CategoryDigital

Anything Digital

Digital: Spotify is Testing Out ‘Sponsored Songs’ Program

Spotify is testing ‘Sponsored Songs’ program that allows labels to promote individual songs to non-paying users, the company has confirmed.

Unlike the regular ads, which appear on banners, Sponsored Songs are integrated into playlists that users follow. Users can opt out of this through a setting both on desktop and in-app.

If the test program is successful, Sponsored Songs could be rolled out officially to users on free tier, the company told TechCrunch. However, it remains unclear if the opt-out setting will still be available to non-paying users.

The program is an extension of Spotify’s effort to add more revenue streams. Since last year, Spotify has allowed brands to sponsor playlists, allowing them to add a logo and video ads.

With 140 million active users, Spotify earned a $US3.3 billion in revenue last year, but it still recorded an operating loss of $US389 million.

Digital: Google Launches Siri’s Competitor on iOS

To compete with Apple’s Siri, Google has launched Assistant for iOS at its I/O developer conference on Wednesday.

The AI-powered voice assistant was first introduced on the Pixel phone, and is currently used in over 100 million devices. Users can interact with Assistant through by voicing commands, typing queries, or taking a picture.

Currently, Google Assistant only supports English language, but upgrades for German, French, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese are expected to arrive soon.

Google Assistant is now available to download at App Store.

Digital: Instagram Launches New Web and Mobile Features

Instagram has rolled out new features into its website in an attempt to expand to areas with slow networks and inaffordable data.

Users can now share pictures and use the Explore tab on the platform’s mobile and desktop websites. Picture uploads feature is also available on the mobile site. However, some features such as video uploads, filters and Stories are still unavailable outside the app.

“Instagram.com (accessed from mobile) is a web experience optimized for mobile phones,” the company told TechCrunch. “It’s designed to help people have a fuller experience on Instagram no matter what device or network they are on.”

The upgrade is a tie-in of Instagram’s global growth strategy targeted at 80 per cent of the user base outside the US.

Digital: Best Platforms for Website

These days, everyone can build a website – but not all platforms are made equal. Web platforms vary in their templates, features, functionality, ease of use and cost – thus, each comes with its own pros and cons. Here are Studio 22’s version of best web platforms on the Net, and the pros and cons of using them:

Squarespace

Established in 2004, Squarespace arguably has the most beautiful templates in the Internet, with understated elegance and emphasis on visual/imagery content. Squarespace also allows you to customise the template – and the more adept you are in coding, the more you can alter the template to your liking. Squarespace is suitable for people in creative professions, such as designers, photographers, event organizers, bloggers and more. But there’s a catch: it’s more expensive compared with other platforms, with prices starting at US$12 per month. New users can get a 14-day free trial.

 

WordPress

As one of the most popular platform on the net, WordPress offers an extensive range of free and premium templates. WordPress is also simple and easy to use, even for beginners. The cost to use is generally pretty low, too. However, because a lot of people are using the platform, your website may end up looking generic. Customising the template can also be quite difficult if you have minimum coding experience.

 

Wix

With hundreds of templates for all kinds of industries, Wix provides a lot of advantages for users – such as easy-to-customise templates, user-friendly interface, options for additional Apps/plugins, and affordable prices. Furthermore, no coding knowledge is needed, as users can just click and drag to change the website’s look. However, if you require custom domain, you can’t get it from outside sources – getting premium membership at Wix is the only option available. You also need to back up your content before changing your template, which is impractical.

 

You can also explore other web platforms such as Weebly, Tumblr, Blogger and more.

Digital: What is SEO, and Why is It Important?

You may have heard the term, but do you actually know what SEO is? Why is everyone using SEO, and what can it do to your website? Here is a simple explanation of what SEO is and how it works.

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, can be understood as a technique to ensure that a website can appear / be found in search engines organically (non-paid) using relevant key words and phrases. This way, when people search the relevant terms online, they can find your website without any hassle, improving visibility and the chance of increased visitors and web traffic.

For example, if you have a graphic design business based in Sydney, you can optimise your website by ensuring they use search engine-friendly lines that customers would search for, such as “graphic design agency Sydney” etc.

How does SEO work?

Before understanding how SEO improves website’s visibility, it is important to understand how search engines work: Search engine crawls or scans over your website from page to page, indexes the words and phrases to assign them to particular key words, and then calculates the relevancy of each page.

This is where SEO comes in. SEO works by incorporating search engine-friendly textual elements into the website. This means including key words into the website elements, such as URLs and meta tags, as well as in the on-page content, such as articles and blog posts.

Tips

It is important to remember that this does not necessarily mean stuffing key words everywhere, but rather using them meaningfully in quality content. People may come for the key words, but they stay for the content.

Also, make sure that the search queries you are using are pertinent – that is, your target customers actually use these terms to search for your products and services. Research your customers’ habits and needs before you start picking key words.

You can start learning SEO with the thousands of resources available on the Internet, or hire an SEO service for long-term campaigns and other in-depth projects.

Event/Exhibition: Data Girls Workshop

Take part in improving women’s representation in STEM by joining this workshop.

Data Girls, presented by Keboola’s DataDriven, is a workshop that offers an introduction to data analytics and business intelligence exclusive to women. The program aims to provide an overview of data analytics infrastructure and best practices through a hands on case study, where participants will get to build their own analytics solution on real data with real business problems.

The workshops will be held in Sydney and Melbourne. No prerequisite knowledge needed – just bring your own laptop and charger. Lunch and refreshments provided.

For more information and registrations, visit DataDriven’s website.

Tuesday, February 28, 9am-6pm | TAL offices, 363 George St, Sydney

Thursday, March 2, 9am-6pm | Melbourne

Digital: How To Develop An Online Presence

In the creative digital field, it can be a bit difficult to stand out from the rest and attract clients. However, developing an online presence could help you get more recognition and introduce your works or services to a wider audience. Here are a few tips to get you started in building an online presence.

Set your objective and image

Before you get started, it’s important to have a complete understanding of your objectives. Do you want to network, solicit jobs, or sell products? Who are your target audiences, and what are their digital habits like? A goal will help you identify what needs to be included in your online efforts.

The next thing is image, which is an important element in achieving the objectives. How do you want to be seen? Online platforms are a perfect place to construct your image in details – colors, tones, themes, all are accounted. Make sure your image is coherent with the aforementioned goals to ensure that your message is consistent throughout.

Build a website

A website should be the hub of all information that you want to put out – from work portfolio to blog, from service offerings to contact details. “Things like a clear message (what your business is all about), easy-to-use navigation, an opt in giveaway (so you can start building your email list), a contact page, an about page, and some type of valuable content are required,” said Kate Erickson of EOFire.

Want to go the extra mile? Erickson advises the use of search engine optimization (SEO), which can help increase your page views. Even if you’re no expert, “There are a ton of great resources out there that can help, including those who you already know,” said Erickson.

“Ask for help from those around you who have enough knowledge to help you get started. The Google Keyword tool is also a great resource if you want to start with at least finding out what keywords you want your website to rank for.”

Go social

Join relevant social media platforms to further grow your presence. It is not necessary to join all social media sites on Earth – just ones that are pertinent to your business. For example, if you are running an accessory line targeted at women aged 18-25, promoting your business in Pinterest will yield better results than Snapchat.

Produce consistent content regularly

Content will invite people to take a look at your profile, but new content on a regular basis will keep them coming back for more. Your content should demonstrate your expertise and uniqueness, as well as provide some value for the audience. Again, make sure your content is consistent with your image, message and objective(s).

Network and engage

Send personal messages to fellow creative workers. Be responsive to people’s feedback on your social media page. Engage your audience by starting or replying to a public conversation where appropriate. Building a relationship with your peers and acknowledging your audiences not only establishes your presence, but could also lead to new opportunities.

Event/Exhibition: How to Land a Job at a Startup: 2017 Edition by GA + Spaceship

Is moving to a startup company one of your new year resolutions? This event by General Assembly and Spaceship might just help you achieve the goal.

How to Land a Job at a Startup: 2017 Edition features a panel discussion which will give out insider tips on startup careers – what startups look for, where to find the best jobs, and how to stand out from the crowd.

The panel, which is presented by co-founder of online retailer THE ICONIC, Adam Jacobs, will discuss:

  • What startup employers value/seek in candidates (and how these values differ from those of corporate/non-startup workplaces)
  • How to build a resume around those values
  • Resume + application – don’ts to avoid
  • Free tools to use

The event is free of charge. For more information and registration, visit General Assembly website.

February 22, 6-8pm | 100 Harris Street, Sydney

Art Galleries and Creative Spaces To Check Out In Redfern

When getting your art fix, the best places to check out reside within the creative villages in Redfern. Take a couple of your creative friends and spend a lovely crafternoon exploring the melting pot of cultures within the outskirts of Sydney.
Here are few inspiring galleries and spaces for you to check out:

White Rabbit
Described as a “sizable art gallery featuring contemporary Chinese works” founded by Kerr and Judith Neilson in 2000. White Rabbit is an ideal place to relax where you can also enjoy a street-level tea house with snacks.

Carriageworks
Located inside the industrial pockets of Redfern, Carriageworks breathes as a contemporary and multi-arts centre. Lead by local artists, Carriageworks engages with other creatives and audiences with contemporary ideas and issues.

Blakspot
A private art space in the core of Redfern, Blakspot pays tribute to our indigenous ancestors holding a collection of Aboriginal artworks.  Inspired by the natural flora and fauna of Australia as well as the stories of our original landowners, Blakspot is a great window into Australia’s history.

The Bearded Tit
Don’t get too excited by the name, the Bearded Tit is just a vibrant bar and art space on Regents St. With quirky decor, including wall-mounted animal heads and gilt mirrors, the Bearded Tit welcomes all walks of life who enjoy art and the occasional hair on the dog.

Nussinov Gallery
For Micha Nussinov fans, Nussinov Gallery is a home for all of Micha’s creative and audio works of art. The gallery exhibits the diverse and evocative range of her creations. Uncover the layers of her digital collages and her illustrations.

Digital: How To Become A UX Designer

In the IT world, UX designer is one of the most in-demand jobs currently. This, added by prospects of high remuneration and high job satisfaction rate, has increased people’s interest in the career significantly. But how does one become a UX designer? Is there any qualifications that one has to complete, or can it be learned on the go? Here are some explanations about the job, based on advice from UX experts.

Study and Research the Subject

Getting into UX design field is similar to entering a new country – you have to adapt to the new languages and practice. Researching the subject would help you transition and immerse in the subject. “Read, watch and listen to everything you can get your hands on in order to understand how UX Designers do what they do,” said Matthew Magain of UXMastery. While participating in a UX course could help improve your learning experience, you can also teach yourself through the content available on the Internet.

Learn the Relevant Tools and Skills

As a design job, it is important to keep training using softwares like Sketch, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Outside these traditional tools, Magain also recommended over 1000 tools and resources that are commonly used in the UX community.

You can also learn other skills, such as coding, to stay competitive in the job market. “You don’t have to learn code to be a successful UX designer,” said Jessica Ivins, faculty member at UX design school Center Centre. “But if you learn to code, you have many advantages as a UX designer. When you learn to code, you understand the medium you’re designing for.”

Gain Experience

Jumping into a UX internship or job right away might be overwhelming – try working on your personal project first. This way, you could build a portfolio in a low-risk environment.

“If your goal is an internship or entry-level position as a UI/UX Designer, you will need something to show,” said Lindsay Norman, product design at Pinterest. “Try designing a portfolio in Sketch or Illustrator starting with user flows, wireframes, interactions, and finally a high-fidelity mock. After that, redesign something in need of a redesign… Invent your own to-do list web app. Create a froyo delivery app. Design things that solve problems that you can personally relate to.”

Network with Other UX Designers

Get involved in various online communities or go to IT events and meet-ups. By building relations with fellow UX designers, you can get inspiration from their works, ask for advice when you need it, find out about unadvertised job opportunities, and even gain a mentor out of it. “You’ll never have a better source of knowledge than a mentor who’s done it all before,” said Friederike Geiken, creative development leader at Crayon Crunch.

“Soak up everything an experienced UX designer can offer you,” said Ivins. “[However] be careful not to demand too much of someone’s time. Start small and make it easy for people to help you.”