World AIDS Day 2020

Visitors to the new National AIDS Memorial web platform are drawn in by the major focus on stories of the pandemic from the past 40 years that show how the face of HIV/AIDS has changed from then to now.

- National AIDS Memorial Team

Can you describe your project and the concept behind it?

We aimed to inspire a new movement, new action, and new hope through the digital platform for the National AIDS Memorial. We wanted to tell the story of AIDS while making it relevant today for survivors, donors, and new audiences who find parallels facing extraordinary human loss from Covid-19. It is the powerful story of HIV/AIDS, now four decades into a worldwide pandemic. And, it is the story we likely will face again in the future if we do not act now.

Tell us about your initial moodboard, wireframe, or prototype. How did things change throughout the process?

It all started with a series of sketches in a Rhodia N°18 5x5, followed by mockups and prototype development via Google Slides followed by work in Adobe Creative Cloud, followed by creation in WebFlow. The entire workflow has been virtual and comprised of Zoom 1:1s and team meetings where spirited, and often emotional, conversations shed new light on how to plus the ideas. In the end, it has been the community that shaped the creative spirit.

What influenced your chosen technical approach, and how did it go beyond past methods?

Visitors to the new National AIDS Memorial web platform are drawn in by the major focus on stories of the pandemic from the past 40 years that show how the face of HIV/AIDS has changed from then to now. The goal is to engage visitors and provide an interactive experience that drives action, engagement, and support for the National AIDS Memorial mission and programs.

When did you experience a breakthrough or an "a-ha" moment during this project?

Going deep with this inclusive social justice organization in its vision, organizational practices, programs, and actions triggered many emotions and a strong sense of resilience. The story of AIDS merits a place where the connectedness of the fight against it to other struggles for human rights in our past, present, and future will be made clear, and seen as a vital part of the greater struggle for social justice throughout history.

What web technologies, tools, and resources did you use to develop this?

Our fresh take started with a new website, built on WebFlow, featuring digital and curated assets for the AIDS Memorial including a partnership with the Library of Congress archival materials to tell the story of AIDS in an engaging way. Events, e.g. World AIDS Day, are integrated via YouTube Live Stream, and the Interactive AIDS Quilt is an innovative platform that allows viewers to experience and visually connect with all 48,000 panels at once.

How did you balance your own creative ideas and technical capabilities with a fair representation of the client’s brand?

We took a major leap of faith from the start of our collaboration putting trust in decision making and a wide open table for feedback and dialogue with a focus on "How do we want people to feel?" The trust and partnership was forged quickly through weekly sprints of priorities with eyes on signature events happening both in June and December to keep our momentum. Organically, the sacred cows went to pasture and the stories surfaced to forefront.

How did the final product meet or exceed your expectations?

We have a powerful reach via storytelling and have captured hearts and minds with 300M+ media impressions and 550+ news stories — the digital platform is a teaching tool, connecting HIV/AIDS to the issues of today — pandemics, loss, social injustice, health inequity, stigma, bigotry, and fear. Our virtual signature events drew leaders from across the country including Dr. Fauci, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza.

Why is this an exciting time to create new digital experiences? How does your team fit into this?

While nothing can replace the beauty of seeing the Quilt in person, our hope is that the virtual exhibition helps use the power and beauty for our nation to heal and remember during these difficult times. Virtually, we brought together powerful voices from both pandemics for an important conversation about health justice, social activism, remembrance, hope, and resilience. The forum can be watched anytime from this new digital platform.

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