From spoken word to moving pictures new technologies have become the springboard for producers and audiences to create and share their personal tales.
Portability, versatility and increasing computer performance of tablets are bringing completely new experiences, changing how we enjoy entertainment, shop, gather information, communicate and blend our digital and real worlds. This series by PSFK and Intel explores how improving tablet capabilities are changing the status quo in many aspects of our lives. The term “storytelling” has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, and new technologies like tablets are playing no small part in revival. Sure they helped make reading an anytime, anywhere endeavor with their ability to download and store digital copies available from the likes of Amazon and eBooks. But even more, touchscreen tablet computers have become the medium through which new kinds of storytelling is being created and experienced. Tablets could be the device responsible for getting more people to dive deep into stories, according to Adobe Digital Marketing report last year that said people read at greater length on tablets than on other devices. The report showed that people view 70 percent more Internet pages when browsing with a tablet compared to a smart phone. The bigger screen size makes explain the difference, but tablet users are also behaving differently as they read. According to Poynter’s eyetracking study, tablet users tend to keep nearly constant contact with the screen as they touch, tap, pinch and swipe regularly. “The element of discovery is one of the joys of the tablet,” said Sara Quinn, Poynter’s lead researcher behind the study. “And for journalists and storytellers, it takes practice to develop the skills to create consistently strong interactive experience in a story.” Long before the so-called mobile first trend in Internet publishing tailored for tablets, good storytelling is filled with meaning, emotionally gripping and makes the audience feel like they’re learning something significant about the world. Good stories are like springboards that set off the reader’s imagination into a realm of co-creation, where the the story evokes personal tales from the reader. These intertwine and lead to richer, memorable story experiences. But tablets are enriching that experience for the story producer and audience by making narrative more engaging and interactive. They are helping storytellers to create captivating visuals, hidden surprises and the ability to dig deeper into characters. In the case of Leviathan, a visual storytelling demonstration based on the celebrated steampunk series by Scott Westerfield. Tablets allow the viewer to see aspects of the story in an augmented reality. The convergence of multiple perspectives in a single narrative has been explored by filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction and countless video games, including GTA 5. Exploring a single storyline from different angles can create an exploratory experience for audiences, and our personal devices could soon become the portal to unlocking these new narratives. The “Frozen Storybook Deluxe” app lets users interact with the story from the perspectives of the two sisters, depending on how they flip their tablet. Released by Disney Publishing, the film-based app an interactive story from the perspective of two new characters and their journey together. The app includes activities, an original music score and film clips, to create an interactive storytelling experience that serves as a unique and immersive extension to the feature film release. In addition to creating an interactive piece of work, the app allows users to revisit the narrative time and time again from different points of view. It may seem a far-fetched, but the idea of taking content on screen and moving it into the real world is already happening in movie theatres and other experimental venues to create more immersive viewing environments. Tablets can further assist these sensory-based narratives by allowing us to actually feel the experience that is happening on screen. Fujitsu’s prototype tablet uses ultrasonic waves to vibrate the air just above the screen represent the texture of the objects appearing on-screen. By simply increasing or decreasing the amount of friction over the screen, the device is able to simulate an array of materials that exist in the real world. Users can feel and interact with the texture of dirt appearing on screen for instance, creating a new channel for interaction that adds an experiential element to the narrative. At various points 3D glasses have enjoyed moments of resurgence in recent memory, but perhaps it will take a personal application for multi-dimensional storytelling to become embraced by the mainstream. Holho is a Kickstarter Project that turns any tablet or smartphone into a hologram projector. A dedicated structure can be placed over or under a tablet to create holographic images of what is being shown on screen. The device comes in various shapes and sizes, with one version being able to support the projection of moving holograms as well. Even more impactful could be the diffusion of tablets, which not only bring more digital story reader but these devices are allowing any tablet owner to become a digital storyteller in their own right. According to IDC, more than 260 million tablets and 2 in 1 devices will be sold worldwide in 2014, which could unlock the creativity of more storytellers around the world. Homemade digital stories can now be share on big screen TVs using tablets with built-in Intel WiDi technology, which works with other Miracast devices. It’s one way to bring your story to life in front of a live audience. The Storehouse app for iPad offers an intuitive, gesture-based interface for combining words, pictures, and videos into a scrollable story. Created by former Apple designer Mark Kawano, the app can pull from the various media sources on a device, including a smartphone camera roll, Dropbox, Flickr, and Instagram. From there, users can drag and resize images along with add text, to further curate the piece. The app intentionally doesn’t offer a full suite of formatting options so users trust the interface to deliver a more polished and sophisticated output. Once completed, the app provides users a link that can be shared via amongst their social networks, while simultaneously publishing the work to the Storehouse platform where the other community members can enjoy. The ways in which we experience stories are rapidly progressing alongside and with the help of the fast changing digital technology revolution. While audiences find new and novel ways to interact with their entertainment through tablet devices, that same technology is empowering everyday consumers to build compelling narratives about their own lives, past, present and future. These devices are expanding the art of storytelling into more imaginative formats, and story crafters of every caliber can use tablets to weave in elements of discovery, interaction and sensory experiences as never before.