Category C01. Editorial
Name Company Position
n.a. :the client doesn't want individual names UNHCR n.a. :the client doesn't want individual names
n.a. :the client doesn't want individual names Google Brand Studio n.a. :the client doesn't want individual names
n.a. :the client doesn't want individual names R/GA London n.a. :the client doesn't want individual names

The Campaign

We created Searching for Syria to re-engage the world, giving people a fresh way to understand the Syrian crisis through data – not opinion or bias. In 2016 alone, there were 160,000,000 search queries about Syria. We combined this data with data provided by the UNHCR to uncover the questions people were asking, then answer them in an accurate and compelling way. We began by identifying the top 5 questions from millions of search queries; then we created a long-scroll narrative that answered each question with snackable and data-driven content. We rethought the long-form interactive stories made famous by The New York Times and The Guardian by making the experience bite-sized and fast, reflecting how people actually consume digital content today. The entire experience took about 5 minutes to get through, or roughly 60 seconds or less per question.

Creative Execution

Searching for Syria was designed to make a complex and ubiquitous topic feel simple and human. The human side of the crisis was brought to life using the same Google products people around the world use every day: Maps, Search, Trends and YouTube. These products were combined with data visualizations and real stories to show the world the human behind the label “refugee.” We created a simple design system with a Google look and feel but extended this to create a new way to present data visualization, which was both compelling and understandable. Animations were designed to reveal content in a non-obtrusive yet engaging way, encouraging users to continue scrolling and browsing. A purpose-built navigation system meant users knew where they were in the story, and could quickly switch between topics or go back to explore deeper, richer insights. This created a “rabbit hole” effect evident in the results, with average time on the site over 4 minutes and with some visitors spending upwards of 45 minutes. Constructing this design system on a mobile base ensured users could get the most engaging experience, from small mobile screen to desktop. The UX took inspiration from quick scrolling behavior on social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, making the experience feel familiar and easy to digest. By identifying the top 5 questions from millions of searches, we ensured user insights were core to the idea and expressed through the experience design. To keep our audience engaged with such a complex subject, our creative teams worked closely with journalists who had intimate knowledge of the crisis to write copy that was both accurate and compelling. Built over 6 months, Searching for Syria worked seamlessly across multiple markets, devices and formats, ensuring that no matter how people read the content, their experience was seamless.