UJA Federation

The UJA Federation of New York rang in their 100th year with a dynamic, user-submitted storytelling platform that asks a simple question: “What does Jewish New York mean to you?”

Blenderbox was tasked with designing this platform from the ground up, a system that allowed users to seamlessly upload their memories of being a Jewish New Yorker.

Story Design

The main content type is a story. Stories contain an optional image and text and appear as a lightbox from the main page

Stories can also be tagged as "Featured", which allows the UJA team to spotlight notable people or celebrity stories about Jewish New York.

Adding a Story

In order for this campaign to work well, we needed to make the user-submission process as easy as possible.

We broke this process into three main steps, prompting the user to also tag their story with a category.

This step was included to help administrators avoid needing to overly curate content from large amounts of user submissions.

Editorial Workflow

We chose Django and DjangoCMS due to it's ability to for administrators to efficiently curate large amounts of editorial content and developers to easily customize the backend.

Individual content types have their own area in the back end to administer content, avoiding clunky work-arounds which are inevitable in frameworks like Wordpress or Drupal.

Key Takeaways

This was a quick-turnaround project and demonstrated the power and flexibility of a framework like Django. Developers were able to easily implement feature requests on the fly, making the design process highly collaborative.

Looking back, I think we could have also implemented a similar storytelling framework in something like Kirby.

The only downside would be the lack of a proper database out-of-the-box (though there are extensions for database integrations), but since the project was raced through in a few months the light footprint might have been an asset!

Project Team

UX Designer - Luis Queral
Art Director - Amy Hunt
Developer - Kate Edmundson
Project Manager - Jessica Principato