Introducing a cross-platform format for tap-through stories

Tap-through stories are everywhere. First introduced on Snapchat, this interactive, mixed media format has been widely adopted across platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Patreon and others.

At Mic, we think this “story” format is great for users: It’s low-friction, highly visual and built for the mobile experience.

As stories are supported on more and more platforms, building and distributing them gets more complicated. Remaking the same story for every platform that supports it would be a huge challenge.

So today, we’re open-sourcing our cross-platform story format, Story JSON, as well as transformation libraries for AMP stories and video.

In designing Story JSON, we drew on our previous experience making our articles sync across multiple platforms. We had previously built Article JSON, which enabled us to transform articles automatically into AMP, Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News Format and plain HTML.

Conceptually, Story JSON is a paged document format. A “story” consists of a set of pages, each of which can contain various kinds of elements. We based this pattern on the AMP Project’s design system for stories that was recently announced.

Story JSON documents can be created once and then transformed into any supported target format. The format is also designed to be easily embeddable into native iOS/Android and React Native apps.

We’re publishing Story JSON not only to help other publishers produce and distribute stories, but also to invite the community to iterate and improve on the format. And, above all, we hope Story JSON makes people’s lives easier. We welcome contributions on Github (here, here and here). Let us know what you think!

Posted by Ryan Campbell, Serge, Marcus Moretti, and Lisa Övermyr