAD DEVELOPER
Grant Swertfeger

FRONTEND DEVELOPER
Lucas Serven

Awards

THE FWA
Website of the Day, 2013

WEBBY
Best Use of Video or Moving Image, 2014

SOCIETY FOR NEWS DESIGN
Silver Medal, Best of Digital Design, 2014

PICTURES OF THE YEAR INTERNATIONAL
Award of Excellence, 2014

CREATIVE REVIEW ANNUAL 
Best in Book, 2014

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Interested in working together?