New Media, or digital media as many of us know it, is the use of digital technologies to communicate with a mass audience. Digital media allows us to interact with brands and organisations on a different level. It changes the way we access and consume information, builds brand loyalty, and in some cases has the potential to change the way we see and interact with the world.
When I refer to new media or digital media, these are some of the things I’m thinking about:
- Mobile and tablet apps
- Animation and video
- Social media
- Blog posts
- Digital signage
- Digital training courses
- Interactive exhibits
- Online newspapers
- Online gaming
- QR codes
- Virtual reality
- Augmented reality
There are a couple of areas of New Media I’m particularly excited about.
The JG Creative team is monitoring digital developments in Virtual Reality (VR) closely. We’re interested in the potential VR has to transform the lives of people with physical or learning disabilities. VR allows individuals to experience things that would normally be out of reach, such as rock climbing or skiing, or to prepare for visiting a new environment, such as school, for the first time. It also has potential to help people with visual impairments to see more clearly. VR can also be used to teach an able-bodied person what it’s like to live with certain disabilities. VR is a truly exciting development for inclusivity.
If you haven’t tried Google Cardboard (Google’s VR app) yet, look it up. I have the cardboard phone holder on my desk and just love discovering what it has to offer!
We loved working with the charity Henshaws on their 180th anniversary exhibit at Manchester Library. It was designed to be interactive and accessible, so that visually impaired guests could enjoy it too. Visitors were encouraged to engage in each section of the exhibit through QR codes, audio files and social media. Take a look at the creative in our portfolio.
How many apps do you have on your phone or tablet?
Research from analytics firm App Annie* suggests the average UK user uses at least 30 apps on their smartphone every month, with most of us having around 80 apps installed – wow! On reading this research, I checked my own phone. It appears I’m above average – I have 211 apps! Do you have more than this?
Apps turn us all into designers. By choosing the apps to install on our smartphones, we’re effectively creating a personalised design. You’ve customised your phone or tablet to be a helpful and easy to use device.
Good design is crucial in digital media
My favourite mobile app is Instagram. As a designer and creative, it’s a great source of visual inspiration and ideas. It’s a very simple interface that’s incredibly easy to use. I love Instagram Live too with its 30-second snapshots into other people’s lives. I use it to follow people travelling live around amazing countries and to exhibitions I wouldn’t otherwise get to see.
The thread running through successful digital media is good design. Look and feel is so important these days. An attractive, interesting and simple to use design that works across all platforms is a great user experience. People engage and interact with good design through all forms of media – from infographics to video. I love clever design when it’s used to create empathy and produce positive social impact.
In this ever-changing world, New Media is not really ‘New’ anymore. It’s something you should be doing. If you’re looking for help creating engaging designs for digital media, call me on 01270 626624 or email Jo@jg-creative.co.uk
Creative Director, JG Creative
*Source: App Annie 2017 Retrospective Report