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Posts in category 'Media'

29 April 2010

A special report on television

Acropolis
This week’s Economist contains a special report on television. The leader article presents television as the great survivor, which has coped well with technological change:

“It helps that TV is an inherently lazy form of entertainment. The much-repeated prediction that people will cancel their pay-TV subscriptions and piece together an evening’s worth of entertainment from free broadcasts and the internet “assumes that people are willing to work three times harder to get the same thing”, observes Mike Fries of Liberty Global, a cable giant. Laziness also mitigates the threat from piracy. Although many programmes are no more than three or four mouse clicks away, that still sounds too much like work for most of us. And television-watching is a more sociable activity than it may appear. People like to watch programmes when everybody else is watching them. Give them devices that allow them to record and play back programmes easily, and they will still watch live TV at least four-fifths of the time. […]

That box might appear to be sitting in the corner of the living room, not doing much. In fact, it is constantly evolving. If there is one media business with a chance of completing the perilous journey to the digital future looking as healthy as it did when it set off, it is television.”

Here is the rest of the report:

Changing the channel
Television is adapting better to technological change than any other media business, says Joel Budd

Beyond the box
Television rushes online, only to wonder where the money is

Ahoy there!
The perils of piracy

The lazy medium
How people really watch television

An emergency screen
Mobile television is unlikely to take off

The killer app
Television needs sport almost as much as sport needs television

Who needs it?
Three-dimensional television is coming, whether you want it or not

Here, there and everywhere
Television is spreading in new directions

An interactive future
The last remaining mass medium needs to engage with its audience and target its offerings

26 April 2010

How print dominates newspaper website design

ISOJ
In his presentation at this weekend’s Internional Symposium on Online Journalism, Nuno Vargas of the University of Barcelona (Spain) talked about how news and information is graphically presented online.

His paper discusses whether the design of online newspapers shows they are embracing the web fully as a new medium or whether they are they anchored to the paper metaphor.

He found that newspapers still approach the web from a paper-based concept, rather than as a dynamic medium.

Vargas said our role is to make data visible to user in the best way possible and allow them to make decisions on how they navigate this. But we are not there yet.

In his analysis on online newspapers in Brazil, Argentine, Portugal and Spain, he found there was no robust but flexible information architecture.

Vargas showed examples of the front pages of newspaper website, colour-coded to indicate multimedia. It was a powerful visual way to show how the print metaphor dominates newspaper web design.

He concluded by urging news outlets to accept that the web is a new medium, and shift away from transferring existing design ideas to the web.

Read papers:
From the pixel to the grid and back (pdf)
Setting guidelines on how to design the news online (pdf)

(via reportr.net and Vittorio Pasteris)

24 April 2010

The BBC’s global experience language

BBC UX&D
The BBC UX&D team has published a global experience language for the BBC’s digital service:

The GVL 3.0 guidelines are a reference point for all designers creating BBC websites (future iterations will also incorporate mobile and IPTV recommendations).

The design philosophy underpins everything we do as a user experience and design team. It informs the way our services look, the way they behave and the way we operate as a team.

The foundations should be used by all. They include a vertical grid, baseline grid and recommended templates.

The building blocks help create consistent interaction and visual design across the site; from typography to iconography.

Our design pattern library will offer a comprehensive set of re-usable page components.

22 April 2010

Better tech docs through social networking

UX Matters
The social networking phenomenon has ushered in a shift in mindset that, in turn, has driven people to become actively engaged in generating their own content and sharing it with an international audience on the Web, in contrast to the earlier trend of passively viewing content that others had created.

This article on UXMatters explores how we can embrace this trend toward user-generated content to elicit greater user participation in the technical documentation space and make the communication of business information a more effective process.

Read article

27 March 2010

AP’s ethnographic studies look for solutions to news and ad “fatigue”

AP
A new study by the Associated Press has come to the conclusion that consumers are “tired, even annoyed, by the current experience of advertising,” and that, as a result, they don’t trust very much of it. But at the same time, AP found, consumers do want information relevant to their needs, as well as ways to socialize that information.

Although it tends to move cautiously and deliberately, AP has been subtly and quietly introducing tools aimed at improving relevance and socialization, and may have plans for an ad-supported aggregation business that applies what it has been learning. […]

The findings are part of a study called “A new model for communication,” released two weeks ago with little fanfare and no press coverage, even by AP’s own reporters (pdf link to report). The research was done in conjunction with Context-Based Research Group of Baltimore, and was a followup to a 2008 study called “A new model for news” (pdf link to report). Both studies used ethnographic research techniques to do a ‘deep dive’ into consumer behavior and motivations. […]

To combat “ad annoyance,” the study recommends restoring trust, noting that social vetting of information is now often “filling a role historically played by trusted packagers of information, such as local newspapers, which connected readers with advertisers in a trusted environment.” This led the study team at Context to suggest a what they call Communitas, consisting of collaboration, social contract (understood rules), kinship, honesty, reciprocity and relevance.

Read article

25 February 2010

For newspapers to survive, they must put users first

Online newspaper ads
If publications continue to rely on selling advertising to support their costs, how does that serve the audience’s needs? Fast Company provides three ideas for how newspapers can refocus on readers.

“If it’s true that readers perceive traditional brands with less trust or care, and they’re looking at content as a simple commodity, then publishers will have to give their audiences something new to keep them coming back: An experience that puts user needs front and center. This doesn’t mean getting rid of the ads. It means making all content–including ads–more relevant to readers.”

Read full story

17 February 2010

BBC’s director of future media on our mobile future

BBC Online
During a keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Erik Huggers, the BBC Director of Future Media and Technology, shared his plans to make BBC Online even more accessible on mobiles, and what the industry can do collectively to further open up the huge potential of mobile for the benefit of the audience.

“Today’s mobile audience primarily falls into four groups. “Mobile first” – people who use mobile as their primary access point to the internet. “Mobile lifestyle” – those who love the convenience of mobile services when they’re on the move. “Addicted devotees” – the gadget lovers on their phones all the time, even in the internet connected home, and “social animals” – people particularly driven by social networking.

It’s with these people in mind we focus on today’s mobile propositions.”

Read full story

10 February 2010

The future of reading

The future of reading
Josh Quittner of Fortune Magazine reflects on how tables will change magazines, books and newspapers.

“In fact, for the past year I’ve been pushing the theory that the Age of Tablets will give print media one last bite at the apple — and publishing companies that are able to make the transition could one day thrive again. I’m so convinced that it will happen that I’ve been working with other folks here at Time Inc. (Fortune’s publisher) to create prototypes of digital magazines that will soon be delivered to tablets and smartphones. So consider this my apologia.

This isn’t a case of excessive introspection on the part of a media insider: The future of publishing is fast becoming topic A in business circles. Financiers who make trades based on access to reliable information fret about the fate of outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. Urban planners worry about what happens to communities if digital books make libraries obsolete. “

Read full story

Read also what these ten ‘sages’ think.

17 December 2009

Mag+, a concept video on the future of digital magazines

Mag+
Bonnier R&D, the research unit of Bonnier, the publisher of Popular Science, invited the designers from BERG London on a corporate collaborative research project into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices.

“The concept aims to capture the essence of magazine reading, which people have been enjoying for decades: an engaging and unique reading experience in which high-quality writing and stunning imagery build up immersive stories.

The concept uses the power of digital media to create a rich and meaningful experience, while maintaining the relaxed and curated features of printed magazines. It has been designed for a world in which interactivity, abundant information and unlimited options could be perceived as intrusive and overwhelming.”

Watch video prototype

10 November 2009

Book: Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media

Hanging out
Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out
Kids Living and Learning with New Media
(John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)
An examination of young people’s everyday new media practices—including video-game playing, text-messaging, digital media production, and social media use.

Authors: Mizuko Ito, Sonja Baumer, Matteo Bittanti, danah boyd, Rachel Cody, Becky Herr-Stephenson, Heather A. Horst, Patricia G. Lange, Dilan Mahendran, Katynka Z. Martinez, C. J. Pascoe, Dan Perkel, Laura Robinson, Christo Sims and Lisa Tripp
MIT Press, November 2009, 432 pages
Table of contents and sample chaptersAmazon link

Conventional wisdom about young people’s use of digital technology often equates generational identity with technology identity: today’s teens seem constantly plugged in to video games, social networks sites, and text messaging. Yet there is little actual research that investigates the intricate dynamics of youth’s social and recreational use of digital media. Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out fills this gap, reporting on an ambitious three-year ethnographic investigation into how young people are living and learning with new media in varied settings—at home, in after school programs, and in online spaces. By focusing on media practices in the everyday contexts of family and peer interaction, the book views the relationship of youth and new media not simply in terms of technology trends but situated within the broader structural conditions of childhood and the negotiations with adults that frame the experience of youth in the United States.

Integrating twenty-three different case studies—which include Harry Potter podcasting, video-game playing, music-sharing, and online romantic breakups—in a unique collaborative authorship style, Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out is distinctive for its combination of in-depth description of specific group dynamics with conceptual analysis.

This book was written as a collaborative effort by members of the Digital Youth Project, a three-year research effort funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California.

The project was spearheaded by Mimi Ito, a Research Scientist at the University of California Humanities Research Institute.

(via danah boyd)

3 November 2009

The Times’ Innovation Portfolio

Bubbles
The New York Times interactive group creates an online encyclopedia of all their stunning inventions, reports Cliff Kuang on Fast Company.

“The Times interactive team has been creating path-breaking experiments in infographics and interaction design. All of which are now collected in its terrific new Innovation Portfolio.

The pieces called out on the site–each of which is represented by a bubble–range from infographics of public sentiment (“What on word describes your mood”) to ultra-polished interactive features, which elegantly summarize massive feature stories.”

And apparently, the site was designed to inspire conversations about how to apply immersive storytelling techniques to… the advertising process.

Read full story

31 October 2009

Implementing digital TV in Italy: the other side of the digital revolution

Decoder
Italy is in the process of switching to digital TV, and the implementation is pretty much a disaster, as far as I can tell from the reactions in the region where I live (Piedmont). Many of the problems are technological, but not all. A volunteer force of ‘angels’ is doing what it can:

Here is quick translation of an article from today’s Repubblica newspaper:

“TRENTO – You can take everything away from them, but not the television. Put yourself in the shoes of Mrs. Livia, 78 years old, who lives in the middle of the mountains of the splendid Trentino region, doesn’t come out of the house from November to April, and has her television on all day long. When she was no longer able to watch the TV programs, she picked up the phone and called the ‘decoder angels’. “Help, my television doesn’t work anymore”. She soon became one of 6,000 elderly in the Trentino region who received personal assistance in setting up a digital TV decoder at their home. These are people who cannot (or do not want to) count on the help of children or other family and are already getting into trouble with wiring or the new remote control, let alone the now required channel tuning, which they sometimes have to do several times due to the various repetitor stations in the Trentino valleys.

This is the other side of the digital revolution – the one that after Sardinia and the Aosta Valley has now reached Piedmont and Trentino Alto Adige, with a slew of problems, complaints, doubts, protests, and threats not to pay the television tax any longer. Even when everything is fine on a technical level, the work inside the homes is just starting. The elderly are the most vulnerable, as shown by a research done by the Department of Sociology of the University of Trento. The study is based on the work done by the ‘decoder angels’, young people who have been installing decoders for free at the homes of those over 75, on a program subsidised by the local government.

Anxiety, anger, impatience: that’s what you get when you take away the television of an elderly person who is used to have that voice always in the background. It is a trauma for them. And then there are the technical problems: unable to adjust themselves to the double remote control, some elderly get confused, use the tv remote control to change the decoder settings, and vice versa, and then complain because the channel doesn’t change or the volume doesn’t go up. Elderly men, who tend to be more proud than women, try to make do. But it is not easy to connect a television set from the 70’s (yes, the angels also found those) to a decoder from 2009. And that’s if the antenna on the roof is fine and there is a free electrical outlet behind the television.

Panic strikes when an interactive menu appears during channel surfing: better then to turn everything off. Probably those in charge of the switch to digital didn’t think of the fact that those in charge of the implementation would often be the immigrant caretakers of the Italian elderly, who are not always able to read manuals in Italian. “It’s easy to say ‘digital’, but the real challenge is to bring the digital into the real lives of people,” explains Pierfrancesco Fedrizzi, who is in charge of communication for the project. The sociologist Carlo Buzzi, who authored the study, is more critical: he speaks about a revolution that is misunderstood, at least by the elderly users: “They are only interested in watching their usual channels. They don’t know nor understand the digital world, let alone anything interactive. “

27 October 2009

Arianna Huffington and Peter Thiel on the digital revolution

Digital revolution
And still two more video rushes on the site of Digital Revolution.

Arianna Huffington interview – USA
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder of the influential news blog The Huffington Post. Aleks Krotoski and the Digital Revolution programme one team met with Arianna to discuss the rise of blogs and citizen journalism, and the effects the web is having on politics and political activism. She also discusses the development of hierarchies and ‘trusted editors’ for online content.

Peter Thiel interview – USA
Peter Thiel is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist and co-founder of PayPal. Aleks Krotoski and the Digital Revolution programme one team met with Peter to discuss the development of the web from its early libertarian beginnings, to its current effects upon nations, communications and the future of nation states.

Digital Revolution (working title) is an open source documentary, due for transmission on BBC Two in 2010, that will take stock of 20 years of change brought about by the World Wide Web.

19 October 2009

Technology is giving us the means to co-create the future

Juliette Powell
Author, speaker and technologist Juliette Powell sees the true significance of social media technology in the new kinds of collaborations we are able to forge that offer the potential to create a new kind of future.

In a video on Nokia’s IdeasProject, Powell discusses her belief that the ability to connect with people who previously did not have that opportunity will add tremendous value to government, business, and media undertakings.

View video

Related content
CIO Live Podcast: The Power of Social Networking
Media Lab interview with Juliette Powell

12 October 2009

Bringing internet video services to the living room TV set

project canvas
More details are emerging about Project Canvas, the ambitious joint venture by the BBC, ITV, Five and BT to bring internet video services such as the iPlayer from the bedroom PC to the living-room TV set, reports Tim Bradshaw on FT.com’s techblog.

“An interview in today’s FT with Marc Watson, head of BT Vision, revealed how BT envisages Canvas will work for consumers and content owners, should the BBC Trust approve the service.

The BBC, BT and their partners have emphasised from the outset that Canvas will be an “open” platform. Through a system they like to compare to Apple’s App Store, any content owner will be able to put its programming on the Canvas platform, they say, either ad-supported or charged for by subscription or micropayments.”

Read full story

29 September 2009

Herkko Hietanen: The social future of television

Herkko Hietanen
Herkko Hietanen of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology tells his audience at the Berkman Center that “television is really broken,” reports Ethan Zuckerman.

The medium isn’t rising to its full potential, isn’t providing consumers with programs when and where they want them. To set the scheduled for what you want to watch, you need to be at your television. And there are frustrating geographic restrictions on programming – Herkko wonders why it’s hard to watch Finnish TV in the US. Television was created to be consumed – it lacks interactivity with broadcasters and other viewers. It forces consumers to sit through irrelevant commercials.

Read full story

2 September 2009

The value of information

The value of news
Oliver Reichenstein, a Tokyo-based information architect, explores the value of information:

“While producing information costs money, information as such doesn’t necessarily carry monetary value; it mostly carries intellectual, social, artistic, practical value. And that’s why, historically, news has been commercially, publicly, politically and privately subsidized.

That information is not necessarily connected to a physical good (paper) or a concrete service (the delivery), or a limited quantity anymore, making it difficult to measure its price. We have difficulties spending money for digital information because at the end of the transaction we neither save time nor do we hold anything concrete or limited in our hands.”

Read full story

23 July 2009

How the digital world is changing the rules of modern courtship

Newsweek
As part of a feature series on Facebook (see below), Newsweek explores how the digital world is changing the rules of modern courtship:

“It wasn’t so long ago that the idea of a college romance playing out online—for better or for worse—would have been deemed weird, nerdy, or just plain pathetic. As the thinking went, if you had to go to the Web to find a mate, or break up with one, it must have meant you weren’t capable of attracting anyone in the real world. But then MySpace came along, and Facebook took over—and today, courtship has become a flurry of status messages, e-mail flirtation, and, not so uncommonly, breakups that play out publicly for all 400 of your not-so-closest friends.”

Read full story

Other stories in this series:

  • Facebook at Age Five
    The social networking site now boasts 250 million users, but has yet to make a single dollar in profit. Five years after its inception, a look at whether it can last another five.
  • The Salacious Story Behind Facebook
    What the company doesn’t want you to know about its ignominious start.
  • The Father of Social Networking
    With Facebook, 25 year-old Mark Zuckerberg, turned a dorm-room diversion into a cultural phenomenon. His next goal? To finally turn the company profitable.
  • Face-to-Facebook (video)
    Newsweek talks to Facebook users (and a few self-proclaimed addicts) about how the social networking site fits into their lives.
23 July 2009

Literature review on museums and libraries in a digital age

 
The Futures of Learning blog, which is associated with a MacArthur Foundation project, just completed an extensive literature review, conducted as part of the project, Inspiring the Technological Imagination: Museums and Libraries in a Digital Age.

The work discussed in this literature review seeks to answer the question how institutions might change to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by new digital media, and sets out to contribute to the development of a field in new media and learning by focusing on the role of museums and libraries as part of distributed learning networks.

The series comes at the closure of a just completed literature review on New Media Practices in International Contexts, covering the unique characteristics of digital media user behaviours in very different socio-cultural contexts of China, Korea, India, Brazil, Japan and Ghana, with a particular interest in the intersection of youth, new media and learning.

The research was directed by Anne Balsamo, PI. The blog postings were authored by her and other members of the research team: Cara Wallis, Maura Klosterman, and Susana Bautista (University of Southern California).

Here are the contributions:

22 July 2009

Visions of Europe in 2030

IP
The age of globalization is over. The coming 30 years will be shaped by the logic of scarcity, resulting in a turn away from global trade and the creation of self-reliant geopolitical zones.

Wolfram Eilenberger argues on Spiegel Online that Europe is prepared for these challenges.

“The dogma-free, democratic marketplace of ideas, for which Socrates gave his life in Athens, is today a communicative reality in which hundreds of millions of citizens are actively taking part. The spirit of scientific methodology and veracity embodied by Bacon, Descartes, and Newton as a measure of the collective interpretation of the world is driving a community of researchers that is unique in its diversity. The federal confederacy based on fundamental human rights that Erasmus and Kant envisaged as the “kingdom of ends” is now our political order. The collective safeguarding of physical and intellectual basic rights that Aristotle recognized as the foundation of every polity, and the ethically concerned liberalism of Adam Smith are guiding the logic of our economic activity. And finally, the vision of a secular, active, multilingual life elevated by Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Goethe as the core of what it means to be human accurately describes our cultural existence today as nascent Europeans.”

The article has been provided by Internationale Politik–Global Edition as part of a special agreement with SPIEGEL ONLINE. IP–Global Edition is the English- language quarterly journal of the German Council of Foreign Relations, published in association with IP, Germany’s premier foreign policy monthly.

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