A year goes by real quick when you are busier than a bee. I will be somewhat humbled to end the year shortly with over a dozen new websites and countless campaigns under my belt.
For one of these digital initiatives, our agency launched a new digital publication for the life sciences market called "Pharma's Almanac". During the production process I put time aside to do some exploratory research on the ways in which brands on improving the reader's experience online. I'm somewhat embarressed to say I (somehow) missed the launch of two key sites that Google has developed which I'm now happily following; Google Arts & Culture and The Keyword. I also discovered Medium.com this year by digging into the platform behind ReadThink.com - a HubSpot curated business blog for like-minded business creatives.
Each of these platforms offer something very unique.
Google Arts & Culture: Explore the world's creative arts through virtual 360 tours, video, photography and editorial. It's simply fantastic. You can also see what's happening in the fine arts near to your current location. The hero image above is an exploration of color use by the modern master Yoo Youngkuk. Google just doesn't throw these images online, they find ways to engage the reader by making these interactive. In this case, they created a color selection tool to filter the artists work in a very inventive way. Yoo Youngkuk Color Exploration
The Keyword: There's so much to follow online these days. And, honestly, I have a lot of difficulty picking where to start. Recently (Sept 2016), Google consolidated their many blog channels into one mega-blog and it's lovely. :) I'm sure that there's a ton of user metrics going on behind the scenes and I'm getting profiled a million different ways to deliver releavant content my way -- and everything has a "googley" spin to it. But, all that aside, I don't mind. This blog is delivering some really exciting stories and I'm drawn in by the positive theme they share. Everything is covered from Travel, Technology to Google Doodles, News, Arts, Culture and lots more. Here's a sample piece about how a teacher in San Diego is re-engineering his classroon to foster creativity. Matt Martin, Chemistry Teacher + Google for Education
Medium.com: This platform is just slick. There's really no other way to describe it. Yes, the stories and editorial content is informative, intelligent and sometimes hilarious. But it's the little UX choices that they have made that make this site stand out. One such feature is the abiltiy to highlight any amount of text and save it - share it - comment on it. This is a fantastic way to provide feedback to an author, but also remind yourself what part of an article resonated with you the most. It's like a virtual highlighter -- similar to the physical ones you might have used in college to help study. A ton of companies have now leveraged this platform to host their blog. So, I'm sure we will be seeing more features pile in with the diversity of readers now following medium.com websites. Check out ReadThink.com to get a good sample of what's going on on Medium.
Pharma's Almanac: As you explore these sites, be sure to also check out our team's fine work on PharmasAlmanac.com. You will see some design influences from around the web for sure. We have big plans in the works as we aspire to become one of the leading mags in the industry.