Social media plays such an important role in publishing that sharable and fun interactive content is now the way to elevate a piece from ‘buzzy’ to ‘viral’.
Buzzfeed and The Guardian have proved masterful at this (for different reasons) but there are plenty of other publishers and organisations getting in on the act.
Here’s just a few of them..
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Your Life on Earth
There’s a quote somewhere about the New York Times’ Snowfall. somebody said ‘I’d rather have a Snowfall creator than a Snowfall’.
Well, I don’t know whether the Beeb has created a CMS but its iWonder articles are lovely (and less of a show-off than Snowfall) and involve scrolling text with images and video and the occasional HTML5 quiz or interactive element.
Your Life on Earth isn’t strictly part of the iWonder guides, but it’s part of the same development at the BBC of ‘doing, not just viewing’ content. Have a play.
‘Graphs and maps are a great way of making statistics memorable and meaningful.’ The Office of National Statistics is bang on.
You can check out all of their simple but effective interactive charts from one page. The one below shows population projections right up to 2037 – click through to check it out.
When dealing with so many numbers, an interactive chart makes it a bit less of a headache to take the information in at a glance.
In 2013, the Which City should You Live In? quiz was the most popular content on Buzzfeed.
It’s a simple templated quiz and goes some way to delineating the allure of allowing users to access content that relates specifically to them and even tells them something about themselves that they didn’t already know.
The Guardian is good at design. It has won a Design Award for gawd’s sake.
The publisher brings its expertise to interactive content more and more often, too. Recent successes are numerous but my favourite was the WWI interactive documentary. Tools range from this grand scale to the more prosaic loan repayment calculator (bound to score plenty of web traffic) and the broadly appealing interactive World Cup draw.
Do explore the WWI example. The breadth of photos, video, text and the way the story is told makes this more of an addition to the field of study of the conflict. It’s really a bit of fantastic education that transcends ‘content’ and quite rightly so. The Guardian’s heritage is in this kind of engagement, not merely indexing in the search engines well and being shared through the network of the day.
Siemens, in an effort to position its brand and own a portion of the education around some of its topic areas, created this interactive game called the Power Matrix. If you fancy being the energy manager of a local district and working your way to the top of the industry, this is the game for you.
One of the advantages of interactive elements is that theoretically they should keep the user engaged for longer. A good example is using interactive content in health provision websites. Here the NHS uses a healthy body weight calculator which is lots easier to use than a large table to be cross-referenced.
Deloitte’s TMT (technology, media, telecoms) report for 2014 deserves to be included. Presenting the summary of a whitepaper like this, in easy to read format and entirely online, makes sure that people who want to read it will visit your site.
Again, it’s a nice mix of text, imagery and video. Chiefly it’s a scrolling experience but it verges on interaction because of the way the story progresses at the user’s behest.
Along similar lines as siemens, GE also creates interactive games to accompany many of its disparate and impressive products.
Here’s a game based aorund the rail industry. I didn’t find it particularly informative but at least I got to drive a train.