The Snow Fall effect continues, as more and more news outlets seek out ways to deliver full-impact, multimedia features on digital platforms.
One of the latest examples was launched by ESPN.co.uk last week, which served to deliver both a full-screen storytelling experience and highlight one way to bring content out of the digital archives and inject it with a new lease of life.
The feature, part of an annual project highlighting the biggest stories in sport over the last year was built using Shorthand, a new platform for building immersive digital content experiences and which first partnered with the Guardian on another sports-themed feature earlier this year. The platform is currently working towards the launch of a public tool anyone can use.
ESPN.co.uk's Best of 2013 offers readers a month-by-month replay of the biggest stories to feature in the sports agenda in 2013 (with December yet to be filled in). Individual packages were created for different sports – in this case, for example, focusing on football – with one page per month, and each story linking back to archive content.
The features build in images, including the "photo of the month" and others which move or change in time with the reader's scrolling, as well as a video at the beginning and interactive voting platform for 2014 predictions. Shorthand founder, Ben Fogarty, explained that the packages contain just one "custom developed" section, for the initial part of the article containing the video and voting platform, while the rest was built using the Shorthand platform.
He added that the end result is "a great showcase" in terms of the speed now possible in producing such content.
This is not the first time ESPN.co.uk has, at the end of the year, produced a feature looking back at the big stories of the past 12 months, but previously the approach was that the end feature was "pretty much published in the style of our articles the rest of the year", editor of ESPN.co.uk Steven Saunders told Journalism.co.uk.
"The decision was taken around September of this year to see if we could do something a little bit different to stand out from the crowd a little bit. That was the thinking behind it."
He added that the team is sure to "have more ideas in the future as to just where we might be able to take this type of platform".
As well as offering more of a lean-back experience for users who wished to scroll through the top tales of the year, there are also interactive elements, in particular a voting facility for 2014 predictions at the start of the piece.I think the interactivity of it is something that we've only really dipped our toe into the water with and I think that's the area we can really explore next time aroundSteven Saunders, ESPN.co.uk
"We were finding our way with this as we went along and I think we could probably take it to a whole other level next time we do something like this," Saunders said.
"I think the interactivity of it is something that we've only really dipped our toe into the water with and I think that's the area we can really explore next time around."
In an email to Journalism.co.uk, Paul Melvin, director of communications for ESPN EMEA, said the delivery style used this year "is reflective of a couple general ideas and principles we’ve been looking at a lot".
This includes "responsive design (across device screens) and stream-based user interfaces that combine editorial curation of content mixed with chronological feed-based UI."
Update: This article was amended to clarify that the project looked at different sports, and that the conversation around it began in September, not December.
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