A Human Rights Guide

Our Role
Product Management
Design Management
Product Design
UX / Interaction Design

Web, iOS, Android

UI, UX, Digital Assets


The Brief

The Nature Conservancy works with indigenous peoples and local communities in 20 countries, with many successful examples of rights-based approaches to conservation rooted in long-term partnerships. To apply this approach more consistently across programs and geographies, TNC has developed this Human Rights Guide for Working with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities as a resource for TNC practitioners and leaders.

The Challenge

In its original form the Human Rights Guide is a 136 page text-only Word document. Our challenge was to adapt the document for both a web and print audience in a way that was readable and digestible for different audiences. We needed to anticipate the complexity and density of the content, as well as provide for a substantial part of the audience on the lower end of bandwidth range in remote areas (while still providing enough graphic content to break up the text and increase comprehension).

The Components

One of the first things we did was identify the patterns of information, and develop a structure that improved readability. With long documents finding the parts of the text that are related to each other and creating a rhythm through visual cues is essential.
In this case we identified similar blocks of content, or “components” that we could extract from the text and display as collapsed sections to shorten the perceived length of the document. This allows a visual rhythm and creates a hierarchy of content that separates the main flow from additional information, key issues, references.

Modular Blocks

We also separated the downloadable resources such as checklists and forms, making them available in line or in appendices specifically for each type of downloadable content.

Case Studies

One of the unique parts of the document is the set of case studies that accompany the text. The case studies are a fictional narrative about an imaginary European territory, Wenland, where the Wen people are facing many of the common impacts of the legacies and current realities of colonialism on indegenous populations, including displacement, cultural dispersal and territorial disputes. The case studies imagine various scenarios that TNC staff might encounter in their work with communities, national governments and private companies. Each section of the narrative correlates to a particular module, to provide concrete examples.

The case studies are woven into the document and have a different visual feel to the rest of the text to separate the experience. Just like the other components the case studies are available as a single thread in the appendix.

The Illustrations

The client’s brand relies heavily on photography for their visual expression. In this case however there was a need to remove geographic, ethnic and topical specificity from the visuals. We achieved that through the use of two techniques: hand drawn line illustrations (converted to vectors), and stylized photographs. The line illustrations were used within the text to annotate and expand on the technical content, while the case studies relied on a more stylized approach meant to reflect the fictional quality of the narrative.


Print and Web

The document was produced both for the web and print. The visual style was carried through from web to print, maintaining the same ordering and content to provide continuity of the experience. The document is downloadable as a whole or in parts, so users can download specific checklists for use offline. Download PDF

Codename Design truly brings the WOW factor. Our colleagues’ immediate reaction to our Human Rights Guide for Working with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities was that of being impressed, engaged and excited to dig in.

While I’m certainly proud of the content of the Guide, the visuals made the first impression, and this was all due to Codename’s thoroughness, leadership and creativity in coming up with an aesthetic that brought the spirit of the Guide to the forefront and represented complex themes in a way that feels approachable and interesting.

Additionally, Codename’s deep experience in web design made the technological side of things easy for us.

In short, Codename’s solid technical expertise, work ethic, quality product delivery, and open communication style made them a pleasure to work with.


Allison Martin
Rights and Equity Advisor, TNC

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