The making of Cannondale Synapse
Designed as a proof of concept, this special multimedia immersive feature tracks the development of Cannondale’s ground-breaking bike design.
One of the constraints of working on websites that need to make revenue is that they are often plastered with advertisements.
I wanted to dispense with this clutter and explore alternative solutions – specifically a way of presenting long-form journalism through art-directed web design. I wanted the feature to have full browser video on every pane.
The solution was to build a web app that could be served as a web article. I envisaged it being a full-screen presentation with video elements that looped in the background behind editorial content. I also wanted it to be responsive.
More importantly it needed to be engaging and have a commanding narrative. As I was working on a redesign of BikeRadar one of the UK’s premier cycling websites at the time, I wondered if we could get access to a bicycle manufacturer and to synchronise building this immersive feature while rebuilding the main site with a view have it complete for launch.
We were lucky enough to have a great relationship with Cannondale and they offered us some time with their designers, engineers and test riders in Freiburg, German where we talked about the history and development of their bike design. I then sat down with the editorial team on BikeRadar, commissioned the in-house broadcast team and carefully storyboarded the shots.
The science bit
Unique elements used in this project were:
- HMTL 5 Video
- Browser Fullscreen API
- Customised HMTL 5 Video player
- Animated slide panels
- Responsive on mobiles, tablets and desktop
The beautiful Cannondale feature was well received by the bike industry and received plaudits from several design blogs. Analytics showed that most users enjoyed the whole article, spending up to 30 minutes reading it. The dwell time on each pane was quite high, in part due to the videos being loops and fun to watch.
This is probably one of my favourite projects of all time.