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 that.
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.
The (incomplete) newsletter can be viewed here: https://richardnz.net/newsletter59/story.html
You can view the original PDF version here: https://pirongiaheritage.org.nz/newsletters/showpage.php?id=59