Entry Denied

An interactive storytelling piece exploring the identity crises of second-generation Kiwis.

Personal Project Interactive Storytelling 2022


Media Design School

My Role

  • UX Design
  • Interaction Design
  • Front-end Development
  • Narrative Development


August — November 2022 (12 Weeks)

Live Demo


Entry Denied is an interactive storytelling piece that reveals the lived experience of a fictional second-generation immigrant as he comes to terms with his Kiwi identity.

In the form of a scrolling website, the piece utilises storytelling and interactive elements to communicate themes of liminality and paralysis, giving a voice to immigrants-alike who experience this unique identity crisis.

Research Question

How might an interactive story about the second-gen experience empower young immigrants to reclaim their own Kiwi identity?

The Challenge

Growing up as a second-generation Indonesian-Kiwi, I know how it feels to be marginalised and excluded from mainstream society.

Second-generation immigrants are often excluded from the Kiwi identity, at times the only one they know of. Growing up accustomed to New Zealand culture and potentially losing connections to their ethnic roots may lead to suffocating identity crises.

Entry Denied logo

Background Research

To understand this issue, I had many informal conversations with fellow second-generation immigrants along with some surveys, discussing how they feel about their place in New Zealand culture and their relationship with Kiwi identity.

Many actually self-identified as Kiwi to a degree but didn’t proclaim it to others because of this identity gatekeeping.

Empathy map on perspectives towards immigrant identity

Academic readings found that casual racism fuelled cultural disconnect for young Kiwi immigrants (Cunningham & King, 2018), and storytelling about these marginalised experiences was an effective way to start discussions and drive awareness (Kim, 2021). I put these findings to use in the development of the interactive story.

The goal was to amplify people's voices and to make the submission process fun


Storytelling was at the heart of the project. I anchored the story on the metaphor of an airport terminal.

Much like the identity crisis of many second-generation immigrants, being stuck in a terminal is liminal and constraining. It symbolises the external conflict between immigrants and mainstream society, essentially stuck between two worlds that won’t accept you.

Still from Entry Denied. Shot of plane flying away from airport terminal

Drawing from the experiences of my survey participants and myself, I drafted numerous short stories and memoirs for the website. I experimented with different story structures to see which one would best deliver my core message, with Freytag's Pyramid being the easiest for readers to understand.

Diagram of Entry Denied story on Freytag's Pyramid


In terms of interactivity, I opted for a single-page layout for the user to scroll through. Early paper and digital prototypes experimented with click-through interactions through separate pages, similar to an e-book.

User testing showed that scrolling was simpler and allowed for a natural reading flow, uninterrupted by separated pages.

Lo-fi and hi-fi digital prototypes of interactive story

User Flow

Diagram of website user flow


The visual treatment of the story was built as a frame-by-frame animation. Combined with the scroll interaction, this resulted in a unique and choppy flipbook-like experience.

Still from Entry Denied. Shot of passport being stamped


After the interactive story, viewers can claim their own Kiwi identity through the passport-style takeaway and make their mark as Kiwis. Viewers will first customise it with their photo and bio, then share it on Instagram.

Passport takeaway on smartphone


Still from Entry Denied. Main character sitting in airport terminal
Still from Entry Denied displayed on tablet
Stills from Entry Denied displayed on tablets
Stills from Entry Denied displayed on tablets
Still from Entry Denied displayed on laptop
Read the project report arrow_forward


Entry Denied was displayed at the Bachelor of Media Design’s 2022 Exhibition for a public audience. Several viewers came up to me after viewing the story and told me how strongly they related to the struggles in the story, which was truly touching to me.

Working on this project brought me a deeper understanding of my own identity as a second-generation immigrant, and I feel like I’ve truly taken my identity as a Kiwi back.

Exhibition display for Entry Denied