Liberians in Minnesota

Liberians in Minnesota is a flash project with a pretty comprehensive, easy-to-understand title from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Actually, one could probably say that this is the simplest and most user-friendly thing about the project.

Made in 2007, this multimedia flash project uses audio, photos, video, and text to document the lives of people who were originally from Liberia, but fled to the Twin Cities because of violence. They now are in danger of having to go back to their home country.

When navigating to the project, the user is first introduced by an audio slideshow. The first few seconds provides a nice visual contrast between the Twin Cities and their past lives in Liberia. However, it goes down hill from there. Until about a minute and a half into the project, there are many competing voices, all audio bites thrown down in seemingly random order. They build off one another, some not even finishing a sentence. I understand that the designer is probably going for an atmosphere of confusion and wants to be immersing the viewer in their shoes. However, from this flash intro, I felt extremely removed from the project. I was not even able to understand what was going on until the narrator chimed in about a minute and a half in. Even then, another audio track competed for my attention– sounds of drums (not distant but up-close, making it hard to focus on the voices).

To read the rest of this post, including tips for my own flash project, visit Mizzou Multimedia Design.

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