From the post:
The Post is looking to create a database of “supplements” — categorized pieces of text and graphics that help give context around complicated news topics — and add it as a contextual layer across lots of different Post stories.
The Washington Post’s Knowledge Map aims to diminish that frustration by embedding context and background directly in a story. (We wrote about it briefly when it debuted earlier this month.) Highlighted links and buttons within the story, allowing readers to click on and then read brief overviews — called “supplements” — on the right hand side of the same page, without having to leave the page (currently the text and supplements are not tethered, so if you scroll away in the main story, there’s no easy way to jump back to the phrase or name you clicked on initially).
Knowledge Map sprouted a few months ago out of a design sprint (based on a five-day brainstorming method outlined by Google Ventures) that included the Post’s New York-based design and development team WPNYC and members of the data science team in the D.C. office, as well as engineers, designers, and other product people. After narrowing down a list of other promising projects, the team presented to the Post newsroom and to its engineering team an idea for providing readers with better summaries and context for the most complicated, long-evolving stories.
That idea of having context built into a story “really resonated” with colleagues, Sampsel said, so her team quickly created a proof-of-concept using an existing Post story, recruiting their first round of testers for the prototype via Craigslist. Because they had no prior data on what sort of key phrases or figures readers might want explained for any given story, the team relied on trial and error to settle on the right level of detail.
Has the potential of hypertext been so muted by advertising, graphics, interactivity and > 1 MB pages that it takes a “design sprint” to bring some of that potential back to the fore?
I’m very glad that:
That idea of having context built into a story “really resonated” with colleagues,
but it isn’t a new idea.
Perhaps the best way to move the Web forward at this point would be to re-read (or read) some of the early web conference proceedings.
Rediscover what the web was like before being Google-driven was an accurate description of the web.