I have been fascinated with the Newsletter concept since, as a teenager, I used to cut stencils for our local Youth Hostel group and later University publications in Earth Science.
So I found it an interesting challenge and having recently
joined a local Heritage group (for whom I put a database of PDF Newsletters
online) immediately thought of one of theirs.
It’s quite a challenge since traditional Newsletters by
their nature are text heavy and there is really no way around that. I suppose that makes PDF an ideal way to
distribute them but surely, I thought, there must be some feature of Storyline
that makes the concept useful.
The first thing of course is the navigation, it’s nice to
browse a Newsletter or sit reading it in the afternoon sunshine but sometimes
you want just that one article to re-read.
So we add links from a contents page.
In this case I highlighted the feature articles and left the humdrum of
committee and society notices to a single link.
I did try regular buttons but I felt they detracted from the
general look and feel of the original so I made them text links. Alternative stylings (eg colour could be used
here as well).
I normally prefer to have my own navigation on Storylines
rather than use the side menu as, often, that’s just a lot of screen real
estate and sometimes I don’t want the user to have that much autonomy
(especially with assessments). However,
in this case, I decided to leave the menu in there as the navigation text links
may not be that obvious (even though I added the little animated arrow). My (usually) elderly readership would likely appreciate
The next thing is the density of text and the text
size. Of course we have screen readers
and on modern tablets and browsers we can adjust the font size if necessary. However I felt that maybe text-to-speech was
the way to go and so I added a button to each of the text blocks and created a
pause/play effect. I might have done
more with the icon states but it works well using a toggle variable.
Finally using this format gave me the opportunity to add some further information about the Heritage Centre location and purpose and to explain some aspects of the Te Reo Māori name of our organisation.
I haven’t converted the entire newsletter but just wanted to show a proof of the concept.
I have no idea where this originated but I found it in the archives:
A koala is sitting up a gum tree smoking a joint when a little lizard walks past, looks up and says “Hey Koala ! what are you doing?”
The koala says: “Smoking a joint, come up and have some.”
So the little lizard climbs up and sits next to the koala and they have a few joints.
After a while the little lizard says his mouth is ‘dry’ and is going to get a drink from the river. But the little lizard is so stoned that he leans too far over and falls into the river. A crocodile sees this and swims over to the little lizard and helps him to the side, then asks the little lizard: “What’s the matter with you?”
The little lizard explains to the crocodile that he was sitting smoking a joint with the koala in the tree, got too stoned and then fell into the river while taking a drink.
The crocodile says he has to check this out and walks into the rain forest, finds the tree where the koala is sitting finishing a joint, and he looks up and says “Hey you!”