The Webby for Good, produced in partnership with WP Engine, is a showcase of Webby-honored projects and campaigns that are promoting social good in the world.
Describe your project: What is it, how did it come to be?
How do you tell the story of a relationship between two countries—in this case, the US and Japan—spanning 160+ years? Three years ago, the Garden of the Phoenix Foundation challenged the team at envision it to do just this. In association with Project 120 Chicago, a public-private partnership to revitalize Chicago’s South Parks; and partnering with key stakeholders from both groups—The Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Park District—we brought history to life through a digital timeline containing a full library of robust historical content, including images, photographs, videos, and articles. The result of 3 years of work is a boundary-pushing interactive experience that tells the story of the relationship between Japan and the U.S. as it relates to this culturally significant and historical site within Chicago’s Jackson Park. The goal for the website is to be a place of discovery and mutual understanding, just like the park itself.
What key challenges did you face with this project? And how did you overcome them?
With a 160-year story, the volume of content was massive. We needed to coordinate a variety of stakeholders as we pieced the narrative together. So we developed a content strategy to guide the process as we curated content, later aligning these with our UX approach. The resulting framework facilitates an enticing experience, drawing audiences efficiently through the story while providing avenues for visitors to dive deeper if they wish.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project?
At our core, we are storytellers and proud citizens of Chicago. This initiative allowed an opportunity for our team to express this identity in a truly unique venue. In regards to the Garden of the Phoenix, a gem within Chicago's Jackson Park, it is now recognized as one of the most important sites reflecting U.S.-Japan relations for over 160 years. This project helped make that happen.
Sites for museums, parks, zoos, gardens, aquariums, theatres, arenas and any other institutions of cultural significance.