Friday, 5 April 2013

Zeega - a future beyond blogs?

I'm not sure exactly where I came across Zeega, probably somewhere in an idle surfing moment. But it looks to me to have the potential to be the Next Big Thing. I gather that it's still in the process of development - but then, what isn't?
They say:
" Zeega is revolutionizing web publishing and interactive storytelling for a future beyond blogs. With Zeega, you can use any media in the cloud, transform the entire screen into your playground, and share your interactive creations with the world."
Currently it uses media that is already hosted online - YouTube, Flickr, Soundcloud and a handful of others. It seems at one point to have been able to use Dropbox as a source, but Dropbox have changed their protocols. It does not currently host assets natively. This is both a strength and a weakness. Zeega provide you with a bookmarklet - a little "grabber" that sits in your bookmarks bar. When you locate some media you wish to use you hit the bookmarklet and a dialogue pops up asking if you wish to add the media to Zeega. Returning to the Zeega edit page a thumbnail for the selected media appears in your project library. Media for your project are added by dragging them to a timeline. It's possible to add timings and fades etc. to the media you have added and to run sound and image files the same time. Text can be added to images or on standalone pages.
Two important things make it different from other online media editors. Media can be organised into "sequences" or chapters. Hyperlinked arrows/hotspots allow the user to navigate those sequences in any order, so adding interactivity and choice to the running order.

Geeky enough to like trying out new stuff, I've also got a mini-mission to find a simple way of creating an interactive map. I started using Scratch to do it but I reckon it would be more intuitive to use Zeega.
Working with the Birdswing folks at a workshop at The Cut in Halesworth, I built them a Google Site - originally to host resources and demonstration materials but I was also keen to collect material from the attendees. To this end I included a twitter hashtag feed display (which no-one used) and embedded a Padlet wall. Everyone was too busy on the day but friedagaric added videos and images when they got home and a friend sent me some links to SoundCloud recordings she made on her phone. With the bits and pieces I had collected and some (Creative Commons) assets grabbed from the net. I built a narrative about the workshop. It was slower work than I had anticipated but it was the first time I'd used it and many of the assets needed uploading to YouTube and Flickr. I reckon that once you have the workflow in your brain, asset collection would be made in full awareness of the procedure and then it should be possible to put one together fairly speedily.
I'm posting a work in progress to give some idea of the product.