On a basic level this is a neat story map option, and it is slick. However, I have lots of concern with this replacing the classic apps given the limitations in customizing this layout. For those of us that really need a lot of options with customized branding, this layout is far too limiting.
I would love to see the following:
- Increase the amount of user customization for font type, size, justification, spacing, colors, etc. in every block option and not just in the major theme settings.
- Ability for users to change dimensions of embedded content, if they choose, instead of being locked only to the app presets (maybe a css override option).
- Allow for images to "gallery" next to each other like in the cascade layout instead of only allowing stacking.
- Allow for adding content to sidecar like images and videos via a url instead of only uploading from a computer.
- Add the ability to embed a webpage into the sidecar.
- Ability to add small text for credits or notes in the side car. Right now there is not a clean way to give photo, video, or map credit.
- Increase map setting options beyond only allowing or not allowing a legend. It would be nice to be able to choose legend placement, if you wanted a home button or other basic map options. It would also be nice to have a pop-up option that does not convert the pop-up to a table layout.
- Add the option to have cards that are right image/left text card instead of only a left image option.
- Add a credits section or WYSIWYG html block to customize your own.
Overall, I really enjoyed how some of the other story map templates allowed users to customize their own look and feel on screen without downloading code. I personally think the Story Journal did that the best with the WYSIWYG html editor, and others with CSS control. To me this platform is so limiting the stories are all going to look very similar, which to me can actually make it harder to tell many diversified stories.