8 trends that will change the future of digital content

How designers can create content experiences that make sense in this ever-changing digital landscape.

The sands are shifting in the world of content, thanks to the continuous evolution of platforms and technology. Robin Barnes, digital director at Cedar, takes a look at some of the changes on the landscape horizon...

The way we consume content is changing almost as rapidly as the digital landscape itself. With every new announcement from both platforms and publishers, opportunities for more personalised, better mobile-optimised and more accessible content increases.

As we approach the midpoint of 2015, we're witnessing a growth in 'smarter content' – tailored not just to its audience but also to the form and function of the device it's consumed on. This content is set to engage users wherever they are and whatever the device they're using, with relevant, high quality content experiences.

01. Interactive mobile content

National Geographic is one of nine publishers Facebook has given access to Instant Articles

Facebook has given nine publishers including the Times, the New York Times, National Geographic and BuzzFeed access to Instant Articles and the initial results look amazing. These well-designed, interactive pieces of mobile content are opening up new opportunities for native brand advertising, targeted at specific readerships.

Some of the same publishers, namely BuzzFeed and the New York Times, are also working with Apple to improve their mobile content experience. The tech giant has announced it's ditching the Newsstand app and replacing it with Apple News, a sleek new reader app for iOS9.

Each media outlet will have its own channel within the News app and users will be able to search and 'favourite' different topics and publications. The more users interact with News, the more it learns about them.

02. Customisation and personalisation

As a result, the app will be able to create a personalised feed of curated articles based on their personal interests, users can also customise the layout of stories so that the reading experience is optimised for mobile.

Customisation and personalisation are fast becoming a trend with brands looking to really connect with their audiences, but they also need to be wary of using information about one's personal life in brand messaging which can quickly become creepy if used incorrectly.

03. User curation

Apple is not the only brand to make use of curating and customising content – earlier this year, Snapchat invited brands and publishers to get in on the action with the Discover channels, which provides curated news from partners like Sky News, National Geographic, MTV and Cosmopolitan.

It surely won't be long now before Snapchat begins producing its own content on Discover, much the way that Spotify and Reddit are looking to produce their own audiovisual content, diversifying their streaming offering to video.

04. Fully immersive video content

Fully immersive video content seems to be a trend set to take off, with brands from GoPro to Facebook investing time and money in virtual reality. Next year's consumer release of Oculus Rift's Crescent Bay is on the horizon and a multitude of developers at E3 revealed the types of content yet to transpire from virtual reality headsets.

We can be sure that the new emerging technologies and their hosted content will transport the wearer into whole other worlds where interaction with surroundings will be possible in a realistic and exciting way.

Next page: four more trends set to change the future of content