Tips + Tricks

12 Kinds of Content You Can Add to Your Picture in Ponga

Let the richness of modern media add to your story with a copy-and-paste!

Overview

Ponga pictures and albums create an exciting new way to put old stories back into circulation. With a couple of clicks, you can add the rich detail that contextualizes a moment when the picture was captured. You can also use Ponga to reach out to ask questions of those who were there, or explore theories about what might have happened based on what you can see or documentation you can add.

Whether typing, recording voice, or bringing in content from elsewhere on the web, adding content is as easy as completing a web form. You simply need to make (or add to an existing) selection, add content and hit “Post.” On Ponga, the content you add is associated with the specific pixel ranges of your selection.

Nerd alert: If you’re worried about the permanence of information, rest assured that all of the underlying content is maintained in Ponga in its original file types either on servers at Ponga or on the original sites and made accessible using standards-based embedding. That’s key because it means that the content form isn’t modified by some non-standard multi-media standard, yet it still stays contextualize as you put media together.

Get an invitation

To give you a feel for the uses of this wide array of media types, let’s start with a picture you can explore. Just navigate to ponga.com/explore and fill in the form to be invited to a Ponga picture. These are just two ways in which a private Ponga picture can be shared by requesting email addresses. Most of these examples come from that picture, so it will be easy to follow along.

Attached & Linked Content

Ponga supports a wide range of media and web link types that can be added quickly and easily. Three types of content can be added directly: text, images, and voice recordings. An innumerable range of others can be added based on content that is brought in from external links from the web as long as the links are “public.”

Note: A public link is any link accessible from a site like Facebook. Links that are “unlisted” typically work in that the are still public, just not added to indexes for search.

Ponga picture animation showing a video being played from an embedded preview.
Previewing action of embedded Youtube link.

Embedding & Previews

These links add media like video to your Ponga picture using the same underlying embedding web technologies that add media to web publishing pages like this one. Embedding allows “playable” media content like video and sound to play using resources from the source page. Any content that you add to a Ponga picture will “preview” when you move your mouse over the selection. If it’s embedded content and can be played, then that content is playable from the preview. Other content like web pages simply display their Open Graph metadata.

Tap to Add Text, Images, and Voice Recordings

Let’s start with directly-added content like text, images and voice recordings. As a member, or a contributing guest, you can add selections anywhere on the Ponga picture. When you do, the selection box goes from black to orange and the sidebar appears. On the bottom right corner of that sidebar is a Comment box.

1. Text

After the sidebar opens, your cursor will be in the comment box and anything you type will be added to the content of the selection. You can add paragraph marks, emoji, and type in any language. The display is controlled by your browser so if you use non-Roman script that enters text right-to-left, or special grammar plugins, they should all still work in this Ponga comment field.

Comment box animation using gif
Enter your text and hit “Post”

Since Ponga works in your browser, plugins for translation should work as well. This can be especially useful when sharing information with family and friends across international borders.

2. Images

You’ll notice the image and microphone icons. As you might expect, you can click the image icon to select image files from your desktop. Ponga accepts any kind of image file to add to selections as long as they are in PNG or JPG formats. You can also just drag and drop the image in. While you can attach any number of images, only the first one will preview with the text you enter when you mouse over a selection.

An animated gif of text and an image previewing for a selection
When text and images are included in a post, both will preview. If multiple images are included only the first will appear in the preview.

3. Voice Recordings

Voice recordings are powerful because they’re immediate and contextual. Like a Zoom call, it’s handy to have a good microphone close to the speaker, but not absolutely necessary. To make a recording tap on the mic icon. A large white button appears in a black field. Tap on the white button, and the recording begins. You have controls to stop and re-record. When you press done, the recording is posted and immediately playable.

An animated text of adding a voice recording
To add voice, just tap on the microphone setting. The first time you add voice you will have to allow your browser access to the microphone.

Combine Media in One Post

You can combine media in one post, but not all combinations work. You can:

  • Add an image to written text (order doesn’t matter) See the example in #2 above. Both the image and the written text will preview if they are the first comment in a selection.
  • Add an image to a voice recording (here, the order does matter. You must add the image first, then add the recording.) This is a great option to identify the speaker in the recording. If the combination of voice and an image are the first post in a selection, only the voice will preview.

Note: Currently, you cannot combine written text with a voice recording. If you enter text, then start a recording, you will lose your text.

Paste to Add Media and Web Linked Content

One of the most powerful aspects of Ponga is the ability to bring content in from anywhere on the web. The simple solution to add content from remote sites is to pretty much to just…

Copy the link and paste.

Since this content is drawn from the web using standards-based protocols, it might include an almost limitless array of media types. “Limitless” arrays can be fun to play with, but they can also trip you up with too many variables. This article gets you started with a defined set. You can always explore more. Just copy the link, and paste into the Ponga comment box.

4. Add Video

Adding web video from hosting sites like Youtube, Wistia, Vimeo and others is just as easy. Copy the link and paste. Some sites will present you with “Embed code.” You don’t need that. Just the share link. In Youtube, for example, the link will appear as:

Screenshot from Youtube
In this case, you would copy https://youtu.be/IN7rqAf6JI4, then paste it in your Ponga comment. Notice that you can control where Youtube starts playing from the “start at” box.

5. Add Sound Recordings

Sound recordings are just another media type. Like video, you’ll source links from sound hosting sites like SoundCloud. To capture the link, again, navigate to the recording and click the share button.

Share panel from SoundCloud
With SoundCloud, again capture the share link from the share panel. SoundCloud allows you (if you uploaded the sound) to add your own background image.)

6. Add Documents

Documents can be tricky because the file type is so common that there are a variety of ways it can work. We’ll highlight the most common Portable Document Format (PDF) that allows you to retain the combination of fonts, style sheets, and formatted images.

Screenshot showing a PDF document embedded in a Ponga picture.
You’ll recognize a PDF document for the way you can scroll across pages of the document and zoom in and out to see the details.

To add a PDF document that’s sourced from the web, you can generally copy the link and paste it into Ponga. This works for virtually any web link to a document that ends with “.pdf”. You can try it with any number of links from the Library of Congress, for example. Links from different sites might add additional metadata that may display in the image.

Screenshot of a newspaper linked from the US Library of Congress
This link (https://www.loc.gov/resource/sn84029386/1911-05-04/ed-1/?sp=1&r=-0.997,-0.005,2.994,1.722,0) from a newspaper archive at the US Library of Congress previews with detail about the original artifact.

7. Add Presentations

A variety of presentations can easily be added to Ponga pictures with a link. While some presentation platforms like Prezi and Google Presentations started as web-native applications, other desktop applications like Microsoft’s Powerpoint and Apple’s Keynote can be published to the web with use of the Scribd platform called Slideshare.com (formerly part of LinkedIn.)

Slideshare allows for the publishing of both slides and PDF documents in an equally seamless way.

Share panel on Slideshare
Find a presentation on the site or create an account and upload your own presentation, then navigate to the share panel, and copy out the share link. (Again, don’t use the embed code.)

8. Add Maps

Adding maps can be especially fun. You might even want to use an image of a modern or historical map as the basis for your picture. Just convert your map into the JPG, PNG, or TIF formats Ponga supports for images, and get started adding the content and stories to your Ponga picture.

You can also add maps as content to pictures. There are a few ways to do this but generally you’re copying a link and pasting it into a picture, the map appears.

Share link on Google Maps
The share panel from Google Maps.

For Google Maps there are some fancy embellishments that can be fun. Google Street View is a wonderful way to look at a place you might have an old photograph of to see how it appears today.

Animated gif of navigating Google Streetview in a Ponga picture preview.
Navigating a Google Street view link embedded into a Ponga picture.

To capture that street view in Ponga is a little tricky because you have to find the link in an unexpected place. Go to the location on the map, navigate to Street view, then right-click to copy the link to the street view.

Copying the link from a Google Streetview screen.
Copy this link from the Google Streetview interface, paste that link into your Ponga picture.

By now, you’ve come to appreciate how links can carry useful information that provide context and references to the stories you might tell in a Ponga picture.

9. Content of Any Kind on Cloud Storage Servers

A vast array of information that’s not accessible on the web can be added by storing it in cloud-based storage servers from providers like Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive, Dropbox, Permanent, and others. Each of these services behaves slightly differently depending on the type of content you’re adding, so you may want to experiment if this is a good option for you.

We’ve used that approach to capture PDF documents and images that we want accessible from our pictures regardless of our current productivity software selections.

Screenshot illustrating a permanent.org preview.
Pasting a link from a public folder on cloud storage allows contents to be shared and previewed from within a Ponga picture.

10. Linked References to Access-Controlled Sites

All of these examples come from “public” links. Some sites, including genealogy sites like Familysearch.org, Ancestry.com, or MyHeritage.com include content that is walled off from the public by paywalls or other access-control functions. You need to log into these sites before you can explore the content. The content on these web pages will not preview in Ponga.

The best approach here is to include the links without including the “https://” protocol identifier. Here is an example from the same selection. Notice that the link to a FamilySearch page is included and even though the protocol identifier is not included the URL is detected and auto-linked.

Selection including an entry for a person with detail referencing their FamilySearch ID and link. When a viewer clicks on that link they will be taken to a login page, and from there to the specific individual’s page.

11. Add Web pages or blogs

Web pages including blogs, application sites, even Google Search pages all include three key elements that will be captured in a Ponga preview: 1) a title, 2) a description, 3) a “thumbnail” or “preview” image. Sometimes these are referred to by their technical name, the Open Graph metadata properties.

If the contents of a web page do not include any “playable” or interactive media such as the examples above, then they will display with this lowest common denominator of this metadata. This is the same detail you might see if you were to share the link in Facebook, for example.

Animated gif exploring an embedded web page entry.
Content that appears when a web page link is pasted into a Ponga picture. Notice the title, description and image as defined by the open graph metadata.

12. Contents of Searches

Using the same core elements you can actually capture the contents of a Google search as a link. When you paste that link into Ponga, one of the images previews and the title of the search appears. This could be useful when you’re sharing with others topics you’ve looked for or a range of possible options, for example.

In this example, a link for a Google search, pasted into a picture.

Note: Be aware that like content pasted into Facebook or other sharing sites, the content remains on the original source site, so if it changes with the same URL, your embedded content will change as well.

Join Us and Explore

We hope this review of a dozen types of content that can be added to Ponga pictures gives you a helpful overview of Ponga in action. If you haven’t already, take a moment to explore the Ponga picture shared from the Ponga.com/explore page. Every Ponga picture is private. If you ask for an invitation on that page, we’ll be delighted to invite you.

Ponga creates a wonderful way to explore history, explore stories, and really explore ourselves and our community. We’d love to hear from you if you’ve discovered something especially useful and fun. We hold regular webinars and workshops with our members, their guests, and the Ponga-curious. For the next session, see Ponga.com/events. Feel free to reach out to us anytime using the “Audie” chatbot at ponga.com.


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