Introducing Our New Story Builder

We are excited to introduce a new and improved version of our story builder. We built it entirely from scratch and based it on a lot of user feedback. The story builder now features a modern user interface (UI) that is easier and more intuitive to use. It also includes more attractive fonts and pre-designed templates to help your stories make more of a visual impact and for you to create stories even faster. This blog post will guide you through the new features.

Note: If you’ve created stories with the previous version of our platform, don’t worry—they won’t disappear. All published stories will stay the same. If you would like to edit a story that was built with the previous version, you can select 'clone and migrate', and the system will then make a duplicate copy of your story and migrate it to the new story builder. For the most part, migration will convert the story's layout. If you find that this is not the case, please let our support team know and we will be happy to take a look at it.

Getting started

To create a new story, select the red “Plus” icon, then select the “Story” icon. You should now see a list of six templates:

Each template comes with a preset collection of modules and font styles to jump-start your story's design. (You can always change these elements after you’ve started.)

Once you've settled on a template, you can give your story a title, upload a new cover image, and get started storytelling.

 

 

Modules: New, Improved, and Easy to Move

Each story is divided into discreet chunks called modules. A module may contain text, a chart, an image, or another element.

When you are editing a story, modules are demarcated by a black line attached to a “Plus” icon. (The lines and the icon will not be visible in the published version.) To add a new module, select the “Plus” icon, and then choose a module type.

If you've used LiveStories before, most of these modules will be familiar, but there are a few new ones. A button is a neat way to draw attention to a link, and you can even arrange several buttons in a row to create a simple navigation bar. A spacer is an easy way to add white space to your story. An ESRI map module lets you embed such a map in the same way you'd embed a video—just paste a link to its URL. Finally, IQ lets you embed interactive charts from LiveStories IQ, a new tool for comparing communities.

Text modules also work a little differently now. Formatting is handled entirely by a menu bar that appears whenever you select text. You can make any bit of text a heading, subheading, or quote.

Once a module is on the page, you can rearrange it by clicking on it, dragging it, and dropping it where you want it to go. (Text modules need to be "grabbed" by their upper-right corner.) You can arrange modules in up to four columns.

For example, let’s say you’ve added a chart to your story and you want it to appear alongside a text module. Just click on the chart, drag it, and drop it to the side of the text module. You should see a light blue box where it will “land.”

Note also that the big red menu button on the lower-right turns into a “trash” icon while you're dragging a module around. If you’d like to delete a module, just drag it into the trash. Be careful, though—once you delete a module, it’s gone forever.

Below is a "module showcase" with a chart, a text module, and a button. Remember, you can rearrange modules by dragging and dropping them wherever you’d like them to go!

The Main Menu Button

That bright red button in the lower-left only moonlights as a trash can. Normally, it functions as a main menu. Selecting this icon brings up four features that affect the story as a whole. They are, from top to bottom: Control Panel, Font Options, Color Options, and Preview/Publish.

 

Control Panel lets you customize information associated with your story. You can change your story's title and summary information, which will appear on search results. You can also add custom messages for Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons. 

Font Options offers 7 font collections, on a spectrum from casual to formal. The setting you choose will be used throughout the entire story, including headings and chart text.

Color Options lets you set the color for headings, quotes, links, and buttons, as well as the title text. Like Font Options, Color Options will change all elements in one swoop.

Preview and Publish prepares your story for sharing with an audience, with a variety of security options. This feature now includes the ability to download a PDF version of your story, a function we have also vastly improved on.

 

 

Learn More: Request a Demo

That ends our quick tour of the new story tool. If you would like to learn more you can schedule a demo with our team and get the full insight of all the latest features.