Articles by Álvaro Ortiz

  • Article

    New open source tool for journalists and designers to weave interactive stories

    July 8, 2014 by Álvaro Ortiz

    New open source tool for journalists and designers to weave interactive stories

    Odyssey.js is a project funded by the Knight Prototype Fund developed by mapping company CartoDB. Today it is releasing the beta version of an open source tool that enables journalists and designers to create interactive stories. Below, Álvaro Ortiz, head of communications at CartoDB, writes about the launch.

    Why is text the predominant format for content on the Web? Why are we hardly taking advantage of the new possibilities the digital medium offers to communicate? Why is it that when someone talks about storytelling we just think of text and some images?

    Although the Web is 25 years old, we are still at the dawn of using the medium for interactive storytelling. Technical complexity and development resources needed to create interactive pieces are two major drawbacks that stop innovation (the economic context of newsrooms further complicates things).

    In recent years we have seen several examples of interactive storytelling in journalism (from the now classic New York Times “Snowfall” to ESPN’s “Out in the Great Alone”), exciting attempts to reimagine how we can tell stories through a screen. But although imagining interactive stories using text, images, videos, maps is easy, building them is not.

    Welcome Odyssey.js, an open source tool for journalists, designers and developers to create interactive stories with ease and speed of development. Odyssey.js enables users without coding skills to build interactive stories using text, images, videos and maps with custom interactions through the included sandbox; at the same time it is a powerful JavaScript library that is meant to grow as developers create new interactions to share.