Clearly taking a page from The New York Times’s A Game of Shark and Minnow, which in turn had its roots in the controversial Snow Fall, The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines has published a special section of its website for the Sesquicentennial of Andres Bonifacio. It focuses on “Monumento”, his famous edifice in the north.
The page starts with a CloudFlare loading screen; a jarring but appears to be required feature of the content delivery network it’s hosted on. You are then greeted with the official red logo of his 150th birth anniversary and introductory text to the subject matter, presented as a video in the background: a timelapse of the Bonifacio monument in Caloocan.
Could it be, a government website that actually looks good? Good effort, but there are a few technical difficulties that would fly over those who aren’t in the design and development profession. First, the header bar struggles a bit to stay sticky over the top video while the black text becomes difficult to read.
The character count per line is problematic and the long blocks of text should be made more digestible whether you’re a history buff or not, as it’s basic rule of legibility.
On the flip side, parallax! Yes, I’m normally cynical about this: it’s everywhere and the go-to special effect for the last 3 years. It’s what all the bosses who don’t know any better want to copy from those NYT feature articles. It’s a trope. If a website’s main feature is this, it says you care more about making your audience go wow than making your message or product awesome. But on this page, it tells me the team cared enough to make it a little bit more memorable. I’m cutting the government some slack—but only about this.
Unfortunately all the parallaxed photos disappear on mobile widths when they could have been retained by simplying removing
background-position: fixed and/or keeping them in as non-background images. Truth is, these shouldn’t have just been background images; they should’ve also had a gallery of their own so the readers could get a proper look at them.
Another small thing on the plus side: hiding the discordant social media sharing buttons away in its own popup.
All in all, I appreciate not condensing the rich storytelling (and not taking the infographic route, though using one would be a smart move to promote the microsite), but someone who has more experience in typography would have made all this in-depth history go beyond a textbook experience.
Is this better than having crappy content that happens to have top-notch aesthetics? Of course. Content reigns supreme.