Every story has a beginning by Tim Sherratt
7 Oct 2011
It's a delight to discover new sites that use Isotope. I get a big kick out of seeing what content was used, and how the site takes advantage of Isotope's multiple features. But every so often, someone manipulates the plugin to their own devices, leaving behind established conventions, and makes something unique. Every story has a beginning by Tim Sherratt is one such site. It is the visual presentation delivered by Sherratt at the conference of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Indexers, on September 14, 2011.
Most Isotope implementations have a big set of items, and then from that set, you can filter and sort them. This presentation works the other way. Beginning from a blank canvas, items are iteratively added, to coincide with each talking point. Isotope then takes that new item and shuffles the others around it. In addition, the final talking points trigger filters that group similar items together. It feels like you're watching the ideas aggregate then coalesce at the conclusion.
I enjoyed the form of the presentation itself. The content is built up incrementally on the screen, with an engaging element of "dynamism" but kept simple enough to avoid the sort of vertiginous barrage that seems to characterise the few Prezi presentations I've witnessed. And perhaps most important of all, the presentation itself is very much "a thing of the Web": many of the images are hyperlinked through to the "live" resources pictured, providing not only a record of "provenance" for the examples, but a direct gateway into the data sources themselves, allowing people to explore the broader context of those individual records or fragments or visualisations.
It's a joy to discover a creation your own work used in a way surprises you, to discover that someone else can make it all their own. Sherratt even proclaims Death to Powerpoint. Hell yes.