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Digital Trends in Creative Update January 2013


Hello my future thinking friends, colleagues and clients (in no particular order). It's that time of the month again when we talk about what's happening in the world of digital. This month we've got my review of MySpace, the Internet of Things and 3D printing all created to give you insights for the month of Jan. We hope you enjoy.

New MySpace
I laughingly joked with colleagues when I found out about the New MySpace (pre Beta), that it would "only launch when Justin Timberlake released his next album". Well it may not be an album, but like any new release, I guess JT and MySpace are putting themselves out there again. I was lucky enough to be invited into the MySpace Beta version, and although I'm sure you'll find out for yourself, here's my thoughts on what I like about it and where I think New MySpace really can have a place in our social charts.

One of the first things you notice about the interface is the horizontal scrolling across all section, which will scroll forever (content permitting). Although this is not a new paradigm I actually think it works really well in this environment. I think part of that is the fact the music controls and traditional top navigation is now anchored to the bottom of the browser, which means focus on the content is unobstructed.

This already translates well to tablet and will do for mobile. It's almost responsive design, which would have been a good mobile interim measure, but you'll have to wait for the mobile app.

Another thing you notice is that visual is king, not the controls that manage it. So image entices you into your visual presence musical area, mix or video. It's very much part of the "don't tell me, show me" mentality from my previous post.

Like the name suggest Discover lets you find music related audio, clips, and very minimal articles which lead directly to music content. It also lets you discover musical friends, mixes (playlists) and radio stations. It's certainly a good place to get started if you've just joined, to find your own groove.

This section allows the user to find people, music, mixes (playlists) plus radio; always something new to discover. There's also a trending link - it's great to showcase new and existing musical talent, but once you add articles to that it does become more of a cool music magazine. The difference being the words are minimal brief descriptions about the artist and music that then lead directly to video and audio content, targeted at our super-fast need for info no doubt.

As with all new social outings, even if you have a history (old MySpace), it's all a bit awkward at first, but once you get to know each other, I'm sure you'll have lots of fun. I like the way you can remove feeds or items that you've posted, so you can control what others see. I like the symbolism of the connect/disconnect circle/s which offers more tucked away options on rollover, keeping the interface really clean.

My opinion is that if it continues and gets the people this will once again be a very utilised and trafficked site. We'll wait and see how big it grows socially, but if you want to connect to see what I'm listening to, this is where I am -

You might have gathered that I like MySpace as a platform. What sets it apart from all the other social and music platforms is it seems like a good and new paradigm that actually works quite well. I moved from iTunes to Spotify and now to MySpace, and music privileges permitting, I'll continue to enjoy my visual and audio feast, alongside a social activity base around music, video and photos; who'd want to leave?

There's also some other cool stuff like start typing and you’re searching, decent personalisation and privacy, photos, and the list goes on, but you want to go explore yourself don't you? - say hi to JT from me. 

You want some more trends before you go hang with JT? Well…

The Internet of Things
We're deep into our device revolution with Apple, Samsung and Windows letting us mobilise and socialise on the go, but there's another revolution that is under way which involves things which aren't traditionally digital becoming connected as the internet of things. What things I hear you cry, well it just so happens that we have some examples for you right here and they are part of the internet of things.

It's getting hot, be cool
What about the Nest Learning thermostat? Nest learns your house routine (which you can program) and can be controlled from your phone. Designed by the talented Mike Matas, it's cool and will keep you cool too. Let's hope you can set it to centigrade too.

Lost your keys, wallet, favourite friend?
How about some bluetooth enabled stickers that you can attach to your favourite objects (of friends), then find with your phone via an app. Just make sure you don't lose your phone.

Would like some 3D with that projection?
Google and Berg teamed up in 2011 to explore what Google could be without the need for devices and glass. They came up with a series of 24 rules to make Augmented Reality tolerable and very useful. They recently released their findings; new objects becoming useful in our everyday lives.

3D printing
How about printing those objects in 3D?
When I first heard about 3D printing a few years back I thought, that can't be right, but soon realised how great this technology can be, especially if it's part of the internet of things. 3D printing has come on in leaps and bounds and although prices can be between US$2-3k each (home version) at the moment, there are plenty of manufacturers looking over their shoulder.

Nokia allows you to download a phone case to print or you can print a little perfect model of yourself.

Think it's restricted to plastic? No, not so! It's now possible to print with metal. I bet those cartridge refills will be hefty.

There is some great potential for printing everyday objects, which may have some advantages from mass production and the environment. There are opportunities to do good - imagine printing a specific medical part in a remote area, shelter for homeless or natural disaster survivors.

Where can you get these printers?
Cubify, winner of the Best of CES 2013, is a cool example, but you can see a full range of manufacturers here.

Until next time
So until JT releases his new album, that's all for this month's digital trends. In February we look at the future of applying interactive design in the device agnostic and internet of things world.

In the meantime, why don't you tell us what you're looking forward to in 2013?






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