March 31, 2017

Let’s Talk About:

Long Term Thinking About Long Form Reading

The New York Times’ Snow Fall launched almost five years ago, and since then, the term “snow fall” has become synonymous with long form storytelling online. This kind of format elevates a story through design and media to create an experience that’s more engaging and cohesive than your run-of-the-mill blog post or news article. Since Snow Fall’s debut, beautiful, interactive long form pieces have become common, and even expected, across the web. “We want our own Snow Fall” is a popular refrain from clients.

As designers, this increased focus on high-quality editorial design online is a welcome relief after so many years of some truly painful online reading experiences. However, as an agency, we usually don’t have the luxury of time or scope to handcraft individual long form stories for clients. Rather, our challenge is often to create long form design systems. We’ve found that a good system has strong, modular styles as well as a ton of flexibility built in, to empower clients to create unique, customized stories for themselves. At the same time, a certain level of structure, order, and well-documented rules are required to make sure a system is foolproof and being used to its full potential.

When the balance is just right, the end result is a powerful tool for clients that ensures their stories will not only be immersive and interactive, but also hold up long after our involvement.

Learn more about how we found that balance for Rotary International.

Read About Rotary International -

Community Thoughts on Long Term Thinking About Long Form Reading...

  1. 1. Design considerations for communication Consideration for communication takes effort. It’s more than just the addition of some music or moving pictures, it’s a recognition of a broader story being told. Something bigger than text casually abandoned in the corral of a webpage. It’s the acknowledgement that a story can happen in multiple dimensions, across time, sound, and image. Our stories have an ebb and flow, and design serves to support and enrich them.
  2. 2. How do you scale art-directed longform storytelling? We’re now at the point in the lifecycle of experimentation when it’s time to figure out how to make our most high quality work repeatable. The first time we build a thing, it’s usually a one-off as we determine what works and how we measure the thing’s success. But as you start to figure out what works best, the only way to continue evolving that experimentation is to ensure repeatability and reusability of your baseline.
  3. 3. Longform Content with Craft Matrix The Matrix field is endlessly customizable, and provides the level of flexibility, control, and power that is needed to achieve well-paced, art-directed longform content.
  4. 4. 2016: The Year in Visual Stories and Graphics The New York Times’ collection of their visual features, longform stories, data visualizations, multimedia features, etc. from the past year.

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