April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Considerations and Strategies for Creating Interactive Narratives

Josh Goldblum, bluecadet interactive, and Adele O'Dowd and Traci Sym, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, USA


The Web offers many opportunities for telling complex narratives in a novel, engaging and interactive format. Traditionally, some of the most captivating and educational Web sites were created by museums to accompany brick and mortar exhibitions. Often the content that was laboriously collected for these exhibitions would be repurposed for the Web. In this session, we present three projects created specifically for a Web delivery: Ripples of Genocide, Life After the Holocaust, and Yearbook 2006. Two of these projects, Ripples of Genocide and Life After the Holocaust, created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in conjunction with bluecadet interactive, were nominees for best Narrative Web site at this year's Flashforward conference. Yearbook 2006 is a not-for-profit interactive documentary on a senior class displaced by Hurricane Katrina; it was hailed by CNN's Technology correspondent Regina Lewis as "one of the best of the best." These sites employ cutting edge approaches to non-linear storytelling, borrowing techniques and best practices from print and exhibition design as well as video and audio production. This paper will present both the technical and narrative challenges in telling a complex story on the Web and how these challenges can be met. We will discuss the history of the interactive narrative as well as a vision for the future of the medium.

Keywords: interactive narrative, narrative challenges, complex story


Museums have long been on the forefront of creating interactive narratives for the Web. Arguably all museums have a mandate bring their collections and history to life and to educate the public. In its brief history the Web has evolved into a much broader and more complex medium. Advances in technology in both design and delivery are allowing museums to tell more complex and sophisticated stories. These advances bring more talent in to the fold and more tools to use. It is now possible to tell stories that are incredibly rich, immersive and increasingly interactive. Advertising agencies and multinational corporations have raced into the narrative space and dumped huge sums of money into creating high-end sites that showcase the richness and possibility of the medium. On the other side of the spectrum, there have been movements towards syndication and the separation of content from design, allowing faster distribution of content. This evolution and these advances can be both inspiring and intimidating. So how does a museum, with its staff, navigate this new territory? What are the best tools to use, and what is their learning curve? Should museums continue to invest in creating interactive narratives; and if so how, when and why?

The Interactive Narrative: What the Heck is it?

Before we can go into a full exploration of the interactive narrative, it may be best to first define what is meant when we use the term. The case could be made that everything is interactive to some degree and can be told in the form of a narrative. And to go further, we could even say that the mother of interactive narrative as a genre is the humble hyperlink. A hyperlink is the function that initially differentiated the Web from its brother the printed word; with a piece of underlined text, a user could jump from one section of a story to another. This was a revolution in the early 90s. Although Web sites employ much more elaborate navigation techniques now, the basic concept of an interactive narrative is the same. Interactive narratives by definition provide the opportunity for a circuitous path through content.

For purposes of this paper, we will look at a subsection from the great spectrum of sites on the Web that employ narrative techniques to convey their message. In doing so, we acknowledge that the borders may be hazy. To borrow Justice Potter Stewart’s famously vague litmus test for obscenity: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . . " (Justice Potter Stewart on obscenity, 1964).

So acknowledging this, we will define the interactive narrative as an on-line narrative site in which mood, multiple media, and interaction work to create an immersive experience.

The Current State of Museums on the Web and How Interactive Narratives Fit In

It is an exciting time to be making on-line narratives, sometimes referred to as ‘on-line Exhibitions’. From our vantage point as both Web and museum professionals, we can see two trends developing for delivering informational or educational content. The first trend is towards greater syndication and the separation of content from design ;and the other, towards deeper, more engaging cinematic experiences.

Currently the prevailing trend in Web development is towards the syndication of content. The prevalence of blogs, podcasts, vodcasts, YouTube, Flickr, Drupal, SlideShowPro, SoundSlides, RSS and other database-driven sites marks the age of the separation of content from design. This has been an incredible development in that it has given the power to the people. Time Magazine’s person of the year 2006 was “You.” This refers largely to independent producers of Web content who have capitalized on the preponderance of easy-to-use tools to deliver their message. On the Web development front, standards compliant browsers and CSS have allowed for a greater degree of design freedom while keeping the content free from unnecessary markup and code. The result has been that more people can create content for the Web, and a huge amount of content has been produced. For Museums this is both good and bad. Web users have become accustomed to the regularity of content change. They have often come to expect that after an increasingly short amount of time, when they return to a site (whether it be their favorite blogger or their favorite Museum site) the content will have changed. The positive is that there are tools to make these changes easier. The negative is that museums, which often contend with limited resources, both budgetary and staff, scramble to keep up. The result is often database-driven, template-driven sites. These can be beautiful and very effective, but offer a very specific type of user experience – a more direct, less ‘immersive experience’. This model is perfectly fine for delivering much of the content a museum has to deliver and ensures many happy ‘customers’.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have seen the boundaries of the interactive narrative pushed forward by big corporations and their equally enormous budgetary resources. These companies are utilizing some of the brightest minds in the industry today to create powerful, robust, experiential sites, and all this to sell shoes.

In the museum, where budgetary and staff constraints reign, the aforementioned content delivery tools allow us easily to push out the content that our visitors and our mandates depend on.When it comes to more immersive sites, where we might lack experience with Web tools and resources, the Museum does have some advantages: we are accustomed to telling rich stories with multiple media, and have been doing so since well before the advent of the Web . The Web, however, offers us an open platform with which to share these stories. Edwin Schlossberg had it right: “True interactivity is not about clicking on icons or downloading files, it's about encouraging communication” (Edwin Schlossberg).

So while the Museum may not have the enormous budgets of some corporate entities, it is our stories that offer the deepest advantage to user experience. Our collections, whether they be physical artifacts, audio, or video content, give us a wealth of assets for telling our stories. The Web, and the interactive narrative in particular, offer up visceral opportunities to share our stories with visitors from all over the world. This is the place for immersive educational content, and in some ways the Museum has always been on the forefront of shaping the content on the Web. It is our contention that we, as Museum Educators, SHOULD continue to make interactive narratives because the Web is an effective medium for telling our stories with great impact. It has the ability to reach many more visitors than any brick and mortar museum exhibit ever could.

Know Your Tools

There has been considerable debate over which technology is the best vehicle to deliver content. Within the museum and Web industries, some people favor Flash, some favor HTML, some speak about usability, others focus on interface and design. That said, it is the content and the intent of the narrative that guides us towards deciding which tools are best for a given project.

This debate on how to deliver content often puts HTML and Flash at odds. These two delivery mediums have their advantages and disadvantages, and with both evolving so rapidly, they each have reputations they probably don’t deserve. Flash in particular has a bad reputation in certain circles and has had a hard time shaking its image as a platform for overzealous designers to create unnecessary text effects and obtuse interfaces. These interfaces seemed to ignore the user experience and often sent users scrambling for the Skip Intro button. In hindsight we can all agree that certain early experiments in Flash were regrettable. We might also remember that at the same time, HTML didn’t offer the designer many options, and the code was incredibly difficult to maintain. Both HTML and Flash have improved significantly. Still, while HTML has managed to more successfully dodge her sordid past, Flash too has grown into a more sophisticated lady - but people are still afraid of her.

Reasons to Use HTML

When HTML first arrived on the scene it was completely text based, and over many years gradually integrated more sophisticated content and design. HTML grew up in the browser and speaks directly to the browser. Functions of the browser such as bookmarking, URL strings and History were all created with HTML in mind. Today, many of the advantages that HTML boasts over Flash have to do with its ability to handle text and speak to the browser. Some of these advantages include integration with screen readers and other types of accessibility tools compliant with 501c3, more control over printing, user integration of site analysis, innate use of browser history and bookmarks, ease of search engine optimization and dynamic text sizing. All of this illuminates why HTML is often the right choice for content delivery. AJAX has offered designers some more control over interface and animation, but is still limited.

Reasons to Use Flash

While HTML grew out of a text delivery medium in the browser, Flash got its start as ‘FutureSplash,’ a timeline-based animation tool. It has since evolved into what can essentially be seen as two powerful applications: the first, a timeline-based animation tool; the second, a rich Internet application development platform with a robust and sometimes daunting programming language, ActionScript. The principal advantage of Flash has been its ability to integrate other media such as video, audio and images, and to give the Web designer much greater freedom with creating customized interfaces. However, many of the advantages outlined above for HTML are nearly impossible to accomplish within the Flash environment without a good amount of ActionScript. Bearing in mind these limitations, Flash allows designers to create experiential and sensory-driven Web sites that are not possible with HTML. In this way, Flash lends itself perfectly to the creation of interactive narratives.

Flash can inspire great fear or great arrogance in those sitting in the foothills of Flash development. There are people who will look at a project created by 10 designers, 5 developers and 2 Motion Graphics artists, and say to themselves, “Hell, I can do that.” There are others who, upon hearing rumor that Flash involves programming, will sit paralyzed with apprehension with an unopened copy of Flash on their desk. So who can create Flash sites? Many museums will base the answer to this question on its given resources. Some projects lend themselves easily to in-house development and creation, while some would be better served by an outside contract. Each project will usually differ in scope and funding and timeline, and there is a vast range of possibilities within the medium of the interactive narrative. For each of the projects outlined below, Flash made the most sense due to the proposed interface design and media interaction.

We suggest the contradiction is a false one: really, you need some measure of both to create a good interactive narrative Web site.

How About the How

In our experience with creating interactive narratives, we have found it helpful to organize our goals for each project. While the basic outline of these goals has been something we have followed intuitively, MIT media labs worked to better define these into easy-to-follow states. These guidelines are invaluable and help to shape the story and presentation of the content into something truly useful and engaging.

The Five Fundamental Principles of Interactive Narrative

  1. Narrative Intention: The point of the narrative, or in the case of an interactive narrative, the viewer experience. The narrative intention should answer the viewer's question, "Why am I viewing this story?" and the author's question, "Why am I telling it?"
  2. Narrative Immersion: The quality of the viewer's reception of the narrative. How do we manage interaction with the viewer without distracting them from or otherwise disrupting the narrative.
  3. Narrative Structure: The form, shape and rhythm of the narrative. As such, narrative structure is inherently a function of the temporal nature of the narrating; it relates to the time of the telling.
  4. Narrative Response: Encompasses the fundamental question for any interactive narrative, "How does the narrative respond to the viewer?" or conversely, "How does the viewer influence the narrative?"
  5. Narrative Guidance: the culmination of each of the preceding properties; it concerns the fundamental challenge of providing narrative structure and responsiveness while preserving narrative intention and immersion.

(Murtaugh, Michael, MIT Media Labs, accessed 12/2007, InteractiveNarrative/ InteractiveNarrative.html)

Following these principles helps to more easily define your project goals and best choice of method to speak to and listen to your specific audience.

Case Studies

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a federal institution created to advance and disseminate knowledge about the tragedy of the Holocaust, to educate the public and encourage discourse and reflection on a citizen’s responsibilities in a democracy, and to preserve and honor the memory of those who suffered and who died.

Our Museum is a very emotional space. The history that the Museum represents is one of tragedy, loss and despair, but also hope. Coming into the physical exhibits is an extremely visceral experience. And while the Web cannot bring the physical building to visitors accessing our site from their homes, we can try to create an intimate and experiential environment for sharing the stories of the Holocaust. We want visitors to feel the stories they watch, or read, or hear. We want to try to engage them, to offer a sensory experience that is more than just an informational resource. One of our ways to accomplish this is to use “voices” as our guides into the story. We have found that by focusing on the first person experience, we are able to better present these stories. There are definitely times that call for an omniscient narrator, but success in translating these highly emotional and raw experiences comes from the first person voice, giving commonality into the lives of our users.

Life After the Holocaust

Even before construction began on the Museum, the USHMM was collecting personal interviews with survivors of the Holocaust. These testimonies are an essential part of the Museum’s collection and an incomparable resource for illuminating the tragedy of the war. About 10 years ago, the Museum reached beyond the war years and began recording oral history interviews with Holocaust Survivors, focusing on their experiences and lives after the war. This collection has grown and now includes hundreds of interviews. In 1995, the interviews which would form with basis of Life After Holocaust were collected. Six of these interviews were produced into 30-minute radio segments. When our department became aware of these long-form interviews, we jumped at the chance to share these stories with a larger audience. In 2004, a producer and photographer were sent out to meet with the survivors, collect historical photographs and take portraits.

Since we were determined to use a unique interface with streaming audio, we decided that Flash would best serve the content and presentation of these stories. In the early phase of this project, bluecadet interactive was brought in to help develop the interface and structure of the piece. From the beginning it was determined that the audio files would serve as the centerpiece for the site. As we reviewed the audio, it became evident that these stories not only were fascinating and extremely raw in their telling, but also shared many common themes.

Each of the Survivors profiled in this piece came to the United States shortly after the end of the war. They had all endured great loss in their homelands and were now thrust into a new culture and essentially new lives. We decided to use these common themes as the structure for our story. Eventually we are arrived at five major themes: Arriving in New York, Starting Over, Living with the Past, Telling their Children, and Faith, Guilt & Responsibility.

We organized the content into three levels; each level was intended to appeal to a vast variety of user types and help guide users deeper into the content. The first level allows users to see the content organized by theme. We introduce the leaves and branches to symbolize the paths that our subjects’ lives have taken. We also use the leaves on this level as buttons which on roll-over play short segments of audio drawn from the long audio pieces. The cacophony of voices that users can create by rolling over multiple leaves exemplifies the vast collection of personal experiences that the Holocaust shaped.

The second level allows the users to delve deeper into the themes. Each theme level includes 30-60 second audio segments related to the themes. As the audio plays, captions animate on tiny pieces of paper, adding visual appeal to what could have been traditional caption text. Each audio clip is synchronized with a photo-based animation which includes historical photographs provided by the survivor. We felt that by exploring these themes, we could illustrate the survivors’ shared trauma and show how each survivor was affected differently by the past. In some cases the survivors had similar perspectives on a theme; in other cases their perceptions were radically different. Once users were pulled into the excerpted content, we hoped it would further draw them into the third level where we presented the full 30-minute audio interviews.

The third level, which included the 30-minute interview, was also outfitted with an album containing photographs given to us by each of the survivors profiled. We wanted to allow the users to engage further with these stories and give them something visceral to explore in order to bring them closer to the subject. These images also give users something to do and click on while they listen to the audio. These interviews were also made available in a downloadable mp3 format. The mp3s serve as take-aways from the site and make it easier for users to experience the content on portable audio devices.

Since the entire After the Holocaust site is based on these large audio segments and a collection of historical images and portraits, it was important to us to expand the boundaries of interaction and provide an interface that would make these assets more accessible for our users. To create this experiential narrative the audio assets were edited and repurposed into smaller audio segments for use on other levels. The photography was similarly cut up, manipulated and repurposed to give the piece a unique look and feel.

Ripples of Genocide: Journey Through Eastern Congo (

This project came about due to unique circumstances. Although it hasn't been well known, the USHMM has, as part of its mandate, an interest in educating people about contemporary Genocide. So after UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and well-known actress Angelina Jolie traveled to Eastern Congo to meet refugees from the Rwandan Genocide, along with expert on the African crisis and former Clinton Administration Policy Analyst John Prendergast, she decided to donate some personal journal excerpts about the trip to the Museum so that we could use them to illustrate the frightening situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Subsequently, photographer Edward Parsons, also along on the journey, donated some 25 photographs of Ms. Jolie, Mr. Prendergast and the people they met along the way. When the Museum decided to create a Web site about the journey and the people who were suffering in the DRC, we felt we had a few great materials to work with but would need more "stuff" to connect the dots and bring the story of the victims to life. And that was our specific narrative intention, to bring attention to and illuminate the current dire situation of people living in DRC for people living in USA. It was important to sort out our exact intention from the beginning of the project in order to direct our actions from there on.

Although normally (as previously mentioned) we feel the best point of view from which to tell this kind of story is the point of view of the victim, in this case we understood that we could use an often less available vantage point - that of witnesses. Early on we realized that the excerpts Ms. Jolie provided were wonderfully descriptive, but it would be necessary to augment her perceptions with an expert analysis as well. And further, we decided to tell one story from the parallel points of view, kind of like on a movie DVD, when you can turn on and off the commentary audio track. So we asked Ms. Jolie, and she was kind enough to record her journal excerpts as audio. Mr. Prendergast recorded audio for us to relate facts and context as companion pieces to Ms. Jolie's observations. At this point we had also decided we should deliver the audio along with visuals using flash so the story could ‘flow’, and visitors to the site could sit back and listen to the voices.

More than this, we also felt we needed a story-telling device in addition to more materials, to cultivate the possibility for narrative immersion by visitors to the site. At this point, we had only excerpts and now audio and a few photos which did not really illustrate the topics Ms. Jolie was addressing. The photos we had did document, to some degree, the people she had met, but not much more than that - not the countryside she was describing nor the mood of her writings. So we found another photographer, Laura Englebrecht, who had also been to the Congo recently, albeit on a separate trip, but who was also willing to donate the use of her photos. With the two photo contributions, we could now give a much more complete visual component to what was being described.

Still unsure of how to convey the seriousness and emotion of the situation, we felt it would be appropriate to deliver the content in the form it came to us, as a journal. We found inspiration in the journals of Dan Eldon (, which are some of the most elaborate, moving and personal expressions in publication today. By incorporating collaged visual elements into the design of a mock travel journal, we had now finally arrived at a structure for the narrative that added even more context to either point of view - Ms. Jolie's or Mr. Prendergast's.

The structure of this story has a traditional beginning, middle, and end, even though the presentation is quite unconventional for on-line exhibitions. And even though the story of their journey is not the important information we want to convey, we use the structure of a travel journal as a vehicle to convey our real message: if you, average American, were able to go to the DRC, this is the terrible truth you would see. These people are the victims of Genocide.

We wanted the effect of the collaged animated elements - both visual and auditory (we also included some fantastic music generously donated by the group Califone) - to stimulate visitors' multiple senses at once, much the way multiple senses function on a real journey. But in addition, we built in a few opportunities (not many) for visitors to dig a bit deeper into some elements of the story. Visitors can get more information about images by clicking. This is both standard and expected. We also provide a few thoughtful ‘questions’ that visitors can choose to read or not. But the seminal narrative interaction that is possible is for visitors to toggle back and forth to compare Ms. Jolie's viewpoint with Mr. Prendergast's. We decided that would be enough: the Web site did not need more ways to interact. Interacting with the info in this site did not require clicking, given the animated presentation.

Since the content and interface of the site needed to be organic and cinematic, Flash was the only viable development tool for this project. One major technical hurdle was that the audio tracks would change frequently during the development of the project. Moreover, the audio files also need to be synched with a transcript which also would change as editorial and narrative choices were made. Responding to these technical and production needs, bluecadet developed a customized caption tool. Developed in Flash, it would import an external XML that contained the caption information. It would then allow users with no prior Flash knowledge to select breakpoints in the audio. The process is as follows:

This made updating audios and transcripts much faster and less prone to error. It also allowed timeline animations to be synched to specific portions of the transcript and to be moved with ease. This tool was built with modularity in mind and would actually be repurposed in the ‘Life After Holocaust’ project.

We tried again to have the voices of this project come to life, to have the omniscient voice sink into the background and bring the witness’ voices forward. The pages load in a random sequence, creating a collage of memory as the witness’s voice details a story.

Yearbook 2006

Often the process of developing an interactive narrative will begin when a Museum department, wishing to highlight some portion of its collection or assets, initiates a project. This was not the case with the Yearbook 2006 project. Instead, it started as an idea, and the collection of assets to elucidate this idea came later. In this way the Yearbook project can serve as a good example of how a site can be developed from scratch, from idea to deliverable.

The mission of the Yearbook project was to document and preserve the legacy of the graduating class of the Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Using the interactive narrative as the medium, the Yearbook project sought to give a cohesive and layered forum to the fractured voices of those seniors who were displaced and those who remained in New Orleans, aiming to, above all, educate the public and to nurture and heal the vibrant social fabric that Katrina threatened to destroy.

As stated above, the idea for this site predated the collection of any assets. Senior staff at bluecadet, in conversation with documentary photographers Joshua Cogan and David Lee, decided to create an interactive narrative to explore the issue of displacement and return in post-Katrina New Orleans. Cogan and Lee had remarked that while there were many photo essays surrounding the devastation in New Orleans, there were few projects that acknowledged the diversity of New Orleans or followed a diverse community. The idea then evolved to follow a high school, and later to follow high school seniors. Senior year at any high school across this country is a major transitional period: a period in which students reaffirm their community ties while, at the same time, they prepare to separate from that community. Hurricane Katrina prematurely forced this transition on thousands of seniors throughout New Orleans. The metaphor of the yearbook seemed a natural extension of the concept. This site would serve as yearbook for these students to document their experiences surrounding the Hurricane. While Ben Franklin, through tenacity and force of will, would develop its own traditional yearbook, this on-line yearbook would tell a different story. We planned to launch the site on August 30, on the one-year anniversary of the Hurricane. We felt that this was a strong concept and we moved forward.

Many of the decisions on how we would deliver the narrative came as we began developing content. We knew from the start that we would have many high quality photographs to work with. After all, we had partnered with two professional photographers. However, we felt we would need to deliver these photographs in some novel way to differentiate our story from the preponderance of audio slideshows developed by such news organizations as and It also became clear that in order to tell the story, we would need to have a range of photographs, from shots from within the school to pictures of home and major events. Also, as New Orleans was in rapid change, we needed to embed ourselves in the city and follow the students with some regularity from Ben Franklin’s opening day on January 17 until graduation in May. This seemed to be the only way to get the assets we needed to tell the story. Fortunately, we were able to develop a schedule where Cogan and Lee would alternate times in New Orleans, and therefore we were able to get a broad range of materials. Since we were partnered with the photographers, and they retained rights to their photographs, we were able to negotiate a discounted rate to keep this aspect of asset collection from overwhelming our budget.

We also knew that we wanted to have the students speak for themselves; we wanted to hear their voices. Initially we felt that audio would be sufficient. We favored audio because we felt that the photographs could serve as the visual component and the students could speak to the photographs. However, we soon discovered two things. One, in order to have the students speak to the photographs, we needed to have the photographs in hand for the interview. Since we were constantly taking pictures and the timeline was restricted, this would require numerous interviews for each student. Two, many students chose to speak about things that occurred during their dislocation or events in their pasts. While we tried to secure as many assets as we could to illustrate these, it became clear that audio would not be enough. This was reinforced when after several amazingly compelling audio interviews where students revealed so much character and emotion in their faces, we felt that we needed to switch to video. In order to ensure that the video was clean and professional, we employed a professional videographer to come to the school on two occasions and set up lighting and audio. We interviewed all of the students during this time, one after the other in rapid succession. It was exhausting but cost effective. We also went out on our own and shot B-Roll footage over five months to use in the video production.

After several months gathering assets, we started into production in May. We knew that given the assets we would use Flash as the development tool. We wanted to have a unique and fluid interface. We wanted the site to be immersive and to incorporate video, photography, dynamic maps, timelines and animation. We also knew that given the compressed production timeline, much of the content would be developed very close to the launch of the site. For this reason we needed the site to be very modular and to use graphic templates. We also knew that these templates should be more or less invisible to the users and that we needed to allow the layouts to be flexible and seem unique. Moreover, as part of our funding agreement with one of our fiscal sponsors, we were to deliver an early version of this site as a kiosk at the Spirit of Recovery Conference in New Orleans. The solution was to create a very ActionScript intense site that would be fed by XML. Keeping the data in XML would make it easy to add new content to the site as that content became available. If we received new video, we just needed to add a new video node in the XML and it would appear on the site. We could add in graphics dynamically and position them based on parameters established in the XML. By having a parameter for X position and Y position, we could place graphics wherever we wanted on the screen, making each page seem as if it had a unique design. XML can also reside locally on a machine, giving database-like functionality without having to be connected to the Web; this is a great asset for kiosks where Internet connection cannot always be assumed.

However successful we were at driving content to the site, choosing not to align our project with a museum or trusted cultural institution had some unexpected results. Even though the credits listed bluecadet as the creator of the project, since the project had not been directly attributed to a trusted media source and we had not applied the omniscient voice, we received several laudatory e-mails assuring us that we were indeed incredibly talented high school students. Even though our team consisted of several award-winning designers and developers, many with advanced degrees, the lack of organizational accreditation and voice made this a common misconception. In subsequent usability studies it became very clear that this was a common issue. Without the authoritative or institutional voice clearly defined, users often chose to believe that the subjects themselves were the authors of the work.


With the increasingly rapid development of Web technologies it is daunting to predict the future of the Web. It does seem that the trend towards syndication, the separation of content from design, will continue, and that interfaces will become increasingly more sophisticated and useable. Put simply, content producers and designers will always want to deliver the most useable and elegant interfaces that also allow for simple distribution of content, and the technologies that afford them this power will thrive. Recently, Microsoft has begun to roll out its next generation social networking platform, ‘Wallop.’ This platform offers an amazing integration of a fluid Flash interface with the content control of a blog. Whether this venture will be successful or not could very well be the subject of another paper; regardless, it supports the claim that control of both interface and content will be of paramount importance in the future. Also, it is our hope and contention that Museums will continue to create rich and engaging experiences on the Web . It is our mandate to educate, and we hope that we can embrace the tools and techniques afforded to us to tell the best stories possible.


Boog, Jason (2006). "An Interactive Post About Interactive Narratives." The Publishing Spot. 01 Feb. 2006. 01 Jan. 2007

Broden, Nancy, Marisa Gallagher, and Jonathan Woytek (2004). "Use of Narrative in Interactive Design." Boxes and Arrows. 28 Oct. 2004.

Burke, Yoshiko (2007). "From the Silver Screen to Cybercinema: Conceptions of Space in Interactive." AIGA. University of Cincinnati. 01 Jan. 2007.

Cederholm, Dan (2004). Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series). Friends of ED.

Crawford, Chris (2007). "The Nature of the Beast." Advanced Stories Group Blog. 6 Feb. 2006. 01 Jan. 2007

Curtis, Hilman (2005). Hillman Curtis on Creating Short Films for the Web. New Riders Press.

Curtis, Hilman (2002) MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer. New Riders Press.

Dawes, Brendan (2006). Analog In, Digital Out: Brendan Dawes on Interaction Design. New Riders Press.

Gilliam, Terry (2007). "Terry Gilliam on Interactive Narrative." Handcircus. 20 June 2006. 01 Jan. 2007

Maeda, John (2001) Maeda @ Media. Universe Publishing.

Marable, Bart (2007). "Bringing Stories to Life Online." Terra Incognita Productions. 01 Mar. 1999. 01 Jan. 2007.,bringing_stories_to_life_onlin

Marable, Bart (2007). "Thinking Outside the Screen." Terra Incognita Productions. 8 Nov. 2005. 01 Jan. 2007.,thinking_outside_the_screen

McAdams, Mindy (2007). "Flash Journalism: Professional Practice Today." USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review. 22 Sept. 2005. Annenberg Center for Communication, USC. 01 Jan. 2007.

McLuhan, Marshall (1994). Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. The MIT Press.

Meadows, Mark S. (2007). "Pause & Effect: the Art of Interactive Narrative." Peach Pit Press. 4 Oct. 2002. 01 Jan. 2007

Nachison, Andrew (2007). "Digital Think." The Media Center. The American Press Institute.

Tufte, Edward R. (2006). Beautiful Evidence. Graphics Press.

Tufte, Edward R. (2001). The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press.

Cite as:

Goldblum, J., et al., Considerations and Strategies for Creating Interactive Narratives, in J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds.). Museums and the Web 2007: Proceedings, Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, published March 1, 2007 Consulted

Editorial Note