Global Lives Website Redesign

Global Lives is a volunteer-based creative collaborative working across borders to create and curate films capturing 24-continuous hours in people’s lives. The goal: cultivate the ethics of global citizenship by building a video library of people’s life experiences. To communicate their purpose and engage their volunteer network, Global Lives needed a foundational design system, including system architecture, interaction models, and visual design. This new website had three main goals: (1) educate visitors on Global Lives, (2) inspire through rich content and an engaging experience, and (3) empower by creating a connected network of users. Method designed a website that makes these goals actionable by enhancing organization and discovery of content, building an engaging online experience. A new, playful mark and design system uses multicolored lines to represent different regions and people across the globe. Able to morph into any shape, these lines highlight adaptability to context. The result is a compelling video library experience and visual language able to educate, inspire, and empower those who interact with the Global Lives brand. soft launched in Q4 2012, resulting in a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the continued site build.

Title: Global Lives Website Redesign
Client: Global Lives
Design Firm: Method, Inc.
Design Team: Melissa Martin (IxD Lead), Raphael Grignani (IxD Director), Derek Kim (Visual Designer), Brendan Pascoe (Project Manager)
Category: Professional

Any visitor to Global Lives can interact deeply with international content, allowing for global exploration via an engaging web experience without the carbon footprint created by travel. Global Lives preserves a valuable culture resource as well. New language applications and open access to Global Lives video transcriptions provide language tools and linguistic resources that have never before been available. For example, Global Lives Malawi (Edith) is the largest corpus of spoken transcribed Chichewa online.

Global Lives celebrates the diversity of human experience through the exploration of culture, status, ethnicity, language, and religion. By presenting video that captures a full 24 hours in another person’s life, this engaging online video experience invites the viewer to become immersed in another person’s world, while simultaneously reflecting upon his or her own. This journey can reveal the depth of human difference and similarity, opening up a dynamic space for dialogue.

Filmmaking is an expensive art form. As video production technologies become more accessible to users, this enables new forms of global participation, documentation and data collection. The new Global Lives website enhances peer-to-peer video production, as well as enabling filmmakers all over the world a platform to propose new video shoots, find film crews, crowdfund their projects, find translators, and contribute to a transnational work of art.

Global Lives cultivates empathy across cultures by making its content accessible and engaging. In addition to the video library, Global Lives provides enriching lessons plans to educators addressing themes of globalization and cross-cultural awareness through the lens of new media. Global Lives also builds immersive video installations and hosts film screening at a diverse range of spaces from the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to United Nations University in Tokyo.

Method is deeply proud of our work with Global Lives. We believe the new website makes possible dialogue that is essential to fostering understanding and empathy across cultures, languages and borders.

When Global Lives came to Method, we identified our top challenges:

  • Design a powerful, flexible identity and visual language that more accurately communicates the Global Lives mission and philosophy of connectedness, empathy and diversity.
  • Develop a user experience that presents rich video content in approachable and meaningful ways, encourages participation, and provides easier access to resources for producers, filmmakers, educators and curators.
  • Provide copyrighting guidance, formatting standards and photography styling guidelines to achieve higher quality and succinct storytelling.

Method’s strategy and approach to our design solution:

  • Create a dynamic identity system that can be extended to both online and offline experiences. This identity and user experience would build brand credibility, awareness and also help Global Lives secure future funding. Method centered the new website experience around the video experience, aiming to make it more approachable and meaningful to the general public.
  • Develop an experience strategy that clearly articulates the overarching design principles and how these tie to the resulting interaction framework, identity system and visual language. Method developed a phased approach, focused on foundational design that could support later extension to include more advanced features.
  • Deliver an information architecture, interaction model, high-level content strategy and style guide specifications, including photography and copy writing guidelines to provide guidance on how to achieve higher quality and more consistent content styling and formatting.
  • Deliver prototype studies demonstrating dynamic qualities of the identity mark and potential applications.
  • Identify a development partner for Global Lives that would be able to execute the design with a high-degree of quality and provide ongoing support during build phase.

Important project outcomes:

  • A brand presence and digital experience that more accurately reflects and communicates their mission, values and philosophy to audiences.
  • A new identity and visual language system that enables volunteers around the world to more easily generate collateral while maintaining a consistent voice.
  • A flexible framework that enables Global Lives to more effectively leverage and present their rich video content and resources in a manner that is more approachable and meaningful for both casual and expert audiences.
  • After launch, Global Lives has received several rounds of additional funding from National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Global Lives exceeded their Kickstarter fundraising campaign goal of $25,000, raising an additional $10,000 enabling them to initiate their “Lives In Transit” series.


Posted in 2013 Winners.

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