Team Indus is a group of starry-eyed dreamers aiming for the Moon, and not figuratively. It is the sole Indian team in participation for the Google Lunar X-Prize, a quest to be the first private company to land on the Moon.
The website for Team Indus needed to not only have beautiful visuals that would match the grandeur of the project (although there was that). It would not be enough to educate the audience of the mind boggling complexity of the mission (although there was that too).
We needed to reel in the engagement of the people to become a part of something bigger than anything they would encounter in their daily lives.
All this is well and good, but who are we designing for? What is the message we are trying to send across? After all, if it was as simple a matter as dangling a carrot in front of folks, we would be out of a job.
We worked closely with Team Indus, with the founder Rahul Narayan and Sheelika Ravishankar, holding workshops and sprints to enlighten the path forward. Through interviews and analyses, we were able to identify four key demographics to focus our effort on.
Every bit of the design process that would come after, would be with these four pillars in mind. We would need a strategy that would appeal to one and not put off another. Our content writer Sandhya Shankar had her hands full with stitching together a message that would interfere constructively with the audiences.
A mobile-friendly website was a priority. This meant that the visuals and interactions had to be rich while being constrained to the real-estate of a phone screen.
Regarding the composition of the website, we took a content-first approach, never sacrificing what was said for visual extravagance. The Home page would layout in generalities the aspects of the mission, bequeathing the education for the inner pages.
If we were to educate the audience about the mission, we had to educate ourselves first. We conducted interviews with some of the leading scientists in the field such as. Despite the “whoosh” sounds in the beginning as they went over our heads, we managed to get a firm grasp of the concepts we were dealing with. In school, textbooks are best read when there are accompanying diagrams, so we followed suit.
Team Indus had a unique story to tell, one that could easily be dismissed as fictitious. A computer science guy stands up out of nowhere to lead a space mission? If that were true, the story could surely be used as inspiration fodder to lead the masses to aspire to something bigger. But it is true and it was not a story we could skimp on.
There is a question which emerges from all of this—why do this in the first place? Executing the mission is going to cost much much more than the $20 million grand prize that is up for grabs. So, why? What Rahul Narayan is trying to achieve is to lay down the foundation for an entirely new industry the likes of which India has never seen. This is about inspiring a new generation to take up the mantle and usher in a new space age.