Through scrolling the user can start a lot of animations and processes which turn a simple story into a deeper journey. Surprises are always a good resource to keep people’s attention on you are showing. You also must remember that you only have 15 seconds to engage them.
Journalist and lecturer Jeremy Rue usually shares interesting links on interactivity using Delicious -you can follow his queue here-. I have picked up three samples which show the importance of scrolling inside the story.
Waiting for the sea (BBC, 2015)
Users discover new multimedia contents each time they scroll down. The author, Rustam Qobil, finds harmony using pictures, text, video and maps. Everything here is linked toguether.
I really like how the maps reveal the grass drying up, and the sea’s edge disappearing.
America: Elect! (The Guardian, 2012)
I admit I love cartoons and comic books. But going further, I see a lot of opportunities using such narrative in journalism.
In this case, the story combines animations, infografics and a bit of humour as well, telling a story from the beginning (Republican Party presidential primaries, won by Mitt Romney) till the end (Obama’s 2012 US election victory).
The Guardian United States interactive team have produced a lot of great news packages –you can follow them here-.
A Walk Through the Gallery (The New York Times, 2015)
You can take a walk at the Museum of Modern Art in New York to visit an exhibition of Henri Matisse. You see the paintings like a real visitor, moving across the gallery horizontally.
Although this idea looks very simple, I believe that it could be used not only to show exhibitions or places, but also to describe processes and evolutions.
Jeremy Rue, lecturer of New Media at the University of California (UC) Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, told this blog:
“Not all journalists will need to learn to code. But all journalists should all know how the web functions; the difference between HTML and CSS and the philosophies behind those forms.”
“The web is not just a technology, but an entire ecosystem of ideals and ethos that have imbued many of the thinkers who made the web possible.”
The experienced journalist and web developer, who has been involved for years in workshops on multimedia storytelling techniques, believes in the importance of a basic literacy of the web in terms of “understanding its nomenclature, its function, and the philosophy on which it’s built.”
From Googling tutorials to real-world projects
“Many people often fail to advanced past this point because they find difficulty in applying the lessons to real-world projects. It’s important to have something tangible to build and working toward that goal — and Googling questions often.”
Numbers VS Journalists
Regardless of many journalists hate coding, Rue still believes that knowing a little HTML and CSS as background is necessary:
“There are some journalists who hate coding, and that’s fair. I still feel they should know a little HTML and CSS as background. Those who find it stimulating and challenging might enjoy it more.”
He shares these articles some journalists have written about their learning processes:
- Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Learning How to Code
- What can Programmers and Writers Learn From One Another?
- Made With Code (Google’s site dedicated to helping more women get into coding)
- Hour of Code, (non-profit dedicated to getting more diversity of coding)
Interactivity: begginning of a new era
Although big organisations like The New York Times and ProPublica have launched interactive stories, it seems that this trend is going on slower among the little ones. According to Rue, the same thing happened when TV was invented:
“It required an enormous investment in equipment and people with the skills to produce video. It took a few decades for TV to really find its form through the 50s and 60s. I suspect this will be less and less of an issue in the coming decade.”