We wanted to let you know about a cool project we've been working on with Stacey Seltzer (ex-Joost) and Henrik Werdelin (ex-Joost & MTV Networks International, Entrepreneur In Residence at Index Ventures). It was a collaborative research project into the possibilities of fusing printed media with the affordances of the web.
The newspaper and magazine landscape is changing rapidly, but people still love the `lay-back' experience of reading printed papers and magazines - it's more human, more restful, a welcome slow experience in our normally hectic lives. So we conceived and prototyped a new vision of printed newspaper & magazine experience, one that flips the broadcast model of papers and magazines on it's head, instead putting the user at the heart of the publishing experience.
The concept is that the service takes content that's most interesting or relevant to you, and generates a personalised magazine or newspaper from it. This magazine or newspaper is auto-designed, printed and delivered to your door, as often as you like.
We developed three concept prototypes, based on this vision:
1. Social Magazine
Social Magazine is an online service that let's you take everything you like to read on the web and turn it into a personalised magazine or paper. Twitter feeds, hashtag/trend searches, list feeds, favourite blogs, news sources, combined with your friends social activity from platforms like Last.fm, Facebook and Flickr.
2. Local Paper
Local Paper is a new generation of council paper. Automatically generated from web-based sources such as qype.com, foursquare.com, meetup.com, theyworkforyou.com and nestoria.co.uk - the paper includes timely local news, weather, MP activity, council meetings and property prices, as well as local leisure, nightlife, events and popular meetups in and around your street (view a data.gov.uk prototype from the very cool Newspaper Club).
3. My Heritage Paper
My Heritage Paper is a customer retention/added-value service for online businesses. In this case, we focused on My Heritage - a family-oriented social network service and genealogy website with 30 million users. Our concept was to take a variety of the rich data My Heritage generates and visualise this using information graphics in a gift personalised newspaper to users. We peppered a seasonal family narrative throughout - Top Family Tweets, birthdays, changes in family members location and family horoscopes.
In our research we met with the awesome Newpaper Club who feel the same way as we do about print - check them out. We also discovered great projects like the Berg Mag+ project, the Sports Illustrated and Wired prototypes and a few of digital magazine startups focused on the Apple iPad platform - these are great projects, but we were interested in keeping the printed aspect - the slow, relaxing experience not dependent on a digital platform.
We are continuing to tinker in this fascinating area of where print meets digital - see our Peggy Mail project for an earlier example, and our work for the Bush Theatre that has the play publishing industry a little on edge.
We really love working in this cross-media space and believe it will be more and more relevant for our clients (just watch the growth of the Apple iPad). If you want to get ahead of the curve by putting the user at the heart of a new age of publishing, then get in touch.