A large majority of week 4 was spent on exploring story maps and timelines, figuring out how to use them and deciding how best to represent the information that I want to touch upon. The past week gave me a much better idea of how I want my final project to look and the direction in which I hope to take my project.

I have decided to use ESRI StoryMaps and TimelineJS for my project. I envision my final project to consist of mainly 2 parts – the first being case studies of individual companies and the second being a map that marks out the internet penetration rate of individual provinces in China. With these ideas in mind, and after learning more about the various digital tools, ESRI StoryMaps and Timeline JS seems to be the most useful in helping display the information I want to present.

ESRI StoryMaps is extremely user-friendly and allows to me easily build upon layouts to organize content. It also allows me to add in GIS maps which are a crucial part of my project, allowing me to explore and analyze the impact of internet use on different parts of the province and draw links between internet penetration and purchasing power per capita or household income, representing a measure of wealth in the different provinces. I am still working to build on the maps that I currently have and hope to ultimately develop a map that clearly marks out significant comparisons and links that are noteworthy. ESRI StoryMaps is ideal for my project for not only does it allow me to embed GIS maps on the webpage but also timelines I create on TimelineJS.

TimelineJS will be very useful in looking at the progress of the different companies over time. By marking out the significant milestones of each company and the context in which they occurred, it will be easier to understand the impacts these events have on consumers and what they mean for the economy. I am in the midst of building my first timeline for Alibaba and one of the main challenges I’m facing is picking out the events and milestones that are most important to my project. There are numerous events that can be very significant to the company and their investors, but I hope to focus on the events that impact consumers and the society in general. It also proves to be a challenge to cut down on the number of words on each slide to make it easier for readers to glance through and comprehend.

These are the 2 tools that I will be mainly working on, but I am still very open to changes and additions to alter or build upon what I already have. I have been mainly focusing on Alibaba Group over the past week and because Alibaba Group comprises Alibaba.com, Taobao and Tmall, there are plenty of information I can put into the timeline. However, I am not sure if this will be the case for my other case studies, and perhaps a timeline will not be as useful for these other companies that I will be looking at. I’m excited to keep making new progress in the next few weeks!