Frances Duncan

  • HLS Nuremberg home
  • HLS Nuremberg search
  • HLS Nuremberg document viewer
  • HLS Nuremberg transcript viewer
  • HLS Nuremberg mood board

Website prototype

Harvard Law School Library

Nuremberg Trials Project

The Harvard Law School Library’s Nuremberg Trials Project is an open-access initiative to create and present digitized images or full-text versions of the Library’s complete set of Nuremberg documents, descriptions of each document, and general information about the trials.

The original website, launched in the early 2000s, was showing its age. The goal of this project was to create a prototype and new vision for the site that encompassed the full spectrum of the collection — over a million pages — and related the transcripts and documents in an engaging, accessible way for scholars and an intelligent public audience. Specifically, I sought to provide better transcript and document navigation and a simplified and robust search. The prototype grants users access to documents in a coherent way, with a model for location and discovery, and showcases the collection — the extent, scope, and importance to world heritage. It is also meant to attract donations for its further development.

Meeting with the HLS staff was a real treat — to be surrounded by such intelligence and commitment is inspiring. Our few on-site discussions yielded a complete overhaul of the site’s content strategy, presenting the keyword search as the primary site action, and introducing the idea of editorialized “approaches” to the collection, inviting exploration and discovery by surfacing popular searches, like a defendant or prosecutor’s name, or trial keywords and topics, like euthanasia or war crimes.

I created a suite of wireframes with increasing levels of fidelity, before building a static prototype using Sketch and InVision. Along with the prototype, I also provided a series of support documentation for the site’s strategy and design beyond the prototype phase: a creative brief to help guide further design direction; a style guide covering specific site design choices and interface elements that effectively and appropriately convey information about the depth and complexity of the trials; and a content strategy brief and direct revisions to the site’s existing text.

The visual tone was loosely inspired by an afternoon visit to the small New England Holocaust Memorial park in downtown Boston. To communicate a somber yet inviting tone, I chose colors lifted from the park and from other organic materials — cool, organic neutrals, like slate, black granite, quartzite, concrete, along with complementary wooly grays and sandy beiges. Tiempos Text, the serif face widely used in running text, is neutral and approachable and comes in a variety of weights and styles which makes it easy to use across a few different applications. The sans-serif is Proof, whose subtle digital feeling seemed perfect for the presentation of metadata and forms. Plus, its name — Proof — seemed apt for a collection of documents about an event that continues to require vigilant remembrance.


Creative Direction, Content Strategy, Information Architecture, User Experience Design, User Interface & Visual Design


Prototype and recommendations delivered November 2015