For the past month or so, I’ve been building prototypes of two potential final formats for the Bonhoeffer tour. I’ve made some pretty solid progress on storyboards using different apps that ARCGIS offers: the Map Journal and the Map Tour. As I worked with the two templates, I had some thoughts about each of them.
First, regarding the Map Journal:
This is the first app/template I tested out. It is much more user-friendly and cooperative than its counterpart, the Map Tour. I have much more freedom as far as appearance goes, and the app is intuitiveeasy to use. I’ve encountered practically zero “obstacles” as I’ve worked with it––that is, I’ve been able to do pretty much everything I’ve wanted to do. The one exception here (and unfortunately, it’s kind of a big deal) is that I haven’t found a way to switch the locations of the map and the photos. While the map is helpful and important in its own right, I think the photos are more important and more visually appealing. Thus, the photos would ideally appear on the large, right-hand section of the Map Journal as the viewer scrolled, while the map would be located above the scrolling text.
Second, regarding the Map Tour:
I wanted very badly for the Map Tour to be the perfect fit for this project. I love that it allows me to direct the viewer’s focus to the pictures on the right-hand majority of the screen––this is something I can’t do with the Map Journal.
Unfortunately, I’ve been very disappointed with a lot of other things about it, mainly because it’s incredibly annoying, fussy, and difficult to work with (“difficult” as in “uncooperative,” not “hard to comprehend”). First, I have very little control over the format of the tour. I’m not able to write in paragraphs; when I try, the program makes it look like the information will be formatted correctly, but as soon as I hit “save,” the line breaks and indents disappear, and I’m left with an ugly, overwhelming block of text. The app also forces me to use filler photos and break up sections of text that really belong together. It requires me to upload a photo for every new section of information, but I’m limited in the amount of text I can place in each section. Neither can the program save one of the titles I want to input: it says there has been an error saving the project every time I try to add the title.
Second, the map function is underwhelming and disappointing. It doesn’t allow for the input of specific addresses to tag a location; this means I’m performing guesswork as I try to tag the location of the events I’m describing. The map also doesn’t allow me to choose the “default view” at which it is set. The tour begins with the map zoomed all the way out, so the viewer is looking at the whole world, rather than at Berlin or even just Germany or Europe.
As is, I’m not happy with the Map Tour’s performance or outcome, and I would very much prefer to work with the Map Journal, even as it lacks the photo feature that the Map Tour has. That being said, each individual problem with the Map Tour is so petty that I think there must be a way to fix it. I’m going to try and troubleshoot as many of these problems as I can in an effort to make the Map Tour work for me, and I’ll post an update on that task in due time.