Life Below Water MultiMedia 2019

This 10 Percent brief, titled ‘Life Below Water’ is a directive undertaken by students of GDC and artist Marc Edwards, and is focused on collecting data from the Braamfontein, Montgomery and Westdene spruits, in Johannesburg's Northern Suburbs. Primarily a research based project, our findings were divided up into various sub-groups loosely categorized in sections, namely History, Geography and Biology as well as web and exhibition design. Once our empirical research was conducted, our aim was to build a comprehensive data base of the river. The collation of this comprehensive data base also culminated in a variety of community and creative projects. A database taking the form of a website, an app for users of the river to monitor the health of the river system and an exhibition in which our data was to be processed into artworks by Marc Edwards.

Our Ten Percent project: Life Below Water, based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number fourteen, works with artist and academic, Marc Edwards toward the objective of enabling our surrounding communities to recognize and reinvest into the identity of the river as an entity which has a personality, a spirit and a life; all in an attempt to reconnect with the ecosystem that supports us.

HOW WE HELPED

In tackling this brief, we aim to give the water itself a voice of its own, coupled with scientific information that is displayed within a design discourse in order to inform people about the great importance that the rivers hold and how they should be preserved due to how water is the source of all life. Being placed within the Multimedia group, our deliverable is going to be an offline website which houses all of the information of the rivers as well as our entire project as a whole. The website is meant to be designed in such a way that information can be added to it later on past the life of the brief. The three main categories that the website will display are Geography, History and Biology. This information is to be displayed along the main Braamfonteinspruit, as well as Montgomeryspruit and Westdenespruit. In addition to the website our group will also provide data visualization for the information that is collected by the research groups.

WHAT WE DID

In order to form the basis of the website-like database repository, a site map has to be created. A site map is essentially prioritising what the emphasis of the site has to be. This is so that the actual site’s content isn’t too disjointed and confusing the user. Following this process is the general structure of the site, however this is greatly affected by the nature of information that is received from the research groups of this project.

To begin with, the site would be found on browser’s whenever someone searches for information regarding the Braamfontein Spruit or any of the lakes that stem from it. The home page would then include a schematic of the actual water system, which would then serve a role in the actual navigation of the site. Each arm of the bodies of water would represent a category, clicking on either of them would then take you to a page which houses the subcategories and articles and information regarding the respective topic.

To further push the initiative of involving everyday people to contribute to the awareness of this unknown information, each article would have two call-to-action buttons. One would be “How can you help? “, then the 2nd button would be “Do you know more? “. The former could lead to an outsourced site which could detail any efforts one can take to help, and the latter being a way in which a user could provide information missing from any article.

The primary purpose of this web design was to centralise navigation to one screen, essentially having elements change on the page without the user having to scroll to the bottom of the page in order to consume information. This is in order to not tire users in using the site and having a familiar layout on all different sorts of content pages. It also focuses on making use of crisp and large imagery, as a way to manage the text on the page. This is also to depict any type of visual information in relation to the specific body of text that’s being displayed on the article.