Combining Machine Learning and Web Design for an Immersive Experience: A Website Review

What makes a website catch your attention? How about two massive company names, large numbers and a unique idea. This is what the dynamic duo of The New York Times and Google accomplish with their promotional website for their new photo archiving system. As you open the page, you are greeted with a bold claim: that millions of photos will be revived using new cloud technology. Intrigued, the reader will click forward to find a myriad of black and white photos slowly scrolling across the screen. Clicking on any single one presents you with an option: what story do you want this picture to tell? None of this is explained to you, yet the reader is guided by their own curiosity down a hole of unique pictures, each with three unique stories. Here is where things get interesting. Given the slickness of the page, the black and white aesthetic with subtle pops of color, the smooth continuous movement, it is so easy to get lost in reading the stories attached to the pictures of the site that its true ingenuity is concealed. A machine made all of these stories.

Using machine learning and information from various databases, Google was able to create a machine that can look at a picture, identify what it is based on contextual factors and information written on the back to create several unique stories for each. The only human input is scanning these pictures in. Using this, they have set out to scan, archive and make every single photo from the New York Time’s massive photo archive, called the “morgue” available on Google Cloud. All the archivists have to do is scan the photos in and the machine categorizes, summarizes and synthesize connections just from the picture.

This is a fascinating and revolutionary project and is presented on this website beautifully. It fuels curiosity, giving you a bold statement and allowing you to find the rest. The design is streamlined, very minimalistic, with the emphasis fully on the pictures, which is the focus of the project as a whole. It is through this invoked curiosity that the audience can click one the two tabs at the top right of the page to learn what the project is and how it works. It is so easy to use, and though it may seem confusing at first, the website stimulates curiosity about the project and never conceals the answers to these questions behind clunky navigation controls. Everything flows smoothly, from text coming into and out of frame as you scroll, to slow movement of photos to catch your attention. Even the sound design is immersive, with bustling street sound for cityscape photos or waves crashing for nautical pictures, it pulls you into the experience.

This website highlights an important and intriguing project, not presenting the reader with everything at first, but rather creating a visually appealing, curiosity inspiring and user-friendly interface that promotes exploration and will constantly keep readers engaged as they crave to learn more.


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thank you friend

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