Designing to Remember: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Website Redesign

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Chris Cashdollar has many claims to designer fame. He’s worked on high profile brands such as Ford Motor Company, Verizon, Zappos and more. Among all of his success, his most recent project has proven especially meaningful.

“I’ve been fortunate to be the lead designer on a holistic redesign of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website,” he says. And with his extensive background in web design and a keen eye for user experience, Cashdollar has both the chops and discerning design sense to lead such a project.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Website Redesign

ushmm-home_628, website redesign

“More than just a brick-and-mortar location, the museum is also a resource for students, educators, historians and activists involved in the fight to end genocide.”

Cashdollar describes the wide reach of a website redesign project with great cultural magnitude: “While the physical museum can only accommodate approximately one million visitors a year, the online experience can provide the history of the Holocaust to an audience worldwide.” Highlighting the gravity of the USHMM redesign, he shows us that the outcome will impact the way viewers experience and understand this period in history.

Whether you’re entering the USHMM physical museum or experiencing it virtually, visitors are encountering and remembering one of the most significant events in human history. The sensitive nature of the content demands a very thoughtful balance when considering the elements of the layout and the user experience.

ushmm-timeline_628; website redesign

“The site design needed to present content in a historical yet pragmatic manner, always respecting the integrity of the evidence. The user-interface focused on utility and clear presentation of content, shunning any design choices that felt adorned or altered or misrepresented.” In order to successfully reach such a broad audience with clear, concise messaging, Cashdollar reveals that it’s as important as ever to keep the brand identity consistent across platforms: “I was also able to work directly with Paula Scher, designer of the USHMM identity, ensuring that the new site best represented the intentions of the brand in the digital experience.”

Cashdollar took these tasks to heart when making decisions and recommendations. “Personally, the opportunity to work on a project that has some global reach and importance was humbling. You can’t work with this content and not feel emotional. During our design process, I strived to create a visual language that was respectful of the content without plummeting the UI into a cliché or false homage. Finding the appropriate balance between the somber reality of what the content is stating and the method in how it is presented was the core goal of my design effort for the project.”

Want to hear more stories from leading designers? Catch Chris Cashdollar of Happy Cog and many other experts at HOW Interactive Design Conference this fall.


And, speaking of great identity design, don’t miss your chance to get your best logo noticed by entering the Logo Design Competition, brought to you by HOW, Print’s sister brand.