The main skill of a designer is to be able to tell a story. By story, I mean not a drama: a plot, a climax, a denouement, but a method of presenting information. Digital storytelling is the interface for the story.
Probably, a new era will come soon — the era of a digital storytelling. Therefore, it’s time to try to understand the peculiarities of the narration of interesting and memorable stories.
Content is the main thing
Good material should be interesting and useful to the reader. Think of what a valuable a new person will get from reading your material. To create a well-digested story, use the pyramid of information. When the plot is designed, think about what can complement it and help uncover the topic. Good content, direct speech expert and high-quality visual design will add up to an interesting and comprehensive material.
Be a researcher
It is a deep study of the topic that distinguishes a good story from a superficial one. There are concepts of primary and secondary research that everyone who tells a story on the Internet should do. Any designer or editor working on the material should be able to quickly dive into the topic.
Find beautiful pictures
Storytelling is like a movie that plays while you scroll. It is the visual part that helps to convey the atmosphere, open the topic and immerse the user in context. Think of what might help your story to unfold. This may be, for example, a photo shoot, ambient video, illustration or infographics. Starting to make out the story, immediately puzzled by the question of creating visual content.
Work through the headlines
The title should be speaking. A good title is of interest and denotes the topic of the article, without provocation and distortion of its essence. For conversion, headings with numbers, question headings, and statements work well. For the genre of the interview, the biting quote in the title works very well. For example — “The struggle of art in the twentieth century is characterized by an aspiration for freedom”: an article with Jonas Staal.
Puns in the headlines, which were popular from the middle of the zero, recently began to be considered a bad form.
There will always be popular headlines with a figure (which are dictated by the genre of the compilation or listing): “25 places in Europe you should see” “20 photos about how fun it is to be children.” There are quite yellow options — “This training for 9 minutes will replace a full-fledged exercise in the gym.” Here it is important to find a balance between the attractiveness of the title and its provocativeness because no one likes deceived expectations.
Design multiple reading layers.
There are two types of reading: the first is linear. The traditional option — first comes the evaluation of the material, then — reading the text in order. The second is cross-reading (skimming): reading is only on the headings, cuts and so on. Plus, if you find something interesting, attention is focused on the text.
It is important to consider reading the second type. Make sure that the structure of the material is read without problems even by a quick glance.
Think about patterns
The experience gained by designers shows that there are the most appropriate ways to convey different types of information. The term “design pattern” implies a certain element, or group of elements, repeated on many sites for the same purpose. For example, out of a dozen different ways of making a direct speech, over time only two or three of the most successful survive.
Carefully consider design pattern of Cover: section, title, subtitle.
Having visited a couple of dozens of modern websites, the attentive viewer can easily highlight the characteristic patterns for the design of covers, galleries, listing chips, calls to action.
Design patterns can and should be used in your work, adapt them to your own content and style.
Think what the reader will see and in what sequence. The feed should be varied. A good pattern, applied 10 times in a row, can make your eyesore so much the same as a text sheet. Look, for example, how Apple designers get out: having only one object, they found XS ways to show it in a new way.
Unity and contrast
Use large padding between blocks. Do not be afraid of air, let the information breathe. When a large space is allotted to the text, it is revealed and becomes readable.
Do not overdo it with design and color — an abundance of styles pulls attention and hinders the assimilation of information. Develop an ascetic in yourself.
Each time, using one or another method of registration, make sure that it always serves one function. For example: create one style (size + outline + line spacing) for the title, frame, and captions for the images, and work only with them. You can add new styles as needed — when new entities appear.
Find the right tonality
It’s a good idea to take into account the cultural context of fonts. For example, in the material about New York, it would be logical to look at Helvetica (used in urban navigation, reflects the ideology of modernism), and about Venice — Bodoni (one of the oldest Italian fonts, still widely used by designers).
For a well-designed article, one font is enough. It is also possible to use two fonts — this creates a striking contrast.
The character of the font affects the tone of the utterance.
Take care of sharing
Do not forget to put social buttons. It is better to use the so-called “sticky” buttons that remain in view when scrolling the page.
You may want to use a motivational text (call to action) in combination with shares. It is really common that people decide whether they will watch the material or not on the basis of a badge on Facebook or on the media website.
Accessibility and amount of information led to an intellectual revolution. There were fundamental changes in the structures of thinking that influenced people’s intellectual and practical activities. We began to think and act differently about what, in particular, tells the growing popularity of such a format for exchanging information as digital storytelling. So, let’s write correctly.