Educational information shown visually
For this project, the goal was to create snack-sized information that can help people understand the intricate process of creating consumer-level chocolate. I chose to make it a single scroll so that the user can stay immersed in the narrative--keeping additional layers of exploration built into each module. Each page fold allows the reader to take in a primary animation, a title, description, and occasionally an additional memorable statistic.
Below is my process:
The task was to create an printed infographic surrounding the world of chocolate. My personal goal was to make the chocolate process of farming, harvesting, producing, and selling chocolate accessible to all in a delightful and educational format.
1.) Online quantitative research
I wanted to begin by immersing myself into the world of Chocolate. What went into the process of growing, producing, and selling chocolate? What is a Cacao plant? What keeps most people from knowing more about this tasty treat that most of us grew up enjoying? I started grabbing all sorts of infographics off the internet and reading through them. It was enlightening to read how different processes were highlighted or even sometimes ignored. Visually, I noticed a prevalent use of earthy tones: browns, reds, oranges.
2.) Qualitative weekly meetings with experts
I had the privilege of setting up weekly check ins with two local craft chocolate makers. Coincidentally, one of them happens to be a Designer by trade so our conversations helped synthesize the data into a clear narrative as well as provide me with somebody who took visual storytelling into consideration. We met about 6 times in the course of 12 weeks.
3.) Phone calls with chocolate makers
I also set up a few phone calls with Theo Chocolates in Seattle, who particularly were useful in understanding the craft chocolate world but also are rapidly growing to become a world-wide manufacturer. They helped provide insight into the often controversial topic of mass-production chocolate.
Lots of information was compelling about the chocolate industry. From the amount of revenue that it produces each year to who the largest consumers of chocolate are, I found these bite-sized nuggets of information very interesting. I then moved into visual exploration of what form this infographic might begin to take.
Here are some of the visual modules that I explored:
Shift to making a microsite
Ultimately, after critiques and reviews with experts, it became clear that as I attempted to make the chocolate process of farming, harvesting, producing, and selling chocolate accessible to all, that the medium of print was becoming too limited. Most of the process steps of making chocolate utilized motion of one thing becoming another. I then made the shift over to web so that the user could interact with each stage of the process in a consumable and compact format--without being overwhelmed with excessive visuals.
GIFS surfaced as an appropriate and delightful graphic style to convey the labor intensive nature of chocolate. It allowed for display of motion and gave this project a charming vibe to the experience. I chose to use solid bold compound shapes to keep the information straight and to the point. I also elected to keep it to a single-scroll site to allow for the narrative to be clear and concise, with more tidbits of information accessible through playful learn more buttons: allowing the user to customize their educational journey around this subject
Takeaways / Project Findings
When designing for an unfamiliar subject, finding milestones to check in with experts and receive feedback is invaluable to the success of the project.
Good research should be discovered in multiple avenues. Relying on a single truth is risky if you want to fully understand an audience.
Appreciation for new and unfamiliar subjects is key to creative growth for designers.