10/5/2018

Aesop Story Engine

 

Create rich, visual, interactive stories and articles with this easy-to-use wordpress plugin.

By Hyun Supul, Aesop Story Engine

While social media and viral videos seem to be getting all of the media’s attention these days, articles, documents and stories still form the cornerstones of the world wide web. More importantly, search engines still favor web content with 1-2000 words, if not more.

Even social media, notorious for their short form contents, favor long form articles and stories. Long form contents get more shares, more tweets, more likes, more backlinks and more conversions.

But of course, just writing text does not necessarily make for good journalism. Long form contents may attract readers, but they will leave quickly if the article looks boring or irrelevant.

The integration of data journalism techniques, such as visualisation, is one way of promoting engagement and ensuring that stories are heard.

A picture may be worth thousand words, but visualisations and texts become more powerful when they are laid together to tell a story.

Aesop Story Engine is a WordPress plugin that helps curate these components into engaging visual products. Aesop includes navigation components, including Chapter and Timeline components, designed to help readers navigate long form contents. It also has tools to make your posts look more exciting, and break up monotone content.

The use of Aesop Story Engine is not limited to long form contents, but anyone can take advantage of its multimedia and transmedia components for better reader experiences.

Aesop includes components to present images, parallax images, galleries, video/audio, maps and more, with optional animations to spruce up any posts. Compared to the default HTML based WordPress images and videos, these components offer additional options to make your posts more interesting, such as reveal animations and autoplay/auto loop.

Image, parallax, galleries

Aesop Story Engine's image and gallery components provide several enhanced options to add visual elements to the posts, including reveal animations and multiple gallery formats. Some examples of gallery formats are included below.

Image: Panorama.

Image: Parallax.

Image: Optional reveal animations.

Video and audio

Aesop allows you to embed videos and audio in many different formats, including videos hosted on popular video sharing websites. In addition, it provides enhanced options such as autoplay, autoloop,and reveal animations.

Article navigation

To aid navigation, Aesop also includes chapter and timeline components, which guide readers through longform contents.

Image: The chapter component.

Quotes and contents

Quotes and contents provide additional ways to format and present text based information, with options for image backgrounds and animations.

Image: The quote component.

Character

This feature allows small pictures to be associated with headings. It can be used to present authors and characters. Or, it can be used as another way to present pictures relevant to the context alongside the text.

Image: The character component.

Map

Like the name suggests, this feature shows maps relevant to the article. There is the option to add markers to follow the story as the users scroll.

Image: A sticky map.

Extensions and customizations

Aesop is extensible and customizable in many ways. For an example, the plugin allows users to add custom HTML elements overlayed over its built in components. Here is an example of a parallax component with the user supplied HTML elements for maximum flexibility and extensibility.

Image: Customized parallax component.

There are several free and paid themes and plugins available for Aesop Story Engine. Work has also begun to make Aesop Story Engine available on the Gutenberg platform. In addition, there is also a front-end editor for Aesop Story Engine called Editus, which can enhance editing experience for the site users. Editus can be used independently from Aesop Story Engine as well.

About the author

Hyun Supul has worked in the software industry since the 90s and is the current owner of Aesopinteractive. 

Explore Aesop Story Engine here.

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