Ken Burns Documentary Tool Showcases American History Through The Director’s Eyes

Ken Burns Documentary Tool Showcases American History Through The Director’s Eyes

Ken Burns' iPad app approaches his documentaries through themed categories, drawing new points of intersection across existing content.

Kristen Nozell
  • 11 march 2014

Ken Burns fans can rejoice at the release of an iPad app that offers a new way to explore American history through the acclaimed director and producer’s documentaries. Simply titled Ken Burns, the platform brings together content from across all of the films in a new way, with clips organized chronologically and by themes, such as Innovation, Art and Hard Times. Along with the clips from existing films, the app features brand new interviews with Burns that introduce the themed collections. The app was designed by Brooklyn-based digital agency Big Spaceship in collaboration with Burns and his longtime colleague Don MacKinnon.


According to Chris Fahey, VP of Product and User Experience at Big Spaceship, one of the primary objectives when designing the user experience was to balance a simple, intuitive interface with surprise interactions that would allow users to constantly explore and discover. The team was tasked with finding a way to tell new stories from the existing content, and worked closely with Ken Burns and his team, ensuring that the content informed the design and vice versa. The use of color is another key feature, Fahey explained, as it allows for easy identification of the themes within the timeline. The app is built to expand to include more content (Burns already has five new documentaries in the pipeline), and the concept of showcasing intersections and trends in existing content could be applied in various contexts, in film as well as other media.

Download the free iPad app here, and check out more details in the clip below:

Ken Burns

Source: Big Spaceship



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