On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Lives were forever changed that day, and two organizations — PROOF: Media for Social Justice and the University of Dayton Human Rights Center — set out to document the experiences of ordinary citizens in moments of crisis. TOKY was selected to create an interactive website to amplify these stories.
Lives Forever Changed
In May of 2016, nine University of Dayton students and their advisors traveled to Ferguson to interview individuals affected by the unrest in August 2014. Each story pairs with a striking portrait of the interviewee, photographed largely by Mark Katzman with additional portraits by Geoff Story, creative director at TOKY.
Amplifying Voices Online
Originally, the oral histories and portraits were shared at a series of exhibitions. As the team made plans to turn the oral histories into a podcast, TOKY came on board to share these stories with a larger audience through an interactive website. Our goal: to let the stories and individuals speak for themselves.
Site visitors can explore the audio stories by chapter using the circular navigation element on the site’s home page. With this approach, one story leads into the next, creating a cyclical narrative without giving one individual priority over the next.
Mapping Diverse Perspectives
In addition to the chapter-based navigation, visitors can explore stories geographically. Interviews are plotted on a map of Ferguson, providing context for the size of the community as well as the specific place each narrative plays out in relation to where Michael Brown was killed in 2014.
Animation in Context
On the home page, visitors are pulled in with an introductory animation that layers in storyteller portraits one at a time. We repurposed this video for social media as a way to introduce Ferguson Voices to audiences across the country.
“Our partners at TOKY elevated the material by translating it into a visual and interactive experience. It’s as if you’re thinking about the material in extra dimensions.”
— Joel R. Pruce / University of Dayton Human Rights Center
User Experience Design