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SyriaFAQ

SyriaFAQ is a FAQ page about the Syrian war, made up of video interviews I conducted in Turkey with Syrian refugees in October, 2013. I was a grad student and research fellow at News Deeply at the time.

News Deeply's pilot site, Syria Deeply, had just launched and I was tasked with researching article templates. I was interested primarily in how they could flesh out their background sections that explained the conflict, the modern history of Syria and the context of the Arab Spring.

Mockups for the video FAQ page.
Video answers appear in a modal.

Goal

Explore how design and story framing can help introduce a topic as complex as the Syrian civil war. News sites aren't encyclopedias, but they can present intimidating information in a visually interesting and narrative way.

Process

I wanted to build a template and do the original reporting-- I was (and still am) interested in how design can inform the questions you ask sources, camera angles, b-roll, and so on.

I had a number of ideas, but settled on using a FAQ to frame the conflict around several big questions. I then raised the money to go to Kilis, Turkey to interview Syrian refugees in October, 2013.

I was inspired by Snow Fall, a huge interactive article that had come out several months before. But because it was only me, I chose to focus mainly on video, and edited the videos to stand alone, answering one question each.

Afterthoughts

I think this design has promise, but I don't like that the user has to open the videos individually-- if I could do it again, I'd design the page to play the videos one after another, and think more about how the three can be watched together. I'd also build a second page with further reading, photos, maps, and so on. It feels more like a companion piece or section of a larger story in hindsight.

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