The Aquatilis Expedition (opens in new tab) is a three-year project aimed at exploring the world's oceans. The website is primarily a promotional page to help fundraising for the expedition, but also communicates the underlying aims of the scheme.
For designer Tobias van Schneider (opens in new tab), the most important priority was establishing a strong brand identity for the expedition that could stand on its own without overshadowing the beautiful underwater imagery.
A further challenge was to tell an engaging story and communicate complex scientific details, whilst capturing short attention spans – especially when the primary goal of the site is to raise funds. To solve this, side panels are used to load content into view without taking the user away from the main narrative.
There was a lot of freedom within the project to experiment with new technologies such as SVG, along with CSS filters and animations. The gives the website a cutting-edge feel, while ensuring it's still accessible to older browsers through graceful degradation.
Ultimately, the site provides a beautiful and tantalising glimpse into the wonders of undersea exploration in an engaging, informative and accessible manner, supported throughout by clear signposting and a novel but successful user interface.
Words: Cole Henley (opens in new tab)
A technical director at Mud (opens in new tab), Cole specialises in frontend development and content management. He also teaches on the MA in Web Design at the University of Greenwich. This article originally appeared in net magazine (opens in new tab) issue 256.