Whittier Family Legacy

Whittier Family Legacy

www.maxwhittierfamily.org

Whittier Trust, a company which serves high net worth families approached us with a really cool project on behalf of the Whittier family.

Max Whittier was a self-made man that worked his way up from a roughneck to an oil tycoon, real-estate entrepreneur (he founded Beverly Hills) and philanthropist.

What the Whittier Trust wanted was a platform with two sides: one telling the life story of Max Whittier to the general public, and one private, for family members only. The private area was to offer a profile page to each user, categorize them by their family lines, allow them to post events, announcements and photos to other family members, checkout private family archive documents and media. While most people would use a Facebook group for such a function, the Whittier family is very large, has many generations and values privacy a lot.

What I Did

  • Assessed content and designed the information architecture
  • Used the rich material received from public and private archives to tell the audience a story about the adventures of Max Whittier
  • Designed the architecture of the backend, and conceptualized what logged in users could do inside the system
  • Wireframed and designed various layouts according to the goals of each section of the website
  • Participated in Zoom meetings with the Whittier Trust team and presented wireframes, layouts, explained functionality and stylistic choices to all stakeholders

The Challenges

  • While both the public and the private side were exciting to work on, the members' area posed a few problems like having to cater to users from teens to older people (we actually had a 90 years old family member review and give feedback on the platform); one other challenge was to engage people to share private information and photos with extended family members they might not know.
  • Whittier Trust was so satisfied with the initial layouts and concepts, that they asked us to build the system so as to be replicable. They wanted to package it as a product in a more generic form, and sell it to other similar families. This required us to abstract the system arhitecture to something that would work for most people.
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