I consulted the non profit organization, Vietnamese Refugee Library & Museum, to design and develop their digital presence. The primary objective was to create a visually engaging experience to share news and stories about Vietnamese refugees in order to have visitors return to the website to create an ongoing dialogue about the lasting effects of war. Their mission is to share experiences faced by Vietnamese Refugees so that the history of the diaspora is not lost.
There were two extremely different target audiences for the Library. On one hand an older audience was made up of the immigrants themselves, many of which are senior Vietnamese immigrants who may not be very technologically literate or speak little English. The other audience are 1st or 2nd generation Vietnamese immigrants who typically speak little Vietnamese. In order to meet these two groups I elected to create a multi-lingual website.
The visual design of the website was to be minimal and conservative. The serious subject matter is framed in a primary black and white palette with South Vietnamese yellow accents. Images are the predominant feature as they convey a lot of meaning with little words.
The website functions as a historical repository. The organization plans in the future for them to consistently share news of Vietnamese refugees, stories, and also be an online exhibition for cultural artifacts. To this end I focused on backend development to create an admin interface to quickly and easily publish a variety of dynamic content.
The end result is a dynamic and engaging website. I learned a lot of things about web development and a variety of digital tools. The website is still in development, but will soon be launched.