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High Street Stories

Who we worked with:
Heritage New Zealand
What we did:

Brand Strategy UX Design Build

Check it out:

High Street Stories

The Christchurch earthquakes irrevocably changed the city's iconic High Street precinct: its famous Victorian and Edwardian streetscapes & only recently urbanised laneways were severely damaged & most of the heritage buildings destroyed.

Through a recent collaboration with Heritage New Zealand, you can now relive the heyday (and the seedier side) of Christchurch's High Street in an online multimedia installation. The buildings are gone, but their stories have been unearthed from the rubble.

The Heritage New Zealand approached us to create an online audio archive of High Street, in order to provide a permanent 'collective remembrance' of architectural & social history and an engaging interactive journey for locals and tourists alike.

The original brief was to create a sound map - an geographically integrated interactive that played audio files specific to each location.  But as content was researched and gathered it grew to encompass:

  • 100+ audio interviews
  • 400+ photos, newspaper clippings and video clips (including a 1980s music video and old Super 8 footage)
  • Written quotes and anecdotes

Our challenge was to combine all this content in an easily browseable design, showcasing the audio clips as the heroes of the piece while allowing cohesive integration of the visuals & text.  As we undertook the UX phase of the project, we quickly realised the idea of pinning content to a map wasn't the best way forward.

Firstly, some buildings had multiple stories from different time periods, making the map pins overlap too much for easy usability – especially for mobile device users, who were the primary audience.  And secondly, a map-only design made it difficult to see at a glance what kind of stories were presented.

Instead, we created a fully responsive tiled layout. The tiles use imagery, story titles, and themes (shown via labels and colour-coding), making it easy to see at a glance the kind of content available and to choose stories of interest. Tiles are filterable by theme, and the layout allows unlimited scalability for new stories to be added.

The fully responsive site also works beautifully on the desktop, making it an excellent research tool for social and architectural historians.

The site now stands as a shared remembrance of a key, but often dark, park of the Christchurch story.


Shared digital memory

Heritage New Zealand approached us to create a tool for locals & tourists to assist with the repair & revitalisation of the High Street precinct by providing a permanent ‘collective remembrance’ of architectural & social history.

Embracing both the digital & physical world

Primarily designed for the mobile & tablet experience, users can consume content while physically exploring the High Street area, through geo-locational functionality highlights stories closest to you. Content is specifically formatted for touch & the small screen.

“NV created an immersive experience that perfectly targets our audience.”

Zoe Roland Project Developer, NZ Heritage New Zealand