Website for multidisciplinary Japanese artist Kaori Yoshikawa. Designed in close collaboration with the artist to not only showcase her work, but attempt to reflect her artistic outlook though the design and user experience itself.
Live site gone; archived site
From the outset the site was intended to showcase Kaori's art in the most minimal manner possible, with almost all ornamentation stripped away. Through further conversations we decided to contrast this by taking UI elements which would usually be hidden and leaving them visible.
The resulting design uses a fixed navigation menu as its primary visual element. A reasonably typical hierarchical menu which opens and closes, but never disappears, even when its elements are collapsed. Laying atop all other page elements but not getting in the way to the point of negatively affecting the user experience. It was a careful balance to allow the menu space to function and get in the way a little bit, but not enough to become annoying.
While each part of the menu looks the same when collapsed, we needed a way to visually denote the current page from the currently navigated menu, hence the inverted colours for the former. The menu is also allowed to scroll with the page content, as making it fixed in one place might cut off longer submenus, making parts of the site inaccessible on smaller screens.
The menu also serves as a kind of bread-crumb navigation, showing where the user is within the site map. This kind of navigable bread-crumb went through many iterations before resolving with this interaction model: open on click (not hover), close on click outside; keep current location visible and highlighted when other parts are being navigated; items with children are denoted by a familiar disclosure triangle; animations are only employed to unfold a list, not to reveal its children.
On the backend, the site is running on a custom content management system built in PHP with Symphony CMS. The system can handle multiple languages, as well as a variety of media types and embedding options to accommodate the wide range of media used by the artist.