Resource guide: StoryMap, Juxtapose, Timeline

Three free storytelling tools from Knight Lab are required for this project:


Interactive geolocational maps.
A web-based tool for telling stories about locations or a series of events. Tell your story with photographs, works of art, historic maps, and other image files. StoryMap acts as a slideshow that can track movement from place to place within one map, or can illustrate various aspects of a single place as small as your Aro Valley flat or larger than the Seven Kingdoms. Here are some examples – check them out to see what the story maps look like in action!



Interactive chronological timelines.
This tool enables you to build visually rich stories through an interactive, chronological timeline. Each point on your timeline can be expanded to include images or videos. This tool is useful for telling a historical story in chronological order, and/or tracking changes or events that occur consecutively over time. Your timeline could span what happens in a space over a few minutes or a few hundred years! Unlike StoryMap, this tool affords you to build your story chronologically (ie, as a ‘timeline’).



Before & after comparisons.
Compare two similar media objects (ie images) with a slider that moves from one image to another. Simply upload two images to compare. Useful for showing changes; then vs now; either for slow changes (urban development, forest regrowth, etc); before/after images of dramatic or everyday events (building projects, earthquakes, wars, fires, doing a deep clean of your flat’s kitchen, etc).


General advice:

Each of these options requires advanced planning and storyboarding. Figure out what you want to say/show and how before you start building your map.

These platforms are probably unfamiliar to you so give yourself plenty of time to learn how to use them! Play around, familiarise yourself with the affordances of your chosen platform. See what technical features affords you to tell the story you want. How can you capitalise upon (or subvert!) the platform’s affordances to best tell your story?

Pick the tool that will be most useful for telling the story you want to tell. For example: Timeline is useful for communicating historical events that occurred at a location, Juxtapose can show show changes to a place, and StoryMap is good for map-based storytelling.



Tips for digital storytelling on Timeline and StoryMap:

  1. Keep it short. We recommend not having more than 5 slides for a reader to click through.
  2. Pick stories that have a strong location narrative. StoryMap in particular does not work well for stories that need to jump around in the map.


Tips for storytelling with Juxtapose:

  1. Use images that are the same size.
  2. Export your images to web quality to improve download time.
  3. Align your images so that major elements are in alignment.


Other tools and tutorials:

Digital Humanities list of tools that can be used for storytelling and mapping:

Digital Humanities list of tutorials useful for making the most of tools in the previous list:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s