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Special Stories User Guide - Creating a Story

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Special Stories Plus - adding first story

Creating a New Story

To create a new story, you will need a picture for each page. If your device has a built in camera, you can take photos as you go along. Alternatively, you can add existing photos from the photo library or Gallery on your device.

Start by tapping the + button in the main view. You are now ready to create the first page for the story. This also acts as its default title page, so the text and picture you add here will be displayed in the main view to identify the story. You can change the story's title later, as explained in Chapter 6.

Adding Text

Tap in the text area to add the text: use the on screen keyboard which appears, or the desktop's physical keyboard. Line breaks are managed automatically, there is no facility to add them explicitly. You can add text in any language you use or want children you work on learning.

If you want to use a really large amount of text on each page, you will need to change the font size for Special Stories. You can do this in the Settings as explained in Chapter 8.

Adding a Photo

To set the photo, either tap Choose Picture to select from the photos in the device's existing photo library / Gallery, or tap Take Picture to take and use a new picture using the device's camera. For devices with 2 cameras, you will be able to choose which one to use. Pictures you take with the camera are not automatically saved to the device's photo library / gallery.

Note: Pictures should ideally be in landscape orientation, with an aspect ratio of 4:3 (width:height). So, if using the camera, take the picture with the device held in landscape rather than portrait orientation.Existing photos which have different aspect ratios will be shown in the story with white gaps on either side or above and below. If you want to edit an existing photo to select a 4:3 region, use one of the free photo editing apps, before choosing in Special Stories.

Special Stories Plus - page editor

Recording Sound

To record the spoken words for the page, tap the Record Sound button, and then speak clearly. Then tap the button again (it will have changed to saying Stop Recording). Try not to leave a long gap at the start or end of the recording. If you don't stop recording within 60 seconds, it will stop automatically. Use the Play Sound button to check your recording: you can record it again if you're not happy with it. Your spoken words don't have to be the same as the written text you've entered, but for use with young children or people with learning difficulties it usually helps if they match. If you don't want to record any audio, tap the No sound button.

When you have set the text, picture and sound, the Save button will be enabled: tap it to confirm your changes.


Extra Options

When using Choose Picture you can browse for images anywhere on the device's local storage.

On iPad in split view, and on Windows or Mac, when editing a story, you can also drag and drop an image or audio file on to the app, to use as the page's picture or sound. The app supports image files with .jpg, .jpeg, .png and .gif extensions. It supports audio files with .m4a, .mp3 and .wav extensions and, except when using Safari, .webm and .ogg extensions.

Please Note:

You may need to grant the app permission to use your microphone, camera, and photo library. If you accidentally refuse permission, you may need to visit your device's privacy settings to undo this. The device may grant or deny permission based on the website (i.e. www.specialiapps.org) as opposed to individual web-based apps, and you may need to manage this from your web browser's privacy settings.

Adding Pages

You're now looking at the list of numbered pages in your new story. As yet, you only have 1 page. To add another page, tap the + button, and add text, picture and sound just as you did for the first page, and save again. You can continue to add as many pages as you like now, or come back and add more later.

After you've added a few pages, the editing view of the story might look something like the example below. If the text for a page is too long to display in the editing view, it will be shown truncated with "..." here, but there is more room to display them when reading and listening to a story.

Tapping Stories will take you back to the main view, from where you can tap on your new story's title text or picture to read and listen to it.

Special Stories Plus - story editor

Deleting Contents

You don't have to have text, picture and sound on every page in a story, although it's generally sensible to include both some text and a picture on the title page. You can delete the text and/or the picture, either when first creating a page (as described above) or when updating the story later (see Chapter 6).

To delete the picture from a page, swipe across the picture beside the Choose Picture and Take Picture buttons, and confirm when prompted. A red cross will appear, as shown below, indicating that when saved this page will have no picture.

To delete the text, swipe across the text box, confirm, and similarly a red cross will appear in it.

Special Stories Plus - picture deleted

You can always go back and add new text or a new picture later.

If you don't want sound on a particular page, simply tap No Sound. Alternatively, to create a whole story without any sound, you may prefer to turn off the Record New Sounds settings option, as discussed in Chapter 8.

Please Note

Having added your own content, you will need to back it up, or you risk losing it. The app stores your content on your device, not in the cloud. Be aware that using iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or other cloud-based services will NOT automatically backup or restore this data: you must use the export facilities explained in Chapter 9.

Clearing website data in your browser will DELETE your content.

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