Seven interactive tools to strengthen your next multimedia package
Do something. Users always want to do something when they are online, don’t they?
They read and watch, but also they want to play and they want to take part. Post a comment, tweet that thought, click those links or share them, move the mouse to discover more. Users want to navigate the story, add some input, enrich it using text, audio, video or even static images. As full commanders of constantly evolving online technologies, they have become full citizens of the web.
For digital storytellers it is crucial to understand this audience and deploy apps accordingly.
Some media outlets have learned, for instance, to incorporate video on their websites, but their approach still feels passive. Many video pages are still windows for consumption, not participation.
To create a real interactive experience online for the new web citizens we need to deploy new applications within the right context.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of tools. The following list of seven tools will simply whet your appetite.
Dipity is a timeline maker that allows users to gather data from different sources and display it in a single and dynamic interface. We can manually create timeline events or import content from social networks like Facebook or Twitter. It is easy to embed and its level of costumization goes from the very basic to the more complex provided you have some advanced programming skills.
This web-based app allows us to put our visual content at the center of a conversation. VoiceThread users can leave comments about images, slideshows or documents and create a focused digital narrative using a mix of audio, text or video.
With Apture you keep readers in your site while they browse related content. It is a powerful free service enabling users to search and explore alternative rich content without leaving your page. Its magical pop-up window brings great variety of media onto your site with a single click. Â To make it work you just need to add one line of code in your HTML document.
When it comes to the web, we want to scan proactively and one of the best tools to organize our content is SlideDeck. With its dynamic navigation, SlideDeck gives the user the option to delve deeper into the stories with slides that can contain simple text and images as well as rich content such as flash, videos, screen casts or PowerPointÂ presentations.
This WordPress plugin allows bloggers to insert tweets into posts with the corresponding branding and Reply, Retweet and Favorite buttons. They are visually pleasant and work very well as the new quotes of our time.
It seems that commenting has been drifting away from blogs. So much so that many publishers are just simply switching off the form and linking to social networks. Disqus provides one of the best platforms to aggregate and manage within the blog itself all debates that are taking place elsewhere. This app lets users keep their identity across multiple sites and comment without having to create yet-another account. Bloggers get to easily manage comments and integrate social networks directly into their blogs. It is the best of both worlds.
Map mashups are everywhere and it is easy to see why. They are multimedia and are full of interactive features. One of my favourite apps is Trendsmap, a real-time mapping of Twitter trends across the world. Tools to make them have proliferated over the last few years. Â
These entries by Online Journalism Blog and Innovative Interactivity go deeper into the technical side of making them.
Tools like these are simply enablers and digital storytellers can work hand-in-hand with developers to create even richer and more immersive experiences. In the process, the web could become a better place … to DO something.
Sergio Acosta is a web designer and a London based digital storyteller. He publishes and curates retoNet and has been producing multimedia stories for the BBC.
Follow Sergio on Twitter: @sergioacosta
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Tags: applications, interactivity, multimedia, Sergio Acosta, social media, storytelling, tools