Clever site showcases McDonald's memories

We get under the hood of this award-winning site, which celebrates four decades of the fast food giant.

This year marks McDonald's' 40th anniversary, and it's celebrating by presenting customers' memories spanning five decades, in an interactive application created by Razorfish, one of our favourite design agencies to follow on Twitter.

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Built entirely using the HTML5 Canvas API, there are two things here that really catch the eye: the beautifully animated interface, and good-enough-to-eat typography.

How they made it

The grid layout and posters were built using Pixi.js, a 2D WebGL renderer by Goodboy Digital. A custom 3D renderer was built on top to provide the transitional animations and make them perform smoothly, even on mobile devices. The system that creates the typographic posters uses natural language and syntax analysis to deconstruct each sentence and tag words based on the sentiment it contains.

Goodboy's technical partner Mat Groves says: "We ran the sentiment information through an algorithm that would lay out the poster and render it using some custom-made WebGL shaders. The cool thing is this all happened in real time!"

Users can also share memories through speech input in browsers that support the Web Speech API – another great enhancement in a site full of beautifully considered details. The site is no longer live, but you can view it on Razorfish's portfolio site at

Words: Peter Gasston

Peter Gasston is a veteran web developer who now works as a technologist and frontend lead at rehabstudio. He's the author of The Book of CSS3 and The Modern Web.

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