Archives for June 2015

June 24, 2015Published by: Drew

Instagram turbo charges its app launching powerful search and discover features

Instagram search new

One of Instagram's biggest problems has always been search. It has never had a powerful search function, making it difficult to find people, places or posts. Search on Instagram has always really been about hashtags and connections, much different to Twitter, for example. As such, Instagram is used in different ways to Twitter, which is more about realtime and search / discovery. Arguably, this limitation of search has made Instagram more intimate and engaging.

This is all about to change, as last night, Instagram launched two major updates "that will help connect [its] community to the world as it happens." Amongst the new functions are trending topics / places, and more sophisticated discovery features for people, places and words. The new app is available only in the US right now. As Instagram puts it in its announcement:

The all-new Explore page, with trending Tags and Places, and more powerful search that makes it easier to find the people, places, and tags you’re looking for. With more than 70 million photos and videos posted to Instagram every day, wherever something is happening, chances are you can see it here. Whether it’s behind the scenes at the NBA Finals, on the runway with the latest fashion trend at a favorite club with a local band, people are capturing moments large and small on Instagram. But, until now, there’s never been an easy way to find these moments.

Refresh your Instagram app and start using the new app today. And let us know your thoughts!

 

June 23, 2015Published by: Anton Perreau

Quartz launches Atlas: The new home for charts and data


Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 14.42.09

As data has become a leading back-bone for great articles, the platforms those articles are written on have had to become savvier about how that data is displayed and shared. Design hazardous screenshots don't quite suffice to the real thing, often a deeper dive into the chart is needed and Quartz have made a direct response to this need by launching their new visual companion. Today Quartz has launched Atlas, a new platform for discovering and sharing great charts. You can find it at atlas.qz.com.

Quartz Chartbuilder

Alongside this launch, Quartz will be open-sourcing their highly popular Chartbuilder with a slew of new features. All of this with the hopes of bringing forward more contributions from developers.

To start, all of the charts are made by Quartz staff and select contributors. In time, as they build out the platform, Quartz are hoping to let anyone make charts in Atlas. If you’re interested in getting involved in any way, send an email at atlas@qz.com.


June 19, 2015Published by: Drew

BuzzFeed launches dedicated serious news app

BuzzFeed News App iOSBuzzFeed has launched a current affairs news app for iOS called simply BuzzFeed News. Over recent months the site best known for its viral 'listicles' has been hiring senior execs and journalists from some of the world's most respected business newspapers and broadcast outlets, and now we can see the first, of many no doubt, products that begin exploring how BuzzFeed can reinvent serious news.

The app offers customisable alerts, and is available right now just on iOS. You can download it here and read more on the launch here.

June 18, 2015Published by: Drew

LinkedIn trials two new apps, makes moves into the messaging space

Linkedin

Reports have just surfaced in the media that LinkedIn is building two new apps that it is hoping to launch in the near future. One will be a messaging app (think WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, and so on) and the second will be a social media version of a company directory (think Yammer, Sharepoint, etc).

As the Wall Street Journal has reported, the messaging app space is where all the action is right now, and a business messaging app could be well-received:

Mobile messaging is a particularly hot area, led by Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as startups like Snapchat and Kik. Messenger’s roster of U.S. users is up five-fold over the past two years, far outpacing the 46% growth rate for mobile apps overall in the U.S., according to ComScore.

The new apps would join eight other LinkedIn mobile apps, including ones devoted to recruiters and job seekers. Wednesday, it unveiled an updated version of news app, Pulse. LinkedIn has allowed its core mobile app to retain all its features unlike Facebook, which launched Messenger in 2011 but last year forced users to download it to send private messages over their phone.


June 16, 2015Published by: Aaron Griffiths

Creative ‘Here London’ Conference – best of the bunch

There are so many conferences out there, but none with such a huge array of people and professions; from creative directors to photographers and screenwriters. With this in mind we sent our creative manager along to this year’s annual Here London conference to get his creative juices flowing and get inspired to create.

With such a huge mix of talks we’re going to highlight the ones that stood out from the crowd:

Annie Atkins - @AnnieAtkins
A graphic designer whose job goes far beyond the realms of a normal graphic design role, Annie has found a niche in designing for film. While this sounds simple, we quickly found out it’s a huge process and a logistical nightmare at times…

Few key learnings from Annie's talk:

  • Graphic design for film is more than just paper design, it’s prop design
  • The filming schedule is a key piece of the puzzle
  • Always design props using real references
  • Small details matter (e.g. on a newspaper as a prop, the date should be real - 5th July 1954 is a Monday, not a Tuesday)
  • If the film is old, the prop too needs to look old but also new of the time

 

Annie_Atkins_

Man vs. Machine - @m_alderson
“Art Director, Co Founder, Creative Director, Executive … I’m just a designer” Mike Alderson calls himself “Just a Designer” but clearly he’s knowledge tells us he’s so much more. From designing TV idents for Channel 4, through to product launches for Nike with briefs such as “This Nike football boot is quicker than a fighter jet” provided for a super insightful and in-depth talk.

Few key learnings from Mike’s talk:

  • Target the clients who have the same ethos as you
  • “Design by doing - Some clients this doesn't work for but it works for ours”
  • ”It doesn't matter! You can ride a skateboard wearing a Liverpool kit"
  • Acceptance: "We think we're good at everything, we're probably not"
  • Just believe in the client’s brief and that you can create something amazing for them

Mike_Alderson_

All sketchnotes created by our Creative manager: @aarongriffiths

 

June 12, 2015Published by: Drew

Will Jack make Twitter cool again?

Image courtesy of The New Yorker

As news emerged last night that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is stepping down and will be replaced in the short term by one of the company's original co-founders, Jack Dorsey, it has left the media world talking of a 'crisis' at the social network.

For sure, Twitter is still a major global social network. No other is as powerful when it comes to influencing the press - tweets from figureheads fill every day's papers, and brands use the channel as an open platform for customer service above all others.

But unlike rivals such as Instagram and WhatsApp, Twitter isn't cool any more. You can't say that about Jack Dorsey. I'm a big fan of @Jack. What he has achieved, and the style he has achieved it with, at his other main project now, payments company Square, I think is tremendous. If you are looking for a single read on Jack Dorsey, this long piece in The New Yorker sums up his style and achievements very well.

A telling quote from Dorsey's interview with the New Yorker hints at the direction he might possibly want to take Twitter in:

Dorsey’s tastes—minimalist design, severe diets—mirror the Twitter aesthetic. “Constraint inspires creativity,” he says.

Will Jack Dorsey make Twitter cool again? Somehow we think so.

Image courtesy of The New Yorker.

 


June 3, 2015Published by: Drew

Instagram and Pinterest launch Buy buttons

pinterest buyablepin

News came out last night that both Pinterest and Instagram are launching 'buy' buttons, to allow users to purchase the items in the photos and videos shared on the social networks. This is major news for brands that create shoppable content on the social networks. To date, Pinterest has boasted great click-through rates, helping retailers to deliver ROI on their use of the social network, so this move will be a logical progression of where they are now. Instagram on the other hand delivers more of a brand engagement experience, so this move, for them, could revolutionise the social network.

The full lowdown is captured in this review by Hannah Kuchler of the Financial Times:

Ben Silbermann, Pinterest chief executive, announced the “buyable pins” on the online scrapbooking site, with retailers including Macy’s and Nordstrom signed up to sell on the platform.

Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo app that boasts over 300m users, also announced a new advertising product that allows retailers to sell from their mobile app. Instagram had been slowly rolling out advertising, focusing on brand marketing that matched the magazine-like high quality images that users often upload to the platform. But it is now allowing advertisers to add a button to encourage viewers to click through to their ecommerce site, install an app or sign up to a mailing list.

June 1, 2015Published by: Charlie Sharpe

Can the BBC iPlayer creator help us find what we actually want to know on social media?

A clear problem is emerging with social media; it doesn’t tell us what we want to know. On Facebook we only become friends with people we know and like pages that fill our timeline with vaguely irrelevant spam about the Kardashians, on Twitter we follow users we find interesting but they don’t post the content we want to see - too often I will follow somebody I found interesting only for them to start retweeting generally uninteresting content. The key problem appears to be that social media platforms are people focused not content focused, or at least that’s how the creator of BBC iPlayer Anthony Rose saw it. People need to be able to go onto a social media site and look at content they find interesting and then go on to meet new people who share their interests.

Rose saw this issue as a mere challenge to overcome and his (I think excellent) response is the topic-based social platform 6Tribes, which launched at the end of May. 6Tribes is currently only available on IOS in the UK but will be released to a wider audience soon. The app collates posts from a variety of users based on the groups or “tribes” they follow. If users can’t find a tribe that interests them, then they can also create their own; this will allow the creator to manage all content in the tribe and assess what is or isn’t relevant through the “bump” system.

IMG_0348

Tribes are small communities on the platform dedicated to a certain topic (e.g. sports, films, television, music, tea), within each tribe people can post relevant content for other followers to see with a “bump” system (similar to Reddit’s voting system) to filter the content. Once users have joined a variety of Tribes all posts will come through on the user's’ feed to provide a completely content focused and personalised news feed. At first glance, it’s great. The feed is specific to any topic you choose and provides interesting and relevant updates and overall the app is really smooth, very simple and good looking.

“Close to launch we have close to 100 tribes” said Rose, however alongside of new Tribes run by the platform users can also create and manage their own Tribes, sharing content on any topic that takes their interest. The beauty of this new platform is not only in the content but the way you can meet other users. Because all of the groups are topic-based and not user based it’s a good way to interact with new people who share your interests. I think it has to be said, Mr Rose has done a good job. With the potential for serious expansion over the coming months 6Tribes could be a promising guide for social platforms to come.