Basics of Creating a Scroll Kit Narrative

My Digital Labor, Urban Space, and Materiality class will be using the drag-and-drop framework Scroll Kit to create multimedia “device narratives.” Here’s the tutorial I’ve created to teach them to use Scroll Kit. You’re welcome to download these instructions as a PDF or as a Word document, in case you’d like to modify them. 

This is my first Scroll Kit tutorial; the second covers the parallax effect.

With Scroll Kit, you can create multimedia works in a scrolling format suitable for long-form narratives. It’s easy to drag and drop elements to create interesting effects. Your project will have a unique Scroll Kit URL, so you can share your project widely (or you can export the code).

Some examples of projects created with Scroll Kit:

Sign up

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Go to www.scrollkit.com and click on Signup in the upper right-hand corner. Enter your information and click Sign Up.

Edit your sample scroll

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Scroll Kit starts you out with a sample scroll. (Scroll is what Scroll Kit calls a project.) Start by double-clicking on the text. You’ll see you can edit it and change the font, color, and formatting. If you drag the blue frame, you’ll see that you can move the text around on the scroll.

Other elements on your scroll work similarly. You can click and drag images, text, and other objects, and change their size and position.

You may find it helpful to expand your browser’s window horizontally, because otherwise buttons on the Scroll Kit toolbar will stack on top of each other.

Enter some information about your new scroll

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You can’t change your scroll’s URL (yet), but you can give it a name and description to allow search engines to find it more easily. You can also make your scroll public or private.

Save often

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Scroll Kit doesn’t really allow you to undo or revert changes unless you save a version by pressing Done. So please get in the habit of clicking Done often to save your changes. (Once you’ve saved, you can click on the pencil icon to go back to editing your scroll.)

Work with layers.

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Just as in Photoshop, Scroll Kit organizes elements in layers; one object can sit on top of another object. To see the layers, click on the layers button (1). In the layers window that pops up, drag the layer you’d like to place on top to the top of your list (2).

Change your background

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With Scroll Kit, your background can be a solid color, an image, or even a video. You can also tile your background images and change their transparency.

Add an image

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Adding an image to Scroll Kit is not unlike adding photos to Facebook. Click on the picture icon and then choose a file from your computer, add one from the web, or choose from the options that Scroll Kit has pre-loaded. Once you’ve selected an image, you can drag it around and change the size until you’re happy with its placement.

Change the transparency of an element

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To make an element translucent, click on the paint bucket, and then use the transparency slider.

Draw!

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This one is pretty self-explanatory. Click on the pencil icon to draw freehand on your scroll. Click on the color swatch to the right of the pencil to change the color you draw in. (I don’t know of a way to change the color of your drawing once you’ve already drawn it.)`

Add video

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You can add video to your scroll by clicking on the LEGO block (the Add-Ons button) and selecting YouTube. (You can add other kinds of videos by grabbing the iFrame embed code; ask me how.) Once you’ve selected YouTube, place the rectangular frame where you’d like your video to appear and then click Submit.

Add length to your scroll

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Each section of your scroll is called a strip. Add length to your scroll by either adding a new strip or extending your current strip’s length. Extend the strip if you want to keep the background and make your additional material continuous with the earlier strip; otherwise, you can change moods and mark divisions by adding a different strip. If you have a lot of text to place (and you probably will), you may want to add a text strip. Text strips won’t be resized on mobile devices, and you can only drop a few objects on them.

Get rid of a strip

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You can delete an entire strip by hovering over the translucent bar on the left hand side. An x should appear. Click on the x to delete your strip.

See how the scroll will look on your phone

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One of the benefits of Scroll Kit is that your narratives will look good on smaller devices, like phones. To see how your scroll will look on a mobile device, click Done and then click on the iPhone icon.

You built a scroll!

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Congrats! Share your scroll by sending the URL to your friends.