Conveying a convincing message is an indispensable aspect of policy making. Online storytelling allows for explaining complex analyses through a step-by-step thought-process of data-based policy decisions. In Polivisu we provide tools and examples.
The average attention span is going down. In order not to drown in information overload information needs to be bite-sized, focused and insightful.
Storytelling in Polivisu
As storytelling is a powerful tool to convey policy decisions, we want to explore adding storytelling as an additional part of the policy design process. The storytelling goals within Polivisu are two-fold: firstly we aim to provide the right tools to easily create stories that can assist policy makers to create beautiful and convincing map-based stories without a lot of effort. Secondly, we aim to apply the storytelling techniques to the existing initiatives within Polivisu.
Providing the right tools
In order to provide the right tools for story-designers, different options were explored. Functionally, we defined that a storytelling tool ideally has at least the following requirements
- open source
- ability to display a map
- user management so a user can create/modify/delete his story
- creating a story through a basic ‘what you see is what you get’ editor
- possibility to add images
- ability to define how the story is split in story steps/pages
- ability to share a story through a unique URL
Rather than building a new map-based storytelling tool from scratch, we explored different options, either by adopting existing storytelling tools, or even adapting open source storytelling tools if additional features would be required. Based on the comparative exercise, we were able to recommend Pageflow, an open source storytelling platform built by Codevise. While not being a native map-based storytelling tool, it is able to convey messages convincingly.
Examples of storytelling in Polivisu
The Flanders Accident Map is the first analysis that has been translated in a story through Pageflow. You can see this story here: https://polivisu.pageflow.io/flanders-accident-map
The next steps are to include other analyses and policy processes in the storytelling portfolio, both as a valuable step in the policy process as to provide an example for other stories-to-be.