Japanese cartoon and comics, also known as anime and manga, are billion-dollar industries in the United States. Award-winning Viz Media is one of the largest players in the industry, offering hundreds of series to countries around the world. Mule Design created a modular and fully-reponsive website to showcase Viz's vast offerings and connect fans to the series they love.
Spearheaded by the lead designer, we developed a modular design system that allowed visitors to easily differentiate between products and information, anime and manga. This system made it easy for the Viz team to maintain and scale the design as needed, without requiring new code to be produced.
Our redesign sought to showcase the beautiful artwork anime and manga is known for and make it easy to browse through the many volumes and series. To serve these two goals, we introduce multiple views that users could toggle between. To help users differentiate between anime and manga, our design system required manga always appear on a white background and anime always on black.
As luck would have it, I was a subject matter expert for this project: the majority of my childhood had been spent watching and reading Japanese comics and shows. This, along with the research done by our discovery team, allowed me to find opportunities to spice up the UI with references and inside jokes. In our user tests, we found these little tweaks resonated with users, building a connection with them through shared cultural understanding.
In May 2016, Viz launched a portion of the new website. Have a look!