Welcome to Storyline. Here’s a quick guide.

How we’ll cover stories

Most of our stories will spring from big questions about American life, rather than traditional beats or breaking news. So rather than covering, say, health care — a topic so broad that it includes Obamacare, economics, the business of health care and wellness — we’ll be focusing on questions like “How is the Affordable Care Act changing us?” Often, we’ll write a series of stories — chapters in a larger narrative — on those topics. We’re calling these complicated, multilayered questions “storylines.”

Why we like stories, not Web pages

You’ll find our main storyline of the day in the top of our homepage — those splashy top four stories you see. But when you open one of our other articles, you’ve opened a bit more than a page. We’ve taken you directly into a storyline. Scroll down and you’ll find more stories and more windows into the big questions we’re investigating.

Each day we’ll publish in clusters around one or more storylines, which means any time you click into a relatively new piece of Storyline content, you’ll find yourself surrounded by our other coverage on that topic.

Traditional news sites are really good at sending readers to one piece of content, but they’re largely bad at connecting readers with deep, multilayered information on what they care about. Part of this is a taxonomy problem: Why send readers to a business section rather than something more specific and personal? We want our storylines to be the polar opposite of a topic page; they’ll be conversational, direct and diverse streams of good stuff. We hope that you’ll come back to these storylines to see how they progress.

You can jump through individual stories by hitting these buttons on the right side of each article page.


 

When you get to the end of each Storyline, each cluster of stories on a certain topic, you’ll see text at the bottom right of the page directing you to the “Next Storyline.”

You’ll also be able to keep track of what stories you’ve read: blue dots next to our pieces mean they’re unread.

Which storylines are you covering?

More information on that is coming. Today, you’ll see four storylines: uneven recovery; immigration stalemate; how is the ACA changing us?; and rural America. We’ll be adding more storylines shortly after launch.

Ask a question, tell us a story

We know that the story doesn’t end when we write something – our reporters will be regularly interacting with readers for their stories and building their voices into our reporting.

We’d like you to join in. So when you see the button that says, “Ask us a question or tell us a story,” please click it — and then drop us a line.

What else is coming?

There are a few features that aren’t quite ready. Our comments section should be ready soon. And the buttons for navigating in between stories aren’t available on all mobile platforms. Later on, you’ll have the ability to sort through each storyline by format — if you just want to geek out on our charts, we’ll let you do that. We also want to give you the ability to subscribe to individual storylines. And there are no pages for individual storylines yet. We hope those pages, when ready, will evolve into storytelling devices in their own right.

Ryan McCarthy is the assistant business editor for The Washington Post. He oversees Storyline, Wonkblog and other digital projects.