Augmented reality—the mashup of real life and digital life—is inevitable. This emerging platform is perfect for storytellers, and the tech is continually being simplified. It’s time to play and explore, but don’t expect mass adoption just yet.
While technology like Google Goggles is still a couple years away, the tools for creating AR experiences have never been easier. Companies like Layar and its Creator website offer simple ways to create augmented interactives. Imagine your user waving a phone over a photograph in your print publication, and the portrait comes alive—no QR codes required. Think Harry Potter-style newspapers!
Other companies like BuildAR have focused on producing mobile experiences on the Junaio platform. Currently, the content produced for AR platforms is either light or gimmicky, so storytellers and journalists should experiment and get ahead of this tech. AR is achievable now for consumption on a smartphone.
Data visualization & infographics
Tell engaging stories through data with these versatile visual tools. Little to no programming or design skills are required . . . but they certainly help. This medium is a craft, so treat it as such.
If you’re starting with a spreadsheet or a database, try IBM’s Many Eyes, Protovis, or Tableau. These programs crunch the numbers and visualize patterns for you. If it’s an infographic you need, two great Web-based apps, visual.ly and easelly, help you illustrate your facts and figures.