Posts during: September, 2011

Infographics – The Next Level

 

There is this feeling about infographics. On the one hand we love them, they’re creative, structured and colourful. They make us laugh or shake our heads, they are charming and more often than not we want to forward them to our friends and followers. On the other hand with poor graphic design and too much ‘info’ they can get a bit boring, and on many occasions when scrolling down, you would lose interest very quickly.

The interactive infographic brings much more fun to the table. One very good example is  The State of the Internet, where your attention is captivated by moving facts, diversifying graphics and flexible statistics, all of which in real time. For example, one of the facts it has updating live is ‘new websites’ published per second, among many others including ‘fun facts’ largely about social media.

 

It gives a brilliant overview of the Internet worldwide. By specifying countries and social media platforms the infographic not only gives details about the Internet it also motivates the user to act, encouraging interactivity. It’s also easier to keep it up to date. Every new click on the infographic reveals another statistical number since the Internet changes every second.

In a similar fashion, The New York Times have released their own interactive infographic called How Many Households Are Like Yours? . Individually the user can input information about their household to compare it with other households across the United States.

Interactive infographics certainly make for a more engaging experience with data.  It will be interesting to see how popular these become. Let us know what you think!

 


Foursquare reaches 1billion check ins

Having fought off threats from Facebook Places and Gowalla, Foursquare last week reached its billionth check in.

In celebration of what is a big milestone for Foursquare, what better way to mark the occasion than with a video visualising what a weeks worth of check ins looks like…

A Week of Check-ins on the Path to One Billion from foursquare on Vimeo.


The latest Facebook news from the F8 Conference

Yesterday afternoon at 4pm, the F8 conference in San Francisco began, with what Mashable reported as a set of announcements that is “going to change the world of social media”. While this was a rather bold statement, I can now report that they were not actually far off.

The conference began with a somewhat cringe-worthy comedy act from Andy Samberg, followed by a scripted introduction from CEO Mark Zuckerberg himself. After all the introductory chatter, Zuckerberg finally unveiled the next evolution of the social network. The Timeline. This is a major re-image of user profile pages, that quite simply collects everything that the user has ever done on the site, and formats it into a visual scrapbook of some sort. Essentially, as Zuckerberg claimed “it is the story of your life on a single page”.

I’ve now successfully transformed my Facebook to the new Timeline mode, and have to admit that it is pretty darn cool.

The Timeline interface is really beautifully designed and the addition of the Cover Photo is a really nice added touch. It has even evoked a sense of emotion, after forcing me to reminisce on every aspect of my life that has ever been documented (on Facebook) – from pictures, to check-ins, to status updates and even videos- all the way back to the day you were born. “We wanted to design a place that feels like your home” Zuckerberg said, and Home it is!

The beauty of this is that it works on mobile too, and is pretty much the same idea, just more condensed. Facebook expects to roll out this Timeline in a few weeks, but if you are dying to see what it looks like in full for yourself, here is an explanation of how to enable the Timeline on your Facebook.

The next big change that was unveiled at the F8 conference yesterday was the launch of their new music service. As part of its new Open Graph app platform, Facebook has now partnered with music companies, such as Spotify, to bring real-time music streaming and discovery to the infamous timeline.

Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek claimed that users that connect their Spotify account with Facebook listen to more music, as well as a wider variety of music. Another interesting finding that Ek talked about, was the real potential of music discovery using Facebook as a platform for finding new jams, sharing playlists with friends and seeing what your friends are listening to. Now for anyone who is constantly on the look out for new music, you will know how true this is. I often find myself scouring Facebook to see what new tunes my friends have been listening to lately, and I love to listen to music that my friends share between them to see if its something I would like to add to my musical repertoire.

Users will soon start to see emerging play buttons around the Facebook newsfeed. Clicking on those buttons will start playing tunes via Spotify. The possibilities that Facebook’s partnership with music companies will bring is endless and (in my opinion) utterly exciting! This is an extremely smart move for Facebook, as focusing their efforts to bringing in much-loved music partners, rather than hastily building its own private music service, means they can continue doing what they do best, connecting users with their friends and increase user engagement.

Below is a sweet video, showcasing the new Facebook app.

I think this means Facebook- 2, Google -1. Back to the drawing boards for the Google Plus-ers then!


What’s going on with Facebook

As I am sure you have all noticed, Facebook has made some considerable design changes as of late. The look and feel of our newsfeeds has been transformed, to what they claim to be “more user-friendly”.  Judging by the magnitude of negative comments on the Facebook blog and on Twitter, I’m going to go ahead and say that most people are in fact NOT happy with the changes, and do not think it is any more user-friendly than before. In previous posts we have covered what the changes were to be, but to be of more help here is a top up of what the new features are:

The first change you will come across is the “Real Time friends feed” on the right hand side of your newsfeed. This is a real time, Twitter-esque, update of what all your friends are doing on Facebook. The good thing about this is that you can easily alter what you want to see more or less of in the feed, by unmarking or by adding people from the recently upgraded “lists” feature.

Another noted change is at the top your newsfeed; there you will see “top stories” and “top photos which have been marked with a blue corner for your convenience. The smart thing about this is that the more you logon to Facebook and use the site, the more you will begin to see most recent” stories from your friends.

You see, Facebook has actually gotten pretty smart; a top story” is determined by the last time you visited the site. This therefore constantly keeps you up-to-date with the latest goings on since the last time you logged on. The thing I find slightly strange is Facebook deciding what I will enjoy most as a “top story”- do they really know me that well as to know what I want to see on my home page? Sadly the answer is yes. They know who my friends are (and more specifically my close friends), they know my interests, and they even know the friends I went to University with. Essentially they know more about me than my mother will ever know, it is a bit creepy, I have to admit. Anyways, the top stories” and “most recent” stories are now combined together within your newsfeed.

For those times that Facebook does not get it right and feeds you stories that you really couldn’t care less about, do not fear, there is a way to remove them. This is done by clicking the arrow on the right hand side of the story, and clicking ‘unmark as a top story’, and just like that it will disappear from your newsfeed. Magical.

These new features have been designed to help us see more of what our friends are doing  in real time, making things more social. The changes may seem fairly complicated right now, but I reckon that within time we will all embrace it, and forget what the old design was even like! What do you think about these new changes?