Category Archives: Links

istambul to europe guardian game

The Guardian creates the refugee game

Again, The Guardian. They have a new interactive story dedicated to Syrian refugees situation, and their hardships to find a safe haven far from the civil war afflicting their homeland.

The premise is that you are “a 28-year-old Sunni woman from Aleppo, and you have two children, a girl aged eight, and a 10-year-old boy. Your husband was killed in a mortar attack three months ago. The air strikes have continued – a recent bomb, you hear, killed 87 children – and you now feel you must try to leave Syria.”

At the end of each section, describing different scenarios faced by real refugees, dictated by legal, logistical and political parameters, you are presented with options. You have to choose carefully, to find refuge. The results are – to say the least – bleak.

The game logic applied to this story is a good way to empathize with the refugee situation, it looks simple, and it’s frustrating enough to gain awareness about the issue and, in the comfort of our homes, step into the refugees’ shoes.

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Best Interactive Stories: Maps, Graphs, Timelines & Scrollers

The Visual.ly blog made a list of the Top interactive visualizations of  2013. The formats are pretty much the same as in years before: maps, data visualizations, timelines, but this year we have “snowfallers” which is to say scrollers or stories you have to scroll along to navigate.

If you’re interested in this type of structure, there is a spreadsheet with snowfall-like stories available on Google Drive. I doubt the Scroller will become a standard narrative structure, because it doesn’t feel mobile friendly, which in essence is more modular than linear.  But it definitely set a standard for production: lengthy and expensive.

But like David Sleight said:

But there’s a bigger picture that extends beyond debating specific executions and business models. These things are about experimentation: necessary design and technical experimentation, something news organizations need to shine at if they want to thrive. That means stopping to shake out how they think about content, again and again.

In Portugal, the setting is pretty much the same as before: only a couple of media companies are regularly producing multimedia journalistic content. This year the major winners of the ObCiber awards were the same as in previous editions: Jornal de Notícias, Público and Rádio Renascença.

Some narrative devices are pretty much well established by now, but there’s still no norm. And that won’t be defined by the end product, but by the investment in production processes.

 

 

Google Reader is dead. Feedly + IFTTT recipes FTW

Feedly is finally on IFTTT.

You can grab my recipes and use them, or create your own, and happily distribute your favorite feeds across the web.

After much chagrin about Google Reader’s demise, Feedly became my RSS reader of choice, if not only by the fact that they upgraded fast to meet the needs of Google users. Now I even like it better than Google Reader.

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Read more about Feedly’s IFTTT channel , and start sharing.

 

 

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Firestorm – Guardian’s latest multimedia project

 

After the Snowfall, now a Firestorm. The Guardian produced a multimedia narrative about bushfires in Tasmania, in a multichapter immersive narrative. It’s well built, it leads towards a more linear narrative, but then again, they have an ebook as an end product.

Best features: the background audio provides an effective sensorial experience, and the large images under the minimalistic text have a huge impact, behaving both as background and illustration. If you want to know more about the production process, this post at Journalism.co.uk has some great insights from the team that built Firestorm:

At the same time, Jonathan Richards, the Guardian’s interactive editor, was evaluating what would be needed to create “rich article pages” incorporating all the available media at their disposal.

“There was, I guess, an appetite to see how you might integrate those media, ie the visual and audio media, in a much more tightly integrated way,” said Richards. “So rather than doing things that would simply supplement a text page, how could they perform a more compelling and stronger function in the interactive and I guess that was the challenge that we set ourselves.”

As such, the media was conceived differently right from the start, said Richards. So instead of talking heads and general views of the area, they needed something to cater more specifically to the project’s needs: images and footage that would complement and supplement the traditional storytelling forms.

A must see story.

FIRESTORM, The Guardian

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Interactive Radial Calendar – SVG / HTML5 / CSS3 / Javascript

SVG/HTML5/CSS3 project – Acacia longifolia Interactive Phenological Radial Calendar from Alex Gamela on Vimeo.

I’ve experimented recently with ways to create interactive visualizations using HTML5 and CSS3. Starting with a SVG based design, I used HTML/CSS to animate and create transitions for specific items of the visualization. SVG is quite useful, because we can have more control over the design, while establishing classes and id’s for elements that can become alive with CSS3 magic.

check the interactive calendar in English or in Portuguese – works better in Firefox

Here we have the phenological cycle for the Acacia longifolia, one of the most problematic invasive plant species in Portugal. How do I know that? It’s my current job. And like most scientific subjects, data and good visual elements are aplenty. This information and the images were provided by my colleague Cristina Morais, that included this calendar in her PhD thesis presentation.

I love a well designed calendar or any other time related object (I have deadline issues…)because, in spite of time’s linear, progressive motion, it’s also cyclical (…and hamster syndrome as well).  I found some creative, stunning, stylish layouts and the radial stuck with me, since we’re conveying the idea of a cycle, after all. This  here and this one too cleared any doubts.

I had already tried this concept, but this time I wanted to take it a step further. I’m not a designer so I tried my best to make it look not really ugly, and adapted the code from this great tutorial from Codrops, which is one of the best interactive design websites ever. Follow them.

The popup images are activated through a pressbox .js script, placed in the index.html file. Neat and simple.

Even so, my coding skills weren’t enough to create all the actions I wanted, and I failed to make it cross-browser compatible: it only works 100% on Firefox. Chrome and IE do not render the calendar as seen on the video above.

For this project I used Adobe CS6’s Photoshop and Illustrator (which could have been replaced by Inkscape and GIMP, both free powerful alternatives to the Adobe products), and edited a lot of code on Notepad++.

It was an interesting project, and I’m planning to do a few more. If you have any suggestions or ideas send them to me.