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Site of the Week: Unchartered Waters

By Kate Salava
January 16, 2017
Site of the Week: Unchartered Waters

Unchartered Waters takes viewers on a journey along with the U.S. Sailing Team Sperry in their pursuit of competing at the Olympics. The site, sponsored by Sunbrella Fabrics, is home to a full-length documentary charting the athletes’ stories, but allows users to explore further by making use of several interactive features.

On the opening page, the user is given four areas to explore: The Journey, The Athletes, Coordinates and Bearings. Stunning photography ties each section of the site together. The athlete biography pages in particular use video to make users feel involved. Once the user is emotionally invested (Cindy and Sarah’s race to compete in the last Paralympic sailing games after suffering from lower body paralysis makes that task pretty simple), they can physically follow the athletes around the world as they train through the Coordinates page. Each location embeds Instagram posts from the athletes themselves, providing a personal touch and added level of connection.

Unchartered Waters does a great job of taking viewers on the often-grueling journey to the Olympic games with the athletes. The design of the site is pure and simple, as well as aesthetically pleasing. It allows the high-quality photography and videos to tell the story. I left feeling genuinely invested in the athletes’ progress and training, and the ability to get a user so emotionally involved after only a few minutes scrolling through a website is no easy feat.