What Is Responsive Storytelling?

Why you should be looking at how you are telling your stories


Today people’s need for information comes from all areas.

They have become acclimatised to being able to being able to see the information they want, when they want it and how they want it.

For people like me, this can be difficult as when I write an article, I need to give it a certain structure that does not fit everybody’s searching preferences. Throughout any article there could be something that people want to see, from information about a particular area to statistic about a particular item.

Both of these pieces of information could be within the article, but people today do not want to be forced to search through several paragraphs in order to find the one piece of information they want. They want to see the information they need in addition to the conclusions of the article. In essence they want to see the bits of the film they like, but still knows what happens at the end.

So how can we as authors make this achievable?

One of the keys to this is targeting a specific audience.

The simplest way to do this is through your meta data and SEO capabilities that you put into an article. If you are looking to attract people directly through to the article without accessing it through other pages on your site, then this method would even allow you to write several variations of the same article to push certain information in certain ways.

However, this is not going to be the best solution for everyone. In fact, most companies would not want to have their writing team spending considerable amounts of time essentially writing the same article with a few changes.

One of the best ways to do this is through innovative applications, website designs and technology led ideas.

For instance, the use of quickly customizable infographics, videos aimed at a certain audience or even maps that can allow data to be shown for areas can help. When you look at how many Guardian, Forbes and New York Times articles contain significant amounts of data, they often allow user customization to help wade through it.

Even simpler than this is using the basic aspects of human behaviour.

Without needing to use expensive and complicated apps, simply having headed areas of the article is the simplest and widest used method of drawing certain people’s attention to areas. Having key word laden headers running down the left of the screen has become the best way for publishers to quickly bring people to where they want to be.

Due to the way that people read (left to right apart from some countries in Asia), having the key headers clearly labelled down the left hand side of the page as they scroll will mean that they can quickly and easily identify the areas that interest them, allowing them to avoid the areas that don’t.

People’s needs today are changing and the companies who can adapt to these changes are ultimately going to be the ones who profit from them the most. Responsive storytelling is part of this process, but ultimately one of the most important. Whether this is done through intelligent design or technology implementation, it is something that needs to be thought through and people need to adapt their current systems to incorporate it.


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