How it works: Storytelling via infographic poster with layered augmented reality


Here is the prototype that Western iMedia created to test the
technique of telling a story through an infographic poster that
captures attention and then lures news users deeper into the story
with augmented reality content. This demo reports the Starry Nights
bands concert recently held outside Bowling Green, KY in the USA. The
goal was to test ways to more thoroughly engage an audience in a
story, better than just posting it to a website or social network.

You can try it out yourself by popping this poster up on your screen
or, better, printing it out. Use the QR code at the bottom to install
the Layar app on your iOS or Android device. Then hold your device up
to view the additional video and interactive content associated with
the poster.

This technique has many interesting aspects.

First, it leverages the impact of print and the aesthetic lure of
infographics. The power of the static image to convey a moment, the
power of color and shape and design to enhance message, and the power
of in-your-face words — none of which is to be underestimated.

A batch of these posters were printed and distributed all over, as
well as being posted online of course. The posters became objects of
desire in their own right, wall art in many dorm rooms. And the fact
that a large group of people were sharing a physical experience in
consuming a piece of news revived one of the better aspects of
otherwise unsatisfactory newspapers for this target audience. Not to
mention the portability of the story through this means of
introduction. It can be places and gain attention that a website or
folded-up newspaper never would.

The posters themselves tell the story of the Starry Nights concert to
a certain level, though their graphics and graphs. If a news user goes
no deeper into the story, the basics are being communicated.
Journalism is being accomplished.

But of course the poster is designed to try to bring people deeper
into the story through the mobile app that overlays video and other
interactive elements digitally on top of the static image.

Simply explained, it works similarly to facial or image recognition
technology. The app sends a picture of the poster to the Layar
database. There, the system finds the matching image and sends back
the various content we’ve overlaid on it. The user’s own device
becomes the conduit for consuming and interacting with the digital

Still images become videos that tell the story behind the captured
moment. Pictures of people start talking to explain themselves. Bar
charts grow to show updated figures since the poster was produced.
Twitter and Facebook buttons become clickable. Many other interactive
options are possible including accepting user generated content, polls
and feedback.

So now this technique is also leveraging the value of video for
time-shifting the news user into the story and connecting the user to
the emotion of the story on a very personal level. It provides a means
to add depth and breadth of content to an otherwise static
environment. It uses the power of mobile to be accessible anywhere and
anytime. It incorporates the connectedness of social media. And it
makes print interactive and updatable.

Western iMedia is in the process of adapting the technique to a much
more expansive story, working directly with Layar, the augmented-reality
technology provider, and ColumnFiveMedia, a leading
infographic design firm. Get more information and support the project
in at <a href="</p>