The NewsCube was a three-dimensional storytelling tool that lets people curate complex stories and tell them from multiple perspectives. The tactile, playful interface was engaging and fun to use.

The project was an experiment in designing new forms of news interaction. The design was inspired by hypertext authoring systems and non-linear story projects that aimed to give readers a sense to control over narratives. While most experimental storytelling systems are designed for fiction, the NewsCube aimed to bring these ideas to journalism.

The NewsCube was essentially a virtual container that allowed users to create and curate content in themes or categories and present them on the sides of a cube. Each side could accommodate up to nine items and readers interact with the NewsCube by spinning it around using their finger or a mouse.

Approach

The NewsCube was created using a Research Through Design methodology. The design evolved through three major iterations and was evaluated by industry participants.

Methods included a survey of literature and practice, wireframing, prototyping (low, mixed and high fidelity) and interviews.

One of the findings of the project was the value of tangible interaction to the reading and story creation experience. 

Outcomes

In 2014 the project won an inaugural Walkley Grant for Innovation in Journalism. This led to the development of the NewsCube beta and release of open-source code.