Dude, Where’s My Mars Rover?

Newsbound is a media and software company on a mission to make complex topics understandable. They produce original explainers in their unique stack format and also work with clients to adapt research, reporting, and analysis into this form. Still wondering how we sent an SUV-sized rover to Mars last year? And what it’s doing up there today? In our latest explainer, Newsbound tackles this subject — and the broader history of Mars exploration — in our unique stack format. What’s the stack all about? It’s a design-rich, slide-based reading experience the Newsbound team has been developing and designing since last September. So far we’ve used it to break down thorny topics such as the federal budget debate, filibuster reform, drone warfare, etc. The format shares plenty of qualities with motion graphics, slideshows, infographics, and custom interactives — all mediums that we love and have inspired us. What are the benefits of the stack? We’ve found that it deepens user engagement by breaking long texts into digestible chunks and letting readers advance at their own pace. We’re truly excited about the level of reader focus we’ve seen around the nine explainers we’ve posted so far. Indeed, over 60% of the users who start one of our pieces end up making it to the final slide (an eight-minute, 1500-word reading experience, on average). This year, we’re building an authoring tool that will allow writers and designers to easily create and publish content in this format. If you’re interested in trying the tool when it’s ready, please let us know. But back to Mars! Below is a infographic teaser we created for the new piece. And be sure to check out the full explainer here.

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