Week 8: GeoStories Home Stretch!

Back from Israel and ready to finish our GeoStories website for the final.

As a reminder, GeoStories is a social story-mapping platform that enables users to create personal narratives around the places they’ve been and the experiences they’ve had there. The site’s simple, streamlined interface allows users to pair their personal thoughts with meaningful images or videos pulled from the media site(s) of their preference (Picasa, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), almost instantly transforming the ubiquitous digital map into a personal memoir, descriptive genealogy, historical non-fiction, or lighthearted travel journal.

Final Project goals/Wireframes:

After consultation with EY Ventures, the final product of GeoStories is looking to be more a prototype/envisioning tool of the different types (historical, adventurous, public health/urban planning tool, etc.) and capacities of stories users can create instead of previous visions of saving/editing/sharing stories on the GeoStories website. This is because finding a way around hosting a server/storage space for story content has not come to fruition. Final goals for the website Andrew stated in the last post are: 

1. Creating a “Table of Contents”: A second tab on the Story Board page, a form that consists of buttons that represent the chapters a user has created in the “Story Board” section of the site. Yoh has courteously set us on the path towards creating the necessary function. The first tab will be where the user inputs content, then after they hit ‘Publish’, it will shift to the second tab, “Table of Contents” of the newly generated story. This story can be viewed as many times before the page is refreshed, as GeoStories has no current way to save stories. 

2. Navigation Buttons Within InfoWindows: Advancement in this area requires that Issue 1 first be resolved. We hope to emulate what is seen in Penguin Books, with navigation embedded within the info windows themselves which can move from chapter to chapter. http://wetellstories.co.uk/stories/week1/. An added bonus would be to figure out how to draw the red line between chapters really slowly.

3. Saving the Story: The way to save individual stories so that they can be accessed, edited, and shared later apparently requires the use of Server-Side Scripting, which, we have been advised, is presently beyond our pay-grade. And so we search for a way to capture a story via its URL. It seems this option may not be feasible. This will be a bonus feature if we can figure it out.

4. How-To: We want to create instructions on how to use the site. Once we have our main StoryBoard page/function figured out, we’ll incorporate class suggestions in creating a tutorial for the user. A step-by-step guide to flesh out the introductory video.

5. Angling the Brand: Is their a unique way to position GeoStories so that it stands apart from its most obvious competitors (HistoryPin, TripLine); is it necessary to do so, or is the generic, stripped down nature of GeoStories an advantage? I think GeoStories simplicity can stand on its own. 

6. Library: Instead of its initial intention in being a reservoir for user stories, I hope to make quick video demonstrations similar to the intro video on different types of stories users have the potential to create (old stories of their grandparents, present day vacations/trips, public health/urban planning teaching tools, etc.). I think if we do this, it will give GeoStories a uniqueness from similar engines such as TripLine and HyperCities.

Current Status: I was away last week and Andrew was in charge of moving forward. He has been working with EY Ventures on the programming and coding. We will regroup in class Wednesday and form a game plan of individual responsibilities to make sure we reach our final goals.

Challenges/Issues: It’s been a sharp learning curve for this 2-person team. A lot of the brainwork/coding was from Yoh. Because of the unique nature of our website, we weren’t able to always work off what we learned in class and had to rely on the genius of Yoh/Erin/Ryan. We’re very grateful for that, but wish we had more tools ourselves to do more of the foundational work.

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