How is Motion Storyline different?

As content management

For content management Wordpress is generally accepted as the best solution - from a developer standpoint it may not be the best codebase but the overall user friendliness far outweighs this for small and even mid size businesses. Motion Storyline cannot and does not intend to compete with a system and assumes that it is likely users have a Wordpress or pre-existing codebase. Motion Storyline can be used as a template generator to be integrated with a codebase and allows an export option at both stages of project creation.

Stage one

At the core is content and after logging in you will be placed into an admin pretty similar to Wordpress.

Stage two

After the "generation" you can customize all tailwind classes for any html outputs. This allows pretty much any style finishing touches (or complete re-design) you can come up with.

Wordpress overview - a background

When creating a business website in Wordpress a number of considerations are paid in terms of page speed load times, lighthouse audits, mobile usability, general style and professional appearance, and ease of use.

On the down side, Wordpress has some pitfalls - for example, using plugins that add frontend modification (CSS, HTML, etc) can cause bloat. This is basically a phenomenon caused by a developer creating a plugin product that does many things for many people, as opposed to creating a specific solution to a specific problem. Bloatware affects performance, and can decrease ease of use when too many plugins have too many settings, and non trustworthy plugins can even allow security vulnerabilities.

Wordpress has a rich ecosystem that allows a website owner to be able to do anything under the sun - there is a plugin for that. But having so many options can become daunting, and it starts to become unclear what should be done. Trendy or wrongly focused "effect" types of design creep their way into business decisions.

Where Wordpress shines is in ease of use and maintainability. Large websites can scale as long as the servers can handle the traffic.

As static sites became popular with their obvious speed performance benefits, a few successful projects demonstrated a version of decoupled Wordpress where the frontend was a static site and the content was entered into Wordpress environment and the frontend consumed it via an API. In the early days this was a somewhat difficult task because plugins did not necessarily consider the Wordpress API. For example, the Yoast SEO plugin would snippet inject header meta content into pages but these modifications were not necessarily exposed in the API.

In addition to building out a bridge for the high priority plugins to connect to the plugin, a good amount of custom building out of the user interface dashboard of Wordpress via ACF or similar approach was necessary to support a dynamic user interface to allow content to be placed into a very custom design, especially on above the fold home page showcase designs. To really stand out a lot of design planning had to be placed into the main presentation, and to bridge that to a Wordpress dashboard that was fully customizable by a content updater required some extra fields more than just a text input with default controls.

What if the focus was not on having the ability to do anything under the sun, but instead to focus on doing the important things well? If we use an eye catching design or effect, does it translate to mobile users? Is it on brand consistently, or does it cause jarring feelings across multiple channels and formats? Do all the various forms of content drive the story and narrative forward, or is it confusing with mixed messages. As the content and information base grows, does it remain easy to maintain and update?

By reducing options and forcing a structured writing style, more possibilities emerge. This does not seem intrinsically obvious.

Let us define scalable (or maintainable) content - for the purposes of this writing - as being able to update your content at any time. Behind the scenes sometimes a lot has to happen for this to work - your server might rebuild all (or some) of the files, possibly they get pushed out to cloud servers that have various caching mechanisms. 
But what if your copy is also in your PDF brochure and the same update is needed? Now you must make the same change again in another place. And the process is repeated for the next update. Add another place your copy lives and this process grows exponentially more time consuming.

Motion Storyline allows you to maintain scalable content by writing your copy in Notion, importing it, and wrapping it into a landing page, a PDF, or a short promo video (or whatever type of project you create). 

Motion Storyline Philosophy

  • No templates
  • Less animation is more
  • Responsive design principles in video exports (no manual work to resize for endless formats)
No templates

Our philosophy on templates is not that they are the source of all evil...for the most part. We just prefer a content (or story) driven approach -- so instead of having a general thematic idea of what you want to make and choosing a polished template to try to align your idea inside of, a content driven approach matches the building blocks of a template around your content. The catch is -- in order to do this the software needs to have content to match blocks to. Users normally expect immediate visual feedback and templates provide that, but we can do a lot better.
Templates are great, but not always for the right reasons. On the surface they can look really good, and convince you to use them, but indirectly the templates themselves are selling you on using them. Unfortunately this can be at odds with what you want them to do - sell or communicate YOUR message. Instead of using templates we prefer to match content to an appropriate block selected from a template, with your content and branding placed into it. This process does not necessarily change the result since it does use the same template behind the scenes, it just saves unnecessary time and work effort (which is the whole point of a template in the first place).

Less animation is more

Motion communicates message, or moves the story forward. If it doesn't, it shouldn't be there. This translates to less animation, but better animations. Decorative animation and movement is good as a subtle effect, but for the most part is overused in template style designs. Although attention grabbing motion can sell (and also possibly risk giving certain groups of people seizures), that is not a goal of animation.

Responsive design in video

It is important to distinguish between the capability of exporting and rendering multiple sizes for various formats (and the list is long) and being able to do so without having to go into your video and resize your elements to work correctly. In some cases this becomes impossible when dealing with user generated video, but our templates use web based responsive design to accomplish resizing automatically. It is usually and easy task to manually re-create a video in a vertical size just by taking two side by side content blocks and stacking them vertically, but if you have to do that for 10 (or 100) videos it becomes closer to impossible.

Programmatic generation of content driven template design

Design processes tend to explore many possibilities and narrow down the best ideas and ultimately the best design for that particular project. This can be a long and tedious process and require many hours of work. While keeping creative control and decision making in the hands of the person generating the content, many processes can be automated to give the person quick visual feedback on creative avenues to explore, and programmatic generation of many of these can cut down on overall work and time to project completion for high quality design work.