David and Luke (of Bloodroot Blades) are blacksmiths and custom knife makers. They are true artisans and make incredibly beautiful knives and tools, often out of reclaimed materials. I worked with them initially doing some UX consultation for their website, but since then, decided to give a little more personality to one of their projects. They wrote a lexicon of knife-making terms for beginners. I worked with them to turn that lexicon into a more beautiful and interactive experience.
Lexicons are not the most exciting or aesthetically interesting subject. They contain, however, vital and powerful information. Traditional lexicons may be useful from a research standpoint, but with no prior knowledge, it can be difficult to learn from them in a holistic way.
After working on the UX design of Bloodroot’s official site, we came across the idea of including a lexicon of knife making terminology. Luke Snyder (one of the blacksmiths) was particularly enthusiastic about including it, because a distinct portion of their user base are either other knife makers or people who are interested in the art and process of it all. We included it as a web page, but it failed to find it’s own identity. It just seemed like static information.
I thought, that by giving the lexicon it’s own platform, and striving to make it as beautiful as possible, the document itself would start to come alive.
The lexicon currently exists as a more beautiful version of a static document. It has a photo gallery included for some context, and navigation the document is easier, based on technical sections, but it still is lacking in what will eventually be most important: interactivity. My goal for the future of this project is to make the words come to life with videos, images, illustrations, and additional information. That way, as the user clicks thought the lexicon, it will come to life in a beautiful way.
For now, establishing the principle that even something as mundane and purely-functional as a lexicon - could still be (and should be) beautiful - was my primary objective.