For this assignment, I checked out the interactive piece “Welcome to Pine Point” produced by The National Film Board of Canada. It tells the story, which was originally supposed to be in book format, of a place one of the creators once visited- Pine Point. The creators were working on developing a concept for a book about keeping memories of old homes and places alive through photo albums. According to the website, “It seemed the sit acted as a kind of public album, a touch-stone for the people who lived there, but also, for those of us who didn’t; it was perspective that we felt needed sharing,” (Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons).
The piece incorporates various media elements, including audio, photo, videos, graphics, etc. They combined these elements to tell a more interactive story that places the reader/viewer/consumer directly into the story. While the text of the story pops up at a speed already determined by the creators, the user can navigate through the story at their own pace by taking their time to read and absorb the content and clicking to the next chapter at their leisure. I was overwhelmed at first when the text popped up faster than I was able to read and keep up with, but I was relieved when I realized the control was in my hands to go through the content at my own speed.
This piece is visually appealing on all fronts. As I mentioned earlier, the creators incorporated a wide array of media elements into the piece. Sometimes this can seem overwhelming to the user, but I really enjoyed the presentation. Every “chapter” of the story was completely different from the rest in regard to the organization of the page, the media used, how the content was displayed, the way the user can interact with the content and make their way through the piece. Some pages looked like a video screen that takes you right onto the rough pavement of Pine Point, others mimicked that of a photo album.
The piece also uses a wide variety of animation features that keeps the reader engaged. I worried this may be a distraction to the user, but I think it provides some personality to the piece that reflects the creators and what their personal experience was like at this visiting spot. It’s something I’ve never seen used in this fashion before, and while I might not be the world’s biggest cartoon fanatic, I really liked this element.
Overall, I really enjoy this piece. I never found myself growing tired of reading the content because of how engaging the various elements throughout the piece were. I was excited to see what was next to come on the pages to follow because of the diversity in the way the content was organized and presented. I hope to see more interactive journalistic pieces like this and can only hope to learn to mimic these creative styles.
To check out the piece for yourself, follow this link: http://pinepoint.nfb.ca/#/pinepoint