The main trend in online publishing over the last year seems to have been big, shiny interactive features that use HTML5 and parallax scrolling techniques to augment traditional storytelling and make everyone think ‘wow’.
I love them, and there have been some great examples: while The New York Times’ Snow Fall is often seen as the template, The Guardian did a great job with Firestorm, as have Rolling Stone and Pitchfork and numerous other innovative publishers.
With our annual tips for 2014 feature due, I wanted to move away from the stale listicle format and try one of these on the Rough Guides site myself. So we commissioned Studio Juice to create a special microsite full of tips, inspirational photos, slideshows pulled in from the main site, background videos and the all-important eBook links.
The main criticism of all these jaw-dropping projects (aside from the costs), are that nobody really reads the content. We tried to get round this with the list format – you can dip in and out and jump to the parts you’re most interested in, and the nature of the top ten means you’re not obliged to plough through it from start to finish as you might be with a longform essay. As for the cost, it was pretty substantial, but we requested an accompanying CMS and so can reskin it year after year.
The traffic has been phenomenal, doubling the site’s figures for most of January, and attracting so many users our servers fell over (to use tech-speak).