Web Prototype

[Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to reflect the launch of the EpicGem mobile app and deactivation of the EpicGem web prototype].

The initial web prototype of the EpicGem platform has launched!  Interested in preserving and sharing your personal stories?  If so, have a look at the User Guide below for an overview of the platform’s proposed functionality.

This first prototype is somewhat unpolished and we have left out many bells and whistles. This is intentional, as our goal is to test basic assumptions about what users would actually use (before devoting further resources to develop what users ask for).  The basic functionality currently available allows you to …

  • Create – You can create story albums (we call them “Gems“), by (i) adding your photos on one or more pages, (ii) adding and changing text and (iii) recording your voice
  • Share – You can share Gems you create by publishing them to your (publicly accessible) Gem Shelf
  • Read – Others can see, read and hear all Gems that you have published to your Gem Shelf

Feedback from this prototype will help us better understand users’ wants and needs, while guiding our efforts to develop additional functionality.

Logging-in / Registering as a New User

  • New Users – If you are a new user you can (i) register as a new user (highlighted in red, at right), then (ii) enter your email address and your password (twice) and (iii) press the ‘Enter’ button to get started.
  • Existing Users – If you have already registered with EpicGem, log in using your email and password (using the fields highlighted in red, at right).

Reading and Creating Gems

  • To Read Gems – Other Users can access Gems you have published to your “Gem Shelf“.The Gem Shelf opens by default when a User first visits EpicGem. The Gem Shelf can also be accessed at any time by clicking on the ‘Open Book‘ icon at the top right of your screen (circled in red at right).When you first access EpicGem, your Gem Shelf includes two pre-loaded Gems for you to customize.
  • To Create Gems  (Gem Works) – You can create new Gems (and edit existing Gems) via the “Gem Works” area.Gem Works can be accessed by clicking on the ‘Pencil‘ icon (circled in red at right) at any time.

Start a New Gem

Start a new Gem by clicking on the New Gem icon (circled in red at right) from within Gem Works.

After you start a new Gem, it will be displayed with your other Gems within Gem Works.


Edit an Existing Gem

To edit an existing Gem, click on it from within Gem Works.

For example, you can edit either of the two starter Gems (circled in red at right) by clicking on them from within Gem Works.


Gem Tools

Once you open a new or existing Gem from the GemWorks shelf, the first page of that Gem is displayed within the “Gem Tools” screen.

For example, the screen at right shows the existing Gem “Nursery Rhymes 1” ready for editing.

(Note, if you have started a new Gem, the first page will be blank until you insert a photo or add text).

Gem Tools – Adding & Navigating Pages

Navigate pages of your Gems in the area of Gem Tools highlighted at right (immediately below the text box).

Scroll left and right to see thumbnails of pages in your Gem. Click on a particular page to jump to that page for editing.

You can Add or Delete pages using the ‘Add Page’ and ‘Delete Page’ buttons (highlighted in red, at right).

Gem Tools – Name Your Gem

Name (or rename) your Gem by entering a new name in the Gem name field (highlighted at right).

The name you enter here will be shown on the cover of your Gem in (i) the Gem Works area, as well as (ii) your Gem Shelf (once you publish your Gem).

Gem Tools – Manage Photos

You can add and delete photos using the ‘Insert’ and ‘Remove’ buttons within Gem Tools (highlighted at right).

The EpicGem prototype currently allows up to one photo per page of your Gems.

Gem Tools – Edit Text

You edit text by clicking directly in the yellow text box within Gem Tools.

To try out EpicGem, you can personalize the starter Nursery Rhyme Gems (included in Gem Works when you first log in) by changing any or all of the text they reflect on each page.

Feel free to change these classics to tell your own stories.  (One way we like to engage a young audience is to incorporate listeners’ names, with clever rhymes to highlight things relevant in their lives.)

Gem Tools – Voice & Sounds

Record your voice (or other sounds) by pressing the ‘Record’ button within Gem Tools.

Press ‘Stop’ when you want to cease recording.  For reference, the timer will show the length of the sound file.

To hear your recording, press ‘Play’.  If you want to delete your recording, you can either (i) simply record over it by pressing the ‘Record’ button, or (ii) delete the recording by pressing the ‘Delete’ button.

Gem Tools – Publishing Your Gems

New Gems you create begin with “Not Published” status and are not available publicly for others to see.

To publish a Gem to your Gem Shelf (for others to access),

  1. open that Gem from within Gem Works, and
  2. slide the ‘Publish’ button to the “Published” status (as shown at right).

You can un-publish any Gem at any time (pulling it back from your publicly available Gem Shelf), by…

  1. opening that Gem from within Gem Works, and
  2. sliding the ‘Publish’ button to the ‘Not Published’ status.

Gem Tools – Sharing Your Gem Shelf

Once you have published Gems to your publicly available Gem Shelf, you can invite others to read those Gems by…

  1. opening any Gem from Gem Works,
  2. copying the link found at the bottom of Gem Tools (highlighted at right), and
  3. pasting that link into an email to those with whom you want to share your Gems.

Note, at this early stage of development, all Gems that you have published to your Gem Shelf are available to anyone who has access to the link.

Deleting Gems

You can permanently delete any Gem from the Gem Works area.

To delete a Gem:

  1. Press the ‘Delete a Gem’ button within Gem Works
  2. In the pop-up window, check the box under each Gem you want to delete
  3. Confirm deletion by clicking the ‘Delete’ button in the pop-up window

Note that Gems you delete are permanently deleted from both (i) your Gem Works space, and (ii) your publicly available Gem Shelf.  If you only want to stop sharing a Gem publicly (but not delete it permanently), open that Gem from the Gem Works space and change the Gem’s status to ‘Not Published’ (as described above).

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