Trends to Watch in 2012 – Spotted at SXSW

The SXSW Interactive Festival was in full swing this weekend in Austin, Texas as thousands of movers and shakers from the digital industry came to check out the latest trends in the digital media industry.

Each year the Interactive Festival features panels covering a variety of topics including gaming, design, UX, coding, data visualizations, entrepreneurialism and more.

Here are five trends the Hub spotted at this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival that journalism ventures and start-ups should take note of.

1.Gesture-based computing: The mobile phone and the tablet are creating new experiences for the end user with touch-based features. Several media organizations are now experimenting with the best ways to offer up an optimal experience that focuses on gesture-based computing. As the technology advances in this direction, news organizations should not wait but embrace this new of form of interaction to create a unique news experience for the user. One website worth checking out to explore this topic is Josh Clark’s book on interface design principles for the mobile phone: http://globalmoxie.com/index.shtml

2. Visualization of data: Data, data, and more data. This was a big theme of the festival this year with many panels focusing on how data can be understood, analyzed, and visually presented. Several tools and techniques were discussed to help the media organization take advantage of the power of data. In particular, the MIT Media Lab showcased some of their latest innovations in this area. Here are some of the MIT Media Lab websites to check out for inspiration:
MIT Media Lab’s Luminoso: http://lumino.so/
MIT Media Lab’s Funf: http://funf.media.mit.edu/about.html

3. Entrepreneurialism: The business startup and an entrepreneurial mindset was a big focus at this year’s festival. Several panels focused on how an individual can get their business idea going and how sustain it. News organizations (whether new entities or existing news organizations) that seek to innovate should not wait to jump in and take the risk. A few resources to check out in this area include:

A research project underway by the University of Tampere, USC Annenberg and Waseda University focuses on 63 journalism start-ups from the United States, Europe and Japan: http://www.submojour.net/
Entrepreneurial statistics, reports and resources by the Kauffman Foundation: http://www.kauffman.org/researchandpolicy/the_study_of_entrepreneurship.aspx

4.The Interface – beyond the website to the tablet to the mobile: Throughout the festival, several panels and sessions focused on how to best make use of the interface whether it was the mobile phone, the tablet or the app. No longer can news organizations think only about the website but they need to expand their focus to other interfaces in order to experiment with new methods and forms of storytelling that can attract new and different audiences.

5. Open-source and its growth: This is an underlying theme at SXSW Interactive every year. This year was no different in which the open-source movement and culture lives strong. News ventures can find collaborative opportunities, new distribution mechanisms and other advantages to embracing the open-source movement.
A definite resource to check out in this area is Open Advice – an online book about understanding the open-source environment and how to get involved in this community: http://open-advice.org/

Photo Credit: helgabj via photopin cc