Below is a selection interactive documentary tools (free and premium), plus further resources for creating your own i-docs…


A Javascript MVC framework created by Google to build properly architectured and maintenable web applications – need to be able to code to use.


Online interactive publishing tool. Free & premium plans available.


A free mobile-storytelling app that allows you to create engaging interactive stories in minutes.
Easily combine photos, video, text, music and narration without the time and effort of video editing. A Kickstarter-funded project.

Frame Trail

FrameTrail is an open source software that allows you to experience, manage and edit interactive video directly in your web browser.

It enables hyperlinking filmic contents, including additional multimedia documents (e.g. text overlays, images or interactive maps) and adding supplementing materials (annotations) at specific points.


Primarily aimed at photographers, Exposure allows you to create a blend of text narratives and photographs within a drag and drop framework. Works as a desktop app with a freemium publishing model.

Interlude Treehouse

An online, interactive video authoring site with little software for the user to download an free for non-commercial use! Commercial uses are expected, and pricing for them is determined on a case-by-case basis. Simple to use for basic projects, recommend for interactive music videos.

The Korsakow System

Easy-to-use computer program for the creation of database films. It was invented by Florian Thalhofer, a Berlin-based media artist. It is the first i-doc tool that has been made free to use via the internet a good ten years ago!


Interactive editing & publishing application dedicated to creative storytellers. It was developed by Honkyonk Films and has both free and premium plans available.


An open-source tool that utilizes maps to help turn data into interactive multimedia stories without the user needing coding skills.


Open source multimedia authoring tool (German)

Popcorn Maker

Created by Mozilla, this was the first free HTML5 authoring tool to become available in 2011. A lot of projects have used the framework and regular Popathon labs are run internationally – find out more.

SIMIILIE Widgets: Timeline

Part of the the SIMILIE widgets collection; an open-source “spin-off” from the SIMILE project at MIT. They offer free, open-source web widgets, mostly for data visualizations. They are maintained and improved over time by a community of open-source developers. With Timeline you can create an interactive web-based widget for visualising temporal data.


A free visual storytelling app for the iPad that combines photos, videos, and text. Publish your stories for friends and followers, or share them by email, Facebook, or Twitter. Explore stories created by your friends and the Storehouse community of storytellers from all around the world.


Developed by Northwestern University Knight Lab, TimelineJS is an open-source tool that enables anyone to build visually,rich, interactive timelines. Beginners can create a timeline using nothing more than a Google spreadsheet. Experts can use their JSON skills to create custom installations, while keeping TimelineJS’s core look and functionality.


French HTML5 authoring software, used for the Tribeca Hacks event at Cross Video Days 2014.


Very basic, but fun and easy to use. Produced by the people behind Mapping Main Street (launched 2012) see a video here.

i-Docs hackathons, development labs and residencies

Kel O’Neill (Director, Empire) has also put together a collaborative list of i-Docs hackathons, development labs and residencies – feel free to use, add and share.

Think we’re missing something? Contact us at or leave a comment below.