Joe Zeff, a global leader in app development and design, is the latest addition to the line-up of speakers for the industry conference, The Future Forum, to be held by The Newspaper Works from August 20-21 in Sydney.
Mr Zeff’s company, Joe Zeff Design (JZD), has designed and developed apps for news publishers like Fast Company, National Geographic and Time Inc., and has had four apps featured by Apple as iTunes App of the Week.
Other clients include Adobe, JPMorgan Chase, PepsiCo, Bulgari and the National Football League.
Speaking to The Newspaper Works before his visit, Mr Zeff said that a successful and beautiful app is one in which the designer is hardly seen and that is focused on facilitating the story it is presenting, which “should always be the star”.
“Going forward, the designer will become even more invisible, ceding control to the consumer,” he said. “Personalisation is the next frontier, the consumer will decide how they want their content to be presented.
“It may be organised by time, proximity or interest. It may be delivered through text, photographs or infographics. It may be piped through glasses, watches, phones or tablets. The role of the designer will shift from making beautiful content to making beautiful user experiences.”
Based in New Jersey, Mr Zeff is a former graphics director of Time magazine, and was among the first to recognise the potential for tablets and new publishing technologies in presenting news and other products.
JZD’s latest project is a so-called appumentary about the civil rights movement in America that, Mr Zeff said, “reimagines storytelling by turning a story into a starting point”.
Mr Zeff said that he believed quality news thrived on cross-promoted platforms that worked to complement each other.
“Mobile and wearable content stir awareness, driving traffic to the web for deeper context,” he said.
“Print delivers a more curated experience with more prominent graphic design elements. The ultimate storytelling takes place on the tablet, with experiential content optimised for large screens and lean-back experiences.”
“There is the opportunity to accompany consumers as they work, play, travel, shop, dine and entertain, and connect their personal interests and imperatives to the world around them.”
The Newspaper Works chief executive Mark Hollands predicted significant interest among editors and producers in Mr Zeff’s presentation at the conference.
“Joe’s work offers a fresh perspective from news-oriented thinking,” he said. “Joe has the news credentials through his work with Time and Fast Company, but it is the fascinating approach he and his company have taken with the NFL and PepsiCo, among others, that will prove incredibly valuable.”
He joins a line-up of eminent speakers from around the world.
They include Yasmin Namini, Senior Vice President & Chief Consumer Officer of The New York Times, who will reveal strategies and executions used by The New York Times to increase engagement and loyalty with readers in print and for its many digital assets, providing insight into the testing of various subscriptions models.
Other speakers include Pit Gottschalk, managing director content management at Axel Springer, Germany’s leading news publisher, and the founder of Storyful, Mark Little, whose company has just signed a contract to be the supplier of the Facebook newswire, FB Newswire.
Martha Stone, managing director of the World Newsmedia Research Group and Research Fellow of the University of Oxford Reuters Institute, has also joined the line-up.
Among the other highlights of the two-day event will be a return of the Chief Executive Panel, featuring Julian Clarke (News Corp Australia), Greg Hywood (Fairfax Media), Michael Miller (APN News & Media) and Chris Wharton (West Australian Newspapers).
This year, the moderator will be Russel Howcroft, the popular TV advertising personality on ABC TV’s The Gruen Transfer, and also executive general manager at Channel 10 in Melbourne.
The Future Forum is free to members of The Newspaper Works.
Day 1 at The Establishment features masterclasses for print and productions, sales and marketing and journalism.
Day 2 will be at The Ivy in central Sydney. The plenary will be followed by a cocktail party and the gala Newspaper of the Year awards.
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