Choosing Tools to Make Your Stories Interactive

Great interactive stories use tools that complement their content, enhance reader understanding, and not solely tools that shine or flash or sparkle. You can create such interactive stories. To do so, form your story first, then add meaningful interactivity with tools.
Gather all your contentBefore deciding on a tool, gather all your content into one place. Images, text, tweets -- paste them all into a Google Doc, or pin them to a tackboard. Then, ask questions like: What sticks out? What is similar? Do I have relevant photographs? Put those things next to each other. This helps uncover the ideas, forms, and possibility inherent in your content that will inform your tool choice later.

Note meaningful dimensionsYour beautiful new mix of images and text likely tells a story. Before adding interactivity to that story, note the dimensions over which it progresses. These are a few you might consider: TimeSpace/GeographySoundVisualDimensions such as these are often difficult, or dull, to expre…

6 Tips for Creating Share-worthy Videos

While I can't promise you'll go viral...

I am willing to bet your number of views and shares will increase if you follow these tips:

1. Keep it short

A computer science professor at the University of Rochester found 3 to 5 minutes is optimal, and I always recommend to keep it under 10 minutes when possible. But that doesn’t mean you need to throw out great content -- just chunk it! Break up longer recordings into smaller, standalone videos.

But do boil the content down as much as possible. Here's why:

2. Create suspense or a need to know: pose a question or tease before you tell

3. Keep content fresh

Did you have any teachers growing up that showed the same old videos (or film strips) for decades?  Did dated hairstyles, old slang, or the obsolete equipment used to play it keep you from taking the video's content seriously?  Keep your material fresh to build trust and support engagement.

4. Make a list

Lists help people remember items in a sequence or a group, and successful websites like Buzzfeed use them a lot. They're alluring, reassuring, and can lead to deeper reading. (via Ann Fandrey, Alison Link, and Cristina Lopez's presentation The Cognitive Science of Clickbait.)

(But I don’t mean this kind of list!)

5. Show more than you tell: aim for a 3 to 1 ratio

6. Show up as an authentic person

Be on screen, be human, and use humor.  Amy is great at this!

Dress, speak, and act like you would in a seated class (or in the field) -- which includes remembering to tell stories that usually come out on the fly in-person.  Don’t be more formal than is necessary or natural.  Don’t be a perfectionist; none of us want to be an “on air personality” and it’s not fun to watch your own videos. Remember: small imperfections will humanize you, so try to see them as a positive thing and just don’t take yourself too seriously.


  1. Real talk: Amy Baker is my inspiration for how I conduct myself during training sessions, lightning talks, etc.

    1. YOU JUST MADE MY WEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!! :) :)

    2. YOU JUST MADE MY WEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!! :) :)


Post a Comment