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Category: Awesome Things

Just a round-up of things we think are, well, awesome–whether it’s some hot jazz fusion or a brand new doo-hickey or cocktail recipes. Follow us here to find out what we think are just out-of-this-world good.

What’s CSS Grid and Why Should You Care?

What’s CSS Grid and Why Should You Care?

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

CSS Grid Layout, now supported in all major browsers, is rapidly becoming an essential tool in the front-end developer’s kit. So let’s take a good look at what this emerging framework is, how people use it, how it differs from other frameworks and how it’s bound to change the design landscape for good.

What is CSS Grid?

The CSS Grid Layout is the newest and most advanced CSS layout framework. The defining characteristic of CSS Grid is that it is inherently two-dimensional, while standard CSS layouts are only one-dimensional. Breaking out of the 1D limitation opens a world of possibility for designers that will take years to explore fully. Meanwhile, for many designers, CSS Grid is the long-awaited solution to the problem of designing highly sophisticated responsive page layouts in HTML and CSS without resorting to ad-hoc solutions that almost feel like hacks, often involving loads of JavaScript, PHP and more.

How you can use it

As designers use CSS Grid Layout in more projects every month, the new framework is rapidly going mainstream. As of Fall 2017, it’s already a safe bet to use CSS Grid for a significant fraction of your front-end projects, especially if the project is long-term. If you’re looking for great examples and templates to give you some inspiration, there’s no better place to start than Grid by Example, put together by Rachel Andrew, the brilliant designer responsible for most of the code in CSS Grid.

Difference from Bootstrap and Flexbox

For many designers, Bootstrap and Flexbox have been the solution of choice when facing the challenge of building responsive layouts, given the limitations of HTML and standard CSS.

CSS Grid vs. Bootstrap

Because of Bootstrap’s status as the leading grid framework, many designers are comparing it to the web-native newcomer: CSS Grid. Although Bootstrap doesn’t suffer from some of the backward-compatible concerns of the still-emerging CSS Grid Layout, it’s widely believed that CSS Grid is the future of layout design all the same. Not only is CSS Grid perfectly capable of reproducing nearly any layout built with Bootstrap, it often does it in a more efficient, elegant and open-ended fashion.

CSS Grid vs. Flexbox

Many CSS experts hold the position that CSS Grid Layout and Flexbox are complementary solutions that designers can and should use together. CSS Grid is at its best when building an overall 2D layout, addressing both rows and columns at any level of complexity. Flexbox, in turn, works well for 1D fine-tuning within the overall 2D layout to align and position the smaller pieces of content concerning a single row or column.

How CSS Grid is changing the design landscape

Now that it’s possible to efficiently and elegantly design highly responsive sites from directly within a 2D CSS framework, the bar for building responsive sites has is dramatically lower. We are likely entering an era in which highly responsive sites reach ubiquity almost immediately, and designers begin exploring far more sophisticated layouts that will redefine the notion of responsive altogether.

Lingering challenges

Like every emerging design solution, even one on its way to becoming the new standard, the CSS Grid Layout does face a few stubborn obstacles that may prevent it from becoming the most favored solution for at least a few more months. The most notable issue is browser-compatibility. Although CSS Grid is now compatible with the latest versions of all the key browsers (with the last major holdout Microsoft Edge finally announcing compatibility this month) millions of people still use old versions of browsers, and there are always situations, such as corporate legacy systems, that could raise justifiable concerns. Some have suggested that the answer is to have your CSS Grid-based layout automatically serve up the mobile version of your site in such situations. However, if this (or any other smart workaround) won’t work for you or your clients, then you might want to wait a few months before making CSS Grid your default design solution. All the same, it’s time to learn this emerging framework inside and out, as it’s only a matter of time before CSS Grid plays a big part in your design decisions.

The importance of a new dimension

The CSS Grid Layout is quickly catching on, and forward-thinking designers are beating the drum and singing its praises. This wouldn’t be happening if it wasn’t the case that the extra dimension provided by CSS Grid is far more than a responsive-layout expedient. Rather, it’s a vehicle for a more natural and elegant approach to layouts as a whole.

Wanna nerd out on design and dev? Hit. Us. Up.

More VR apps you need to download…now

More VR apps you need to download…now

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Yeah, we love VR. The options are endless for creating mind-twisting experiences. That obviously appeals to us as, well, experience designers. But on a more visceral level, what’s more fun than immersing oneself in the metaverse? We already did a round-up of some of our favorite VR apps, but we just had to share some more. Almost all of the following apps don’t even require an expensive headset or ultra-powerful computer to run them–just your mobile phone. So here are more VR apps you need to check out, like, now:

Facebook 360

Remember the eclipse?! This app was one of the best VR apps to experience it. For those who couldn’t travel to the path of totality, CNN teamed up with Volvo to live-stream the eclipse from multiple locations in 4K Ultra HD and 360 degrees. With Facebook 360 and Samsung Gear VR, viewers could experience what the eclipse looked like in seven different time zones from seven different angles.

Expeditions

With a growing list of 200+ expeditions, Google Expeditions is one of the best educational VR apps from Google Cardboard. As the “guide,” you have the opportunity to lead a group of explorers through your adventures. Take a virtual trip to historical landmarks, travel through the infinities of space, or dive into the deep depths of the ocean.

 

 

Insidious


Another Google Cardboard app, Insidious VR has the checks all the horror boxes. Tension and suspense build with sinister sounds, eerie signs, and, of course, heart-skipping jump- scares. Horror, as a genre, has been extremely successful with VR, and apps like Insidious make it clear why. 

FullDive VR

With over one million videos to explore, FullDive VR creates a movie theater environment for you to watch your videos. You can also browse the internet in VR mode. Currently, though, the app is only available for Android users.

SoundStage


The VR music application allows you to instantly transform your room into a personal studio or DJ sandbox. The retro low- polygon instruments connected with colorful cables are simple in design but appealing. You can play around with wireless controls like drums, synthesizers, cassettes and speakers. With major updates that allow the user to import and export sounds, SoundStage is a fun app for living out your musical dreams in the comfort of your bedroom or living room. It is available on Steam and Viveport for the HTC Vive. 

End Space VR


Since space is the ideal 360-degree experience, End Space VR takes advantage of this bottomless, limitless region. You can look and travel in all directions with your spacecraft and fight intergalactic enemies with weapons. With the help of excellent graphics and 3D immersive audio, you tend to forget that your feet are still firmly on earth.

VR Roller Coaster


Rollercoasters aren’t for everyone (i.e. they can be terrifying), but VR Roller Coaster gives users the thrill of riding one without that whole possible loss of life-and-limb thing.

Do you have any favorite VR apps? Or maybe you just wanna get down and nerdy about experience design? Hit us up.

 

We Built It: V6 by Vantage Data Centers Web Experience

We Built It: V6 by Vantage Data Centers Web Experience

We’re human. We like to occasionally brag about ourselves–especially when we build something cool. Today, we’re introducing a new regular feature in the Hall of Awesome called “We Built It.” In this and future posts, we’ll examine some of our favorite projects. Today, we’re giving you a glimpse at a recent launch we created for our client, Vantage Data Centers. Vantage was in the process of building a new, state-of-the-art data center facility (called V6) on their campus. They asked Mighty & True to help with the pending launch through the creation of a variety of digital content that would show off just how cool this data center was going to be. Easy peasy.

Our User-Centric Strategy

We knew a unique web experience had to be part of our strategy, but we didn’t want it to be stale. These buyers would require information that would explain the value of the center, but we wanted to get V6 noticed in a new and creative way. Our core idea was to give this new facility its own identity. Having V6 look different in a commoditized space was a tall task, but something that we felt strongly about. To make this happen, we started by looking for inspiration in places you wouldn’t exactly associate with data centers: high-end hotels, spas, condos and modern furniture.

V6 site inspiration
Some sites that inspired our design direction for the new page for Vantage

We looked there simply because we wanted to provide, well, a distinctive brand around the V6 center and its value. This site needed to stand out with its own personality–something that Vantage’s prospective tenants would take notice of. We had an idea for the kind of experience we wanted to build, but before we could even think of design, we had to answer some basic questions:

  • What is the main purpose of the page?
  • How should we organize the content?
  • What are the goals of each individual section, and what messages do we want them to convey?

After talks with the client, we found that one of the page’s main jobs would be to entice prospective tenants to set up a tour of a facility upon completion. Everything that we created around the customer journey would have to support that goal.

We first developed a “content map” to help us get an idea of how each part of the page would do that. This content map isn’t a wireframe. It’s a framework meant to establish a basic structure for the customer journey as well as the different sections’ goals and specific messaging for each. It also helped us wrap our heads around what kind of digital content we had and what new content we needed to create. While there were some tweaks along the way, the basic structure we established for the page in the content map remained constant.

This document was indispensable in helping us organize content and messaging throughout the build.

Thinking About Design

We began this project with a kernel of an idea. Once the structure of the site was, for the most part, locked, we could actually start to think about how this particular site would look and work. We began with simple style tiles to identify the colors and typography that would carry this distinctive V6 feel.

Blue Style Tile with sans-serif font
An example of one the style tiles we developed to guide design. We used a few different color palette and font combinations.

After we settled on the right design approach, we investigated possible interactions that would help tell the story and drive users to want to know more. These included interesting parallax effects, a virtual tour, some sort of map function and a way to display the status of the building’s construction. We created an InVision board to organize some of our favorites.

InVision Board with interactions
We gathered interaction examples from other sites into an InVision mood board.

Once we had a firmer idea of the interactions we planned for the page, we moved to wireframes and design. One of the earliest design decisions we made had to do with the hero image. We wanted a sleek, modern tech feel to the video–something that wouldn’t be out of place in a high-end car ad or a smartphone release. Another neat element we decided on in our initial design discovery phase is the background of the page. If you look, you’ll see that it’s a black background, with a light outline of the actual building blueprint, and it has a slight parallax scroll movement as well. It’s the little touches.

The opening of the final hero video
blueprint background
You can see the very subtle blueprint in the page’s background

Development

If you read our recent post on the all-importance of the design-to-dev hand-off, you know that it’s vital to have all your ducks in a row. When we start development, we like to have wireframes locked down. If you’re at all in a creative field, you know that there are always the inevitable 11th-hour tweaks, but with some preparation, it’s easy to roll with the punches. We had already decided what kind of interactions we wanted on this page, but it was time to finally build them.

It was important to get the specs of V6 very high on the page. The page’s main audience (i.e. people looking for data center space) are typically very technology savvy but want to know some basics quickly. So we wanted one of the first interactions on the page to display the primary differentiators of the center. Getting users to read a lot of information in a way that isn’t obtrusive or deleterious to user experience is a delicate balance. To solve this problem, we decided on a parallax scroll of different “cards” displaying V6’s different features. Here’s one of the sites that inspired us:

This is darn fine use of parallax scrolling

And here’s the V6 scroll:

We found a way to display all of V6’s features in an unobtrusive and interesting way

We also wanted to show users the progress of the build, but we wanted an interaction that was as eye-catching as it was informative, without interrupting the flow of the page. We added a slider that displays the 3D render of the site against a live camera view we used to show the actual status of construction:

Users can slide between the 3D render and the current state of construction

Other Awesome Features

As excited as we were to make something that looks great, we also knew that the site had a job to do: get people to request tours of the facility. To that end, we added virtual content that helped a prospective buyer to actually experience the center before it was even open. If you’ve ever cruised the Hall of Awesome, you know that we’re big fans of VR. We’re always pumped when we get to add VR functionality to a project. For this build, it was a perfect application to pique the interest of prospective tenants. Other additions to the page include a CTA for an informational video on V6, a content offer and, of course, a form to request a tour.

VR Tour of Vantage’s V6

Putting the Cherry on Top

This particular project was one of our favorite recent builds. It gave us a chance to do what we love best: use good user-centric design as an essential demand generation tool. It’s pretty much what we live to do. This build also challenged us to think through how to best balance disruptive design, displaying all the pertinent information and providing a positive user experience. If you’re thinking through similar challenges or want to find out how we can make you look good, drop us a line. We’d love to chat.

Light Field Capture for Awesome VR Experiences

Light Field Capture for Awesome VR Experiences

Different Way of Capturing Images

The light field capture photographic system is something different. When you take a picture with one of these cameras, the camera gets the direction of the light rays as well as the intensity and color of the light. The light sensor records all this information so the exact image can be reproduced when the image is viewed. The camera has an array of many small lenses placed one focal length in front of the camera sensor so that what is eventually captured is an array of stereoscopic images. The first such cameras demonstrated at the Stanford University Graphics Laboratory in 2004 employed 90,000 micro lenses. Using this array means there are no truly unfocussed parts of the image–the focus can be restored for any part of the image when it is viewed.

Five Revolutionary Advances

  1. Light field capture has the same 3D virtual reality capability for real life images as synthetically produced images have had up until now.
  2. The images are recreations of what was really there at the point the images were photographed. Within the space, a viewer can turn and move around while lighting and textures remain consistent.
  3. The light field capture system does not record a large number of complete image graphics. The recording system is based on ideas developed in holographic technology. Instead of images, it stores detailed light-flow information which is later reconstructed and played back. This kind of recording amounts to a compression technique which increases potential storage capability.
  4. The 3D capability of the light field capture is enhanced by the fact that the light information incorporates multiple binocular pairs of potential images.
  5. The light field capture system is sold as a unit including all that is needed to produce a full-hour of 360-degree 3D virtual reality content.

Lytro

“Light field photography is different from traditional photography because the cameras can measure the geometry of the light that strikes the image sensor…with enough computer power, Lytro’s software can then reconstruct the scene that was captured in three dimensions.”

Lytro, a company founded by Ren Ng, a graduate of the Stanford University Graphics Laboratory, developed and marketed

  • The first consumer light field camera is a neo-box camera with 8GB (350 images) or 16 GB (750 images) of built-in memory.
  • The ILLUM, which came out in 2012 has a 30 to 250 mm (35 MM equiv.) f/2 lens. The image stored on the memory card could be refocused on viewing so that any detail can be brought into focus. The Lytro still field cameras never made a substantial impact on the marketplace. The viewing system was too cumbersome for professional photographers. The adjustable focus option was not enough to attract them.
  • The Lytro Immerge was announced in November 2015. This light field capture system was designed as the Future of VR, creating virtual reality (VR) content.

VR Image Cameras

The Lytro Immerge camera entered the market in 2016. It comes as a complete system, providing all the necessary hardware, software and services to capture, process, edit and play back 360 video content. It features a flexible, configurable dense light field camera array as well its own server for storage and processing, an editor system, and a playback engine for VR and other viewing platforms. The Immerge server can store up to one hour of light field capture. The server can process the light field data.

Because all the data about a given “light field” is captured, Immerge allows for virtual 3D views from any point, facing any direction, and with any field of view. Immerse places viewers in the action by replicating natural light flow. It corrects stereo alignment to keep the scenes consistent as viewers move their heads. This potential creates a highly realistic immersive VR experience.

The Lytro Immerge system is described as “a five-ringed globe that captures what Lytro is calling a ‘light-field volume.'” The system consists of layers, each of which fully captures a cubic meter of light rays. The final output yields five cubic meters of space that are fully actualized. The camera captures all the light rays in the volume of light surrounding the camera. The software plays back all the rays at very high frame rates and high-resolution. The viewer can move around the light ray array.

The output of the Immerge system is designed to be compatible with the next generation of VR viewers, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC VIVE, and Sony Play Station VR. It also works with smartphone systems mounted in VR viewers.

The Lytro Cinema promises to take the Immerge model light field cinema camera one step further, correcting some of the artifacts that can be distracting in the Immerge images.

Mighty and True helps companies that make technical products create awesome experiences for customers. If you want to find out how we can help you, feel free to contact us .

Some of Our Favorite VR Apps

Some of Our Favorite VR Apps

We’re mildly obsessed with VR, so we decided to share some of our favorite apps we’ve found. Jump in!

Google Cardboard

Although they definitely deserve a mention, this quick list isn’t counting the YouTube app, the Google Street View app or the Cardboard app itself.

Expeditions

Designed for the classroom, Expeditions allows you to guide your class to any of more than 200 destinations, including famous landmarks, the ocean’s depths and yes, the final frontier.

Apollo 15 Moon Landing VR


Built by NASA to celebrate Apollo 15’s 45th anniversary, this app lets you drive around in your rover through a realistic lunar landscape, reconstructed with NASA’s original imagery. You can even feel the vibrations and bumps in the “road.”

NYT VR

The New York Times commissioned this one, so it’s no surprise that the app shows you the world from a journalist’s POV. It’s gotten great press, and not just from the New York Times.

Chair in a Room


This creepy, but popular app places you at a table with newspaper clippings of a kidnapping as the lights go out…

Proton Pulse


Use your head to play space Pong in VR, roughly speaking. Also available on Rift, Vive and Gear.

Note, that the newer Google Daydream can play most of the Google Cardboard games and apps, with a few exceptions and limitations.

Oculus Rift

Robo Recall


This high-action, first-person shooter is getting wild praise from all sides. In a nutshell, you are tasked with stopping robots from taking over the world.

Chronos


Battle your way through a labyrinth, a maze, a dungeon. Chronos is a puzzle, a mystery, a high adventure. There’s as much beauty as there is danger in this one.

EVE: Valkyrie


An extremely popular multiplayer spaceship cockpit simulator game. The freedom to swivel your head in every which way gives space-dogfighting in VR a thrilling realism that sets it apart from its regular screen counterparts. You can now find Valkyrie on Vive and Playstation VR as well.

Windlands


This first person exploration game lets you fly as if in a slow-motion wingsuit through a surreal, shattered, ancient civilization. There’s no one out to get you. Just enjoy the flight.

Samsung Gear VR

EVE: Gunjack


Fight off incoming space pirates from the comfort of your gun-turret in this exceptionally well-designed space shooter.

NextVR

It’s broadcast-quality VR, and it’s been battle-tested after live streaming the US Open, NASCAR races and the US Presidential debate.

Land’s End


Land’s End is a picturesque VR puzzle and adventure game from the Monument Valley creators.

Netflix VR

You can now watch Netflix in your head (set). However, there are some concerns over the potentially harmful effects of prolonged sessions on the eyes. Samsung, for example, recommends taking the headset off and giving your eyes a break every half hour. Requires a Netflix account.

Samsung Internet

After numerous complaints that you couldn’t access the Web in Gear VR, Samsung delivered.

HTC Vive

Raw Data


In Raw Data, you must rely on your ability to physically dodge the incoming punches and bullets of your robot enemies!

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes


This is a unique group game. Your headset has you trapped in a room with a ticking time bomb that’s going to go off soon. Your friends, who aren’t wearing headsets, have to hurry to a website to get the instructions to help you defuse the bomb before it’s too late. You can also get this one on Gear.

Tilt Brush (by Google)


You can now draw in 3D space. That’s right, and you can paint in neon light. That’s the promise of Tilt Brush, which gives you an area the size of a room to work your magic.

The Assembly


A mysterious, stylistic, first-person game with a rich storyline that begins with a puzzle you must complete in an underground, scientific institute.

It’s worth taking a good look at the newish Playstation VR as well. We’ll have to circle back soon and see how the Playstation-powered headset and its app library compares to its rivals above. Stay tuned.

If you want to talk about how to incorporate VR to create amazing user experience, or you just want to geek out, drop us a line.

3 Ways to Use Spotify’s API to Create Awesome User Experience

3 Ways to Use Spotify’s API to Create Awesome User Experience

In the world of digital music services, Spotify has earned its place as one of the best and most innovative providers in the industry today. We’re pretty big fans of the service ourselves. But did you know that developers and website owners can take advantage of the brains behind Spotify by accessing their freely available application programming interface (API)? Access to the API means that businesses can offer more awesome web applications with enhanced user experiences.

API’s are the future of website and mobile development, opening up new ways for innovation and web experience. Many organizations today integrate multiple API’s into a single application, transforming their businesses without reinventing the wheel.

The Spotify REST API offers a creative way of accessing Spotify data, while providing a rich user interface for users. The API returns data in a JSON format directly from their catalog such as: songs, artists, and albums. JSON is a data format that is not dependent on any scripting language, and is available for integration into many web infrastructure.

The API can also be used to access account data like playlists and music saved on a user’s account; providing access only with a user authorization token.

Adding some sort of music integration to your digital product’s interface or design hits a lot of sweet-spots for us because we’re music geeks and we love rock-solid user experience.  So we’ve come up with three ways you can use to use the Spotify API to create awesome user experiences for your web application:

Host a Spotify contest on your website

Your business model doesn’t even have to be tangentially related to music to run a music contest. As long as you have customers who are music fans, you can run a contest on your web application using the Spotify API. This will give you an opportunity to connect with your customers in more meaningful ways, and let them show off their musical tastes.

You could create a collaborative playlist that lets users suggest songs for your company’s music rotation. A wedding apparel design business could have customers vote on their favorite wedding music. It’s a great way to keep your business on the minds of your customers without using hard-sell methods.

Create a Simple Search Experience

Search function is used by many web applications to create a rich user-experience for website visitors. Even though your customers can go directly to Spotify and do a search on their own, bringing the search option to them means that you can give them a more memorable search experience from within your website. This also means that users can search and create data records on your application directly from the API. This function isn’t only limited to website applications, there are many example mobile applications on GitHub created using the Spotify API.

The search feature can be used to create a favorite list on social applications, or create a playlist on a website and a whole lot more. It’s simple, and your users only have to do a search and save the data to their accounts. The API is designed for remote access, and because it returns data in JSON format, it’s easy to integrate it into different types of applications.

Authentication and Authorization

Retrieving data is one of the common uses of the API. But you can also access user account information, and use it to authenticate users on your platform. Authentication has to be done with care, because once the API retrieves the credentials, your system will have to decrypt and store the data securely. User’s permission is normally required to access and manipulate the data, so developers use OAuth (an open standard for authorization) to get this job done.

Using the Spotify API to Market your brand is an indirect marketing strategy, and gives your brand more exposure by creating an unforgettable user-experience. We can help you do cool stuff like this too! Give us a shout to learn more.

And by the way, here’s a playlist we made full of some of our favorite artists from our hometown of Austin, Texas.

More Content Tips for Music Tech Makers

More Content Tips for Music Tech Makers

Us Mighty & Truers are kind of music geeks. That’s why we’re always up for helping makers of music tech up their marketing game. We recently wrote up a post talking about what kinds of content music tech makers should create. We wanted to do a little bit more on that theme, so enjoy!

For some blogs, content creation is easy as snapping their fingers. The ideas, titles and posts just seem to come together and never stop. However, for music tech creators, it’s not quite as straightforward. Here are four tips to get those creative juices flowing so you can leave consumers and distributors wanting more.

Make your content valuable

This tidbit applies across the board. You won’t draw too many people if you just post about how much you love a certain brand of midi keyboards or random anecdotes from your life. People want to know how this will affect them. They want to know why it should matter, how much it’s going to matter, and finish reading the article with a better understanding than they had before.

For example, let’s say you’ve been wanting to write an article about microphones. A good idea for any music tech enthusiast, yeah, but that’s all it is: an idea. By expanding on it, you can focus your target demographic and appeal to your niche more. For example:

  • “7 Must Have Microphones for Thrash Metal Bands”
  • “The Best Microphones of 2017”
  • “The Technical Differences Between Stage Mics and Voice-Over Mics”
  • “Popular Mic Brands Used by Popular Bands”

The possibilities are endless, but it’s up to you to decide which one will fit your target audience better. Remember, idea<concept<execution, and you can never go wrong.

Be brief, but dense

There are a few good reasons why brevity is the soul of wit, especially when it comes to blogging. For one, you need to take into account the average reader’s attention span. Most web users are just looking for something quick and easy. Something they can skim while they’re on their lunch breaks. That’s why 250 words are considered the standard for content.

This might sound like a let-down if you planned on a 2000 word post on why the Audio-Technica AT2020USB PLUS is vastly superior to a Blue Yeti microphone, but don’t worry. This actually saves you time, effort, and allows you to spread your content out over time to ensure that you’ll rarely run out of ideas.

Don’t fear the jargon

Chances are you’re not writing for a general audience, so don’t be afraid to you use jargon. If you need to say XLR cables, then say XLR cables. Don’t be afraid that you’ll scare off any new readers because chances are your audience is savvy enough to know what you mean.

But don’t try to stuff jargon and lingo in just to stuff it in. If you do it too often you come across as someone who’s trying to sound like an authority versus someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. Try to keep your language easy and breezy, but don’t be afraid to talk shop.

Experiment!

Content has such a wide definition these days that just about anything could be called content. Twitter post, a witty Facebook meme, or even a picture on Instagram. Whether it’s good content is a different story. Your content style should reflect your blog’s tone, style and intention. But don’t be afraid to experiment from time to time. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Though too much spice can change the overall flavor, so make sure you don’t drive off your readers by changing that flavor.

Consider making video reviews, conducting interviews with leading figures or users of the tech in your category. You could even do some cross-platform promotion to further engage your target audience, and attract the consumers and distributors you’ve wanted for years.

 
If you’re a music tech maker looking to up your marketing game, drop us a line! We’d love to talk some shop.

Four Useful Content Types You Should Create as a Music Tech Maker

Four Useful Content Types You Should Create as a Music Tech Maker

You have a sick new piece of gear. Maybe it’s a guitar pedal. Maybe it’s a drum head made from space-age materials or an ultra-sensitive, omni-directional mic made from discarded cicada shells and Italian marble. Whatever it is, you need to get it in front of distributors and consumers. How do you do that?

There’s a simple hack: content marketing. But with so many content options, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to decide where to start or what attracts customers in the space. Some brands aren’t even sure where to start let alone make content marketing work in their digital strategy.

The good news is there are simple, yet highly effective content types that you can begin to focus on to draw likely prospects to your company. We’ve outlined four things that will help get your gear in front of the right folks.

#1 Live-Streaming Videos

Did you know that people spend three times longer watching a live video versus one that’s been pre-recorded? Tools like Facebook Live, Periscope and Instagram Stories are generating crazy engagement on social media. You can use these platforms to draw your audience into your culture and sound, humanizing your brand and making you more relatable.

Live-streaming is a brilliant way to connect with your social followers while increasing brand awareness. Here are a few ways you can begin leveraging this content type for your music tech brand:

  • Take your audience behind-the-scenes in how you put together a product
  • Put on an exclusive “mini-concert” featuring an artist that uses your product.
  • Host Q&A sessions; give prospects and customers an opportunity to ask you questions and receive immediate responses
  • Provide a live demo to give your users and prospects a chance to see what your product can really do

#2 High-Quality Images

Visuals absolutely ROCK (heh, see what we did there?!) on social media. In fact, Facebook posts with images see 2.3 times more engagement than posts without. Also, articles that have an image once every 75-100 words receive double responses on social media than those lacking visuals. Speaking of which:

Instagram boasts over 600 million active users who are regularly liking, commenting, and reposting visuals on a daily basis.

The point: ramping up your images will get you noticed on social media. Publishing visual content that complements your message enriches your marketing, and keeps followers coming to your page. The beauty about the music tech industry is that there are unlimited opportunities to share photos that showcases your brand culture.

Commit to sharing at least two to five images a day on social media. On sites like Instagram, using hashtags is a must to new followers finding your content. Sites like Top-Hashtag and Hashtagify.me are ideal to finding popular ones in your niche.

#3 YouTube Videos

YouTube is the second largest search engine site. Mobile consumption of YouTube videos rises 100 percent every year. Your market is definitely engaging on this platform (see the gazillion demo and how-to videos made by actual users), and it’s important that your company shows up as a credible force in the industry.

There are many ways you can build up your channel to boost traffic, increase engagement and generate new contacts for prospective clients. In addition to creating product videos, here are a few other topics to consider along with SEO tips to optimize your YouTube videos for better ranking:

  • What are the most common questions distributors and consumers have within the industry? Use each of these inquiries as video topics
  • Tell your story. Video storytelling is a powerful method to building relationships and making you more relatable
  • Leverage keywords that your audience is actively searching for. Include it in your title (preferably at the beginning) and organically sprinkle it throughout your description
  • Upload the video using the keyword as its filename
  • Always end your video with one strong call-to-action. Tell your viewers what to do next (either click on the link to opt-in to your list or comment, like, share your post)
  • Repurpose your blog content into video

#4 Blog Posts

Blogging is one of the best ways to position your brand as an expert and authority in your niche. You also significantly increase visibility. In fact, companies that blog have 55 percent more website visitors. Also, 71 percent of business bloggers say their blog increased visibility in their industries.

Your blog is another way your audience can find you in search engines. No matter how slick your website is, it simply isn’t enough. Every post is an additional piece of Internet real estate connected to your brand. You’ll attract qualified leads and generate sales by having a consistent blogging cadence in place.

Use an editorial calendar to help you plan, organize and schedule your content. Keep your audience in mind when publishing your content. What problems can you help them solve? What frequent questions are asked? How is your brand the solution that musicians, engineers or techs need? Your responses will help you generate winning topic ideas to blog about and share with your social media followers and email subscribers.

Conclusion

Implementing these tactics in your marketing will better position your brand for success online. In 2017, your customer is actively engaging in these content types so it’s kind of imperative that you build up your strategy to appeal to your audience. With consistency, you’ll increase your exposure, drive more traffic to your site and begin capturing leads to grow your brand.

If you’re a music tech marketer looking to get yourself noticed, drop us a line. We’d love to talk shop with you.

Four Things WebVR Means for Technology Brands

Four Things WebVR Means for Technology Brands

Virtual reality is the new kid on the block that’s catching everyone’s attention. Everything from VR games to photo-realistic simulations are making digital waves on every technology platform. But where does that leave regular old browsing? Is it meant to be left behind in the digital dust while everyone averts their gaze in their trendy new headsets? Not if Google’s new WebVR API has anything to say about it. Google wasted no time launching their own version of Mozilla’s ground-breaking code within a month of their browser competitor.

Now, Chrome supports virtual reality on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard. Does this mean that millions will now be able to surf the web like never before? Well, yeah, but this also has a huge impact for every technology brand and business. Here are just four things WebVR means for tech brands.

Taking brand loyalty to the next level

When customers think of your brand, their mind either flashes to the last thing they bought or your logo. It seems like a waste of all a technology to not do something a little more creative to instill a stronger sense of brand recognition. Imagine you’re just browsing along using WebVR, and suddenly, you’re transported into an immersive virtual world full of interesting eye candy extolling the virtues of Bose or Sony or another widget-maker. Your average Internet user probably isn’t a huge fan of ads, but they might feel a wee bit differently when they encounter a cool joyride brought to you by WebVR.

Endless PR potential

Speaking of brand recognition, WebVR has given brands endless possibilities for public relations. Some of these could include things like:

  • A brand new educational experience utilizing VR. Think WebVR seminars with thousands of people in the virtual conference room
  • Live events and giveaways during real life events in public places
  • Virtual tours and a closer look at the people who actually run the company
  • A plethora of showcase possibilities

Sit back and imagine, opening up your email and receiving a newsletter reminding you about the release date of a product you’ve had your eye on. It could be anything really–the latest Apple product, a new watch or anything from a designer catalog. Now imagine you’re putting on your VR headset and actually interacting with a life-size digital replica of that very product. It’s the 21st centuries’ take on window shopping–all from the comfort of your home.

Virtual tours

Virtual tours are becoming increasingly more popular thanks, in part, to VR. With WebVR, it’s safe to say that it won’t be much longer until every vacation, rental, real estate and apartment listing will have a virtual tour option. Of course, this won’t just extend to property. You could shrink down and (virtually) go inside a router or other piece of tech to see what makes it tick.

The dawning of a new era

Firefox and Chrome already have millions of users, so time is the only thing holding up WebVR’s progress. There are still plenty of skeptics. It’ll take time to refine the API, and for regular users and businesses need to warm up a little more to virtual reality. That being said, the stage is already set, we’re just waiting on the players.

Interested in keeping up with the latest awesome VR developments? Drop us a line.

The Official Mighty & True Austin Bar Guide

The Official Mighty & True Austin Bar Guide

At Mighty & True, we’re proud to have our world headquarters in Austin, Texas. From the music to the food to the chill vibes, ain’t no better place to call home. So we take it as a sacred honor to enlighten travelers as to the delights to be had here in the Violet Crown. Whether you’re in town for SXSW or just barnstorming through–you’re gonna want to wet your whistle while your here. The map below is our gift to you–some of our favorite local bars and watering holes.