A Tale of Two Photos

Have you ever struggled for hours to decide how best to demonstrate the before-and-after effects of a disaster or the architectural changes of a city over time?

In our third look at KnightLab’s multimedia tools, we’ll give you a simple way to explain everything with two photos, saving you time picking the right words and giving your readers something interactive to play with.

What Is It?

Juxtapose JS is this. Cool huh.

The process is simple, and it only requires you to plug the URLs of your photos into the generator, tweak a few display settings and copy the embed code onto your own site.

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Our Thoughts

If the old adage is true and photos really are worth a thousand words, Juxtapose JS gives your readers two thousand words right next to each other. The straightforward generator means it only takes minutes, if not seconds, and it adds a welcome break from lengthy blocks of text. Plus incorporating the tool brings a nice touch of interactive media that’s surprisingly fun to play around with.

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The Bad

While easy and aesthetically pleasing, Juxtapose JS isn’t perfect. Like many of KnightLab’s tools, it sacrifices customization for simplicity. Its customization is largely limited to choosing your photos, whether or not to display labels and credits and whether the slider is vertical or horizontal. It requires your images to be hosted on an outside site, like Google or Flickr, rather than uploaded directly, which isn’t difficult but can be a bit of a nuisance for streamlining your photo organization. You also can’t resize or reposition your photos to make them match up better, so it can require a tedious process of ensuring your original photos work well.

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Use Cases

The Chicago Tribune has used the tool frequently, and it can be useful for stories that show slow changes over time, like these photos of the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field. It’s also crucial for before/after stories like the coverage of the damage of an Illinois tornado. Finally, it can be a simple tool for comparing similar images, like these recreations of famous artwork starring actor John Malkovich.

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