Darkness and an eerie soundscape set the scene as we enter Daniel Spatzek’s new folio URSA MAJOR SUPERCLUSTER. Using sound this way provides a nice start to our journey into this fresh take on the ubiquitous designer’s portfolio. It’s subtle and a great way to grab the user’s attention.
Following a brief page load we are greeted with more darkness followed by a minimalist layout and large type. There’s some kind of mystery here. Move the mouse and suddenly the cursor resembles a retro 80s arcade game that begs further exploration. Glitch effects appear and soon enough the unique corner navigation brings the realization that interactivity is a key element of this site. The user is rewarded and endorphins start to tickle the reward centres of the brain.
The overall feel of URSA MAJOR SUPERCLUSTER is reminiscent of Blade Runner, the classic movie that reinvented the sci-fi genre. The thing these two share in common is the ability to transport the user into a realm of digital noir, providing a kind of escapism that is rare in a website. No easy task considering the site is aimed at enticing clients which comes with very specific constraints and “expected” content.
The internal pages are logical and provide more digital goodies with an elegant UX solution via the nice big fixed “close X” button. This is made obvious thanks to the use of high contrast black and white colors plus fixed positioning. There are only four simple and concise pages to choose from which actually turns out to be a nice way to leave the user wanting more. The “about“ page provides everything a client wants to see (including prices!) and does not weigh down the experience with superfluous puffery.
The “work” page is the second greatest achievement of this site which is brilliantly presented via full-screen underlays when hovering the folio list. No lag time is experienced, another bonus that helps to keep the user within the site's realm. Upon hitting the work examples we are met with smooth skewed-motion text effects and scrolling images. An additional treat that adds the final pieces to a well considered and to-the-point portfolio.
The name URSA MAJOR SUPERCLUSTER rolls off the inner voice surprisingly well and even manages to sound cool. This is a timely site given the coming release of the long awaited Blade Runner sequel which helps to confirm this site as a trend leader rather than follower. The UI is seductive, the UX is simple, and thanks to fresh ideas and great dev work, the outcome is flawless and engaging. Job well done!
The main navigation and site structure has been created with paper.js. Overall animation engine is GSAP Greensock (besides paper.js). The 3D pixel background has been made with three.js/webGL Everything else is jQuery for selection and HTML plus LESS.
Check it out here Daniel Spatzek Portfolio