StoryCorps launched in 2003 as a non-profit organisation that gives people a platform to tell stories about their lives via interviews, which are recorded and logged in the Library of Congress and broadcast nationally on NPR. In his recent article on Post Status, Brian Krogsgard explained how the platform was created.
Originally, the interviews were conducted in recording booths set up throughout the United States. Recently, the team launched StoryCorps.me, a website with companion apps that allow anyone with a smartphone to record and publish interviews.
This latest initiative is built on WordPress due to its flexibility as a public-facing web technology. There were questions of how it would handle scaling up to 1 million users. However, they brought in 10up, who managed the website infrastructure, scalability and integration of the WordPress REST API, which consumes data from the app and publishes it to the website while also ensuring the new technologies could talk to the existing StoryCorps software properly.
The apps were built using PhoneGap, which offered speed to market. Director of Digital & Technical Innovation at StoryCorps, Dean Haddock, did admit to a slight compromise on quality of the app by not building in a native platform on either iOS or Android. However, utilising PhoneGap in this way meant they could launch simultaneously to both platforms, with a development time of only 3 months from funding to launch.
What this means for users is that interviews can be created and uploaded to the StoryCorps.me website and the Library of Congress with “one tap”. According to StoryCorps’ founder Dave Isay, the repository of interviews is “the single largest collection of human voices ever collected”. The creation of the new website and accompanying apps, which are available on Google Play and the App Store, will see that collection grow even further.