Dan Nolan

Visual Designer
User Experience Designer

DJN monogram

The Virus At Sea



  • user experience
  • visual design
  • CSS
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Awards Update

The Virus At Sea has been honored with an award:
  • Edward R. Murrow Award: Excellence in Innovation

The Virus At Sea is an immersive web experience recounting one man’s battle with COVID on a cruise ship at the beginning of the pandemic. Brendt was stuck on a cruise ship for an extra two weeks and was in contact with his partner throughout the ordeal. We decided to tell Brendt’s story in an interactive slide story format using his text messages and social media posts as the main driver of the narrative.

We started with a quick prototype of the text message experience.

All our interactive stories are responsive and optimized for mobile, and this one in particular provided an opportunity to immerse our audience in a mobile experience that felt natural and intimate. We tell Brendt’s story as a day to day timeline using his text messages and social media posts as a first person narrative device. We created an interface where the user taps through each text message, as if they're being sent in the moment.

We weave in interview videos of Brendt’s partner explaining how he felt back in New York while this was happening, along with other social media Brendt posted during his journey.

Narrative text slides add broader context and explain what is happening with the pandemic and the cruise ship at relevant moments.

Brendt’s journal entries add to the intimacy of the experience. Here he documents his temperature after getting a fever and suffering COVID symptoms. We also include captain’s announcements from the ship and newspaper clippings.

We added maps for a zoomed out view—they mark waypoints in the story and show the ship being denied at ports while trying to make its way home.