Your own personal website gives you an ideal platform to share your accomplishments and interests with the world. If you have a lot of information you want to share, it can be challenging to publish it all in an interesting and engaging way. This week’s #WebsiteWednesday, AleydaRocha.xyz, offers a great example of how to do just that. She uses eye-catching video on her website to make her work as a researcher and artist as enthralling to her visitors as it is to her.
Aleyda Rocha is a researcher and artist, based in Vienna by way of Mexico. Aleyda completes most of her work in her role as a Scientific Researcher at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Her research examines practices of extractivism and colonialism. More specifically, she’s focused on sustainability and fighting for social justice. Aleyda completes this work in her role as founder of the Dismantle Extractivism Network, which aims to visualize and fight extractive environmental practices. She’s also a founding member of Revoltosas Mexico, a non-profit organization dedicated to pushing forward gender equality in Mexico. Because Aleyda’s work deals with large social issues and complex global crises, it can be difficult to grasp and jump into right away. To make it engaging to non-researchers, Aleyda uses her artistic abilities to create unique videos for the projects she features on her website.
The dedicated page for Aleyda’s Dismantle Extractivism Network is a perfect example of her design strategy. She uses a visual intended to help the viewer understand her work on different levels. The warping image, though not fully clear, appears to be of a tree or other common symbol of nature. By having the image become distorted, Aleyda aims to create visions of extractivism in the viewer’s mind. Using this video, Aleyda creatively conveys the impact of the organization’s work by visualizing it in an emotionally resonant way. Aleyda uses the project page itself to explain the organization’s goals and research in more detail.
For her academic research project “Narratives of the desert,” Aleyda features a video of a cactus set against a bright blue desert sky. The cactus moves in and out of focus, almost as if it were a desert mirage. With this imagery, Aleyda gives the viewer the feeling that they are in the desert themselves. The video is strange yet inviting at the same time, enticing her visitors to click and read more about the project. The goal of the project is to highlight biocultural diversity, so it’s fitting Aleyda chose an image of a cactus that takes on many forms across the desert.
Aleyda has made some videos on her site interactive by allowing her website visitors to move their mouse over an image for an effect. One example of this is Aleyda’s page for her global program teaching inclusion, called the Peace Machines Workshop Series. She made an interactive video showing a fractal design of students from the workshop completing their projects. The design catches viewers’ eyes and also evokes a feeling that students are working to heal the fractures. To create more connection to the page, Aleyda made the image so that scrolling a mouse over it shifts the fractals’ movement toward the mouse. This is a great way to keep her website visitors engaged and even to entice them to click on the image to learn more about the program.
Aleyda uses a similar interactive video as the visual for her data exploration project “You Are The Dream Of Poles Awoken.” At first look, the video shows a tall, majestic mountain that is slightly obscured by horizontal lines. The lines cut through the mountain and make the image of the mountain move slowly up and down, towards its poles. Scrolling your mouse over the video lets you push the lines toward the top or the bottom of the image. This is a clever way Aleyda draws attention to poles on opposite sides of the image. It also sets up the project itself, which focuses on one pole in a small, snowy village in Norway and another pole in the Atacama Desert.
Making your website’s visuals engaging and interactive helps bring your work and your website to life. If a single picture is worth a thousand words, then Aleyda has made her site an example of how to speak millions of words and evoke emotion without using much text at all. Her website’s visuals inspire visitors to interact with them, and helps improve the likelihood they will click and read more about her work. If your visitors can feel they are a part of what you do, there is a better chance they will take it in and remember it. Follow Aleyda’s lead and try exploring videos and visuals to showcase projects on your website. Get more from Aleyda herself by signing up for her newsletter, following her on Instagram, or jumping into her portfolio on AleydaRocha.xyz.
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