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Can I just take a moment to praise the article's presentation?

This comes up every time a NYTimes interactive comes out but wow, the narrative flow on this one really is incredible. The animations smoothly transitioning to full text, the collage of socal media posts... It feels much more like watching a documentary than reading an article.

I hope this catches on, it's what I've been promised with this whole hypermedia shebang!




"Snow Fall" was, I think, the NYT's first serious effort at a multimedia article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Fall

Similar comment at the time:

> The NYT just kinda blew my mind. A newspaper article just blew my mind. This is, by far, the best multimedia storytelling I think I've ever seen. Kudos to the team involved in putting this together, you've shown me the future of media and the internet.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4951041

I don't really understand how the same paper does these incredible articles and then totally whiffs on other attempts such as:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/07/arts/dance-da...


This has nothing to do with the quality of that NYT avalanche reporting, or the technology -- but I was more than a little surprised how they dedicated that much staff time, resources, and production to that story.

After all, this was a story about how people engaging in a purely _voluntary_ (and mind you, luxury) sport were causing and encountering avalanches. Hardly the most exposé-of-power, human-nature-revealing, check-on-society pieces of journalism. Just stop hiking off trail to go snowboarding on unstable mountains! Sheesh.


Imagine piloting that format on a serious story, and the ensuing backlash if the format was ill-received.

Doing this work on a "low-stakes" story means that you have more room to experiment.


Well, that's a good point. And I'm sure the journalist writing the story had tons of material he/she was eager to see "in print". Let a writer fill up 10,000 words and he will.


We were hosting a family Christmas party and doing the associated prep work, and I remember really having to force myself to stop reading Snow Fall half way through! Such a great read to such a tragic incident.


NYT seems to be very much experimenting with a lot of different approaches.

Personally I like that we get to see it and they get to try it out in production.


They also deserve praise for achieving this without using scroll hijacking (at least not the egregious kind).


Yes, and for respecting the Page Down key (unless that's what you meant)


Well it's similar. I had a look and they basically tie the entire state of the page to the scroll position, but quite a lot of the page just scrolls normally.

So while they do use the position on the page they're not trying to override the default behaviour, they just add to it. The only real change to scrolling behaviour are the few elements that remain in screen for a short while, which is fairly nonintrusive, and doesn't really feel unfamiliar (although it might have if they didn't cleverly overlay a few boxes that scrolled normally).


Yeah, props to the NYT! They must be the only ones so far who managed to make scrolljacking useful to the reader and not annoying.


That's because they are not scrolljacking, just using waypoints or something similar.


I worked at a startup where the goal was to build a tool to create stories similar to NYT without needing a coder. We got quite far, and the articles done with it are already quite impressive. The task is really difficult though - performance is hard and responsiveness is super tricky. I’m proud that we didn’t end up with scrolljacking and it fells quite web native. https://info.graphics is the current soft launch and has some cool stories of anyone is interested.


Scrolljacking - first time I heard that word. Is this about those one-page-websites where you scroll two lines down and then without any control it goes down one page? The person who invented this should be banned from the internet for at least a year.


yes but maybe for ten years. The inventor didn't own a mac, probably had Windows XP with an old or bad touchpad and decided that his JS will help fix smooth scrolling that is missing on many browsers. Since then browsers have caught up, but idiotic wordpress templates are still including scrolljackers because, the WP template designers, are long out of the WP business and no new templates are available...


I know you don't work there anymore, but that really doesn't feel "web native".

Front page images load several seconds after they're scrolled into view. I looked at the moon story and it was frozen for about 10 seconds before a start button appeared. In the story I can scroll, but it's about 5fps, and the blue dots and the secondary map are glitching on/through the moon.

I am using a relatively new smartphone, a galaxy s8, something with more power than most average consumers have (most people have a cheap budget phone, not the latest iPhone).

The format definitely was interesting tho, I can see the potential of these types of tools.


Currently the stuff is hosted in AWS Frankfurt, maybe that? Normally it should load pretty fast, the lazy loading is just an optimisation for the users. Yes, I have to admit, that loads pretty slow and the performance is not good. The problem is - I can try to make the performance as good as possible, designers still tend to want super high res textures / high fidelity 3d objects as they tend to put visual quality over performance. They have beefy machines and so don't really notice.


What do you consider scrolljacking? I opened the breakfast article and saw some scrolljacking right away.

Is my understanding mistaken here?


That story feels like scrolljacking because there is a mismatch from the scrolling and the background animation, it's a pretty free tool, so the designer decided to have easings like that. But you're still scrolling normally, the background is just animating. Normally we have html text boxes, where you feel that you're scrolling normally. Not in this story though.


Absolutely, this article is stunning. And I'd never seen that picture at dusk of the fire with the Eiffel tower in the background. Amazing all around.


Makes you actually want to pay for a subscription.. who am I kidding, anyone have the copy paste for a text or a mirror url?


For real though, as someone who's finally starting a full-time job tomorrow for the first time in four years, the NYT is one of a handful of papers that I'll be subscribing to even though I know all the tricks to getting past the paywalls. I don't believe that I'd benefit from the disappearance of professional journalism, and I'd rather support them directly than indirectly via advertising middlemen.


It was NYT's work on Ergodan's bodyguards beating up protestors outside of the White House (with Trump's blessing, it seems) that made me subscribe. That kind of reporting is what we need from journalism.


Open it in incognito mode.


But seriously. Anyone?



For future confused readers, on mobile it's just an article + static images, but on desktop it's more interactive


the BBC sometimes have similarly well animated and formatted articles. Would be nice to have a list of some of these compiled.


It's also pretty cool that despite all that, the whole article is still readable on terminal web browsers like elinks and w3m. Even the captions in the animations is present.


Yeah this is gorgeous

I wonder how much it costs them compared to a regular article


I work on the dev team who do the equivalent for The Telegraph in the UK - each interactive longform will usually cost £3-£4k in dev time.


Did you develop in-house tooling to expedite the process or do you mostly begin from a blank slate each time?


We have in-house templates pre-built (in Vue.js) with an array of different components available for us to use, so this drastically reduces dev time.


At that price they must be using tooling.


Do you have any examples of articles like these from the Telegraph?



Seconded. I've complained before about websites that try to get too magazine with their articles and how it ruins the narrative. But this? This is done really, really well.


They did a great job. I was telling myself the same while scrolling through the article. This is really well done. Congrats NYT!


> Can I just take a moment to praise the article's presentation?

I would disagree. It feels irritating to me when some some parts of article content are scrolling and some parts are still (unless still parts are some irrelevant borders).

Also the CPU load is big, which causes my computer fan to run full speed during scrolling.


We buy CPUs which can perform so many quintillions of operations per second, I don’t get upset when a program tries to utilize all that computation power for a cutting edge user-serving purpose.

If nothing ever spins up your fan, you wasted a lot of money on a new computer.


You should try noscript




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