Ability to link to a specific section in an ArcGIS StoryMap

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12-21-2020 11:00 AM
PeterKnoop
Occasional Contributor III

I would like the different sections of a StoryMap to have URLs that could be shared, and would take a reader directly to a specific part of the StoryMap. 

Most often the granularity of links would match well with the granularity of navigation. If a heading block is being used for navigation, then it would also have a URL that would take a user directly to that point in the story.

Or, to avoid the dependency on Navigation. It would be great if any heading block could be used as a bookmark anchor in the story, and a URL generated that would take a user directly to that section.

The URL does not have to be human readable, as the StoryMap author may have two headings with the same text. The URL would need something to make it unique in that case.

Also, the author might edit the text for a heading, or edit the name it is presented with in the Navigation menu. Such changes, however, should have no impact on the URL that points to a specific heading block. 

In other words, the URLs should be some form of a permalink, which would not break, if the author edits the text of the heading, or drags-and-drops the heading elsewhere in the story.

Users would need some way of getting the URL to a specific section, whether the story is being authored or viewed.

For instance, there could be an on-hover permalink icon next to the heading text. The user would use that to copy the URL that is for that specific section of the story. It would also be present, in both the Editing and Published view of a story, so that authors and readers could all leverage the capability.

As an example of the on-hover permalink approach elsewhere in the Esri ArcGIS platform, check out the ArcGIS API for Python documentation. Mouse over any of the function headings and a link icon will appear with the permalink to that section of the page, for example:

Example function section heading in API documentation.Example function section heading in API documentation.

Example of on-hover permalink appearing on mouse-over.Example of on-hover permalink appearing on mouse-over.

You can right-click on the permalink icon to copy the URL.

9 Comments
OwenGeo
Status changed to: In Product Plan
 
PeterKnoop

The ability to obtain URLs that takes a reader to a specific heading or subheading, was added in recent StoryMap releases; 30 June 2021 (headings) and 28 July 2021 (subheadings).

PeterKnoop

@OwenGeo great to see this functionality has been added to StoryMaps!

Some initial user feedback highlights a desire to have the links available to copy in the Edit view of the Story. An author may be editing their story and wants to add a link in the text in the middle of one section to another section of the StoryMap; or, an author might be adding links in their text throughout the story where they cite references, and they want all those occurrences to be a URL linked to a Reference heading at the end of their story; or, maybe they are using sub-headings for the full reference for each individual citation, and want to link to those in their story.

In the current implementation getting the URL for a heading or subheading requires an author to leave the Edit view, go to the Published view, scroll to the heading/subheading, copy the URL, return to the Edit view, scroll back to where they needed to use the URL, and enter it there. That can be quite a time-consuming process. It would be a lot easier if the URLs for headings/subheadings were directly accessible in the Edit view.

OwenGeo

@PeterKnoop -- Yep! Totally agree. We didn't have resources this year to design a full UX for an easier-to-use version of this feature. But this was something a lot of people requested (14 kudos here and many other votes via other channels), so we didn't want to wait for that. So we implemented the plumbing to support deep linking to enable this manual workaround for now, but stay tuned for improvements in 2022!

Sorry for not updating this idea after we added this.

JoelMathwig1

I can't get any of this behavior to work. It is just opening blank tabs or says "can't find section", etc.

OwenGeo

@JoelMathwig1 -- There is currently a known issue with this feature that causes section links to be removed under certain circumstances. We have a fix that we plan to deploy on Dec 1 to address it.

However, in the meantime, if you set the links and then do not publish changes to your story they should work as expected. If that's not the case, can you please start a new thread on the ArcGIS StoryMaps Questions board and share the exact steps you are following when you observe the issue so we can help troubleshoot?

MattiasEkström

Now it is possible to link to a specific part in a story, and it's also possible to link to a specific story in a collection. But I haven't been able to link to a specific part in a story within a collection.
That would be great if that was possible.

And one more thing, when linking to a specific part in a story from another part in the same story, you would want to open it in the same tab. What I can tell all links from a story is opened in a new tab, it would be good if you could choose if you want links to open in a new tab or the same tab.

OwenGeo

Hi @MattiasEkström! -- Please see this idea for linking to another story in the same collection for more info on that.

If you are following the steps outlined in this article, links to the same story should open in the same tab. Please try this again and let me know if you are still having an issue.

MattiasEkström

Thanks @OwenGeo !

I've seen (and kudoed) that idea.
I thought I had tried the steps in that article, but when trying again it works. Even when viewing the story within a collection, so that's great!
Now it's just the between stories in a collection part left, I understand the technical challenges but really hope you guys can figure it out soon, becuase that would make the collections much better!