Project Update #1

Choosing a Template

This is my first blog post to report my progress on my Digital Humanities Project. I have decided to use the ArcGIS StoryMaps app to present the information. A key decision is how do I want to use the ArcGIS StoryMaps. Depending on my comfort level and how I plan to digitally tell my story there are several things to consider before picking a story template.

The Story Map Gallery has lots of examples that you can learn from or be inspired by, and browsing them can help me decide which template is best for my goals.

Another thing to consider is the added flexibility you gain with having a single story builder—rather that individual templates—you can, for example, combine Cascade-like elements with Journal-like elements in the same story or drop a tour in the middle of a scrolling, Cascade-like story. You won’t be locked into one layout, so now I can mix and match my favorite classic storytelling patterns in new and creative ways! And it will all look great on tablets and phones.

On top of that, ArcGIS StoryMaps have many new features never before available in Esri’s storytelling tools. These include a theme builder, autosave, the ability to duplicate a story or make private changes to stories you’ve already published, enhanced performance, previewing how your story will look on different devices, express maps—which provide a quick way to make simple maps. The builder now enables you to add a story navigation bar with links to the main sections of your story. There’s a large media panel on one side (you can think of this as the classic “main stage”) and a narrative panel on the other. As readers scroll through the narrative for each slide in the sidecar, the media changes to match the narrative. In sidecars, you can also create action buttons that choreograph map movements for your readers to help drive your narrative and make it interactive.

While I am extremely excited about ArcGIS StoryMaps, I do want to be open about the fact that it doesn’t yet have every capability that was available in the classic templates. ESRI likes to release frequent updates and I find that sometimes overwhelming. Just when I thought I got something down I end up realizing that they are actively working another storytelling experiences (like tabbed and bulleted layouts) and features to the new platform.

Signing off for now.

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