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Netflix says it's 'still exploring' the possibility of launching on the Nintendo Switch (NFLX, NTDOY)

Reggie Fils Aime Nintendo Switch

Not all hope is lost for Nintendo’s fans eager to watch their favourite Netflix show on their brand new Switch.

In a statement sent to Polygon, representatives of the streaming giant said that they are “still exploring the opportunity with Nintendo, but don’t have definitive plans to share at this time.”

The website reached out to the firm in response to a tweet sent out by Netflix’s customer support official account, in which they answered a fan account’s question about Netflix coming to the Switch.

“There are currently no plans,” said the tweet, which has now been deleted.

Netflix CS Nintendo

There are no official dates — nor any concrete, public plan — about a potential launch of Netflix, but it at least looks like things are moving behind the scenes.

Back last November, Nintendo and Hulu reached a deal to launch the platform in the US, and the Japanese firm is also said to be in talks with “a range of other companies,” like Amazon and Netflix itself, to thicken the Switch’s portfolio of streaming platforms.

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Water’s hypercooling point may be in reach

A new calculation suggests the unique freezing point might be achieved in the lab

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15 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2018

The landscape of web design is constantly evolving.

Something that looked modern and fresh yesterday can appear dated seemingly overnight, and trends once dismissed as irrevocably passé can unexpectedly cycle back in vogue.

To help you prepare for wherever the web design tide takes us in 2018, we’ve put together a list of 15 trends to keep a close eye on. Check them out below, and get inspired to tackle your web design projects this year with style.Download our full collection of website homepage examples here to inspire your  own homepage design. 

15 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2018

1. Bold Typography

More and more companies are turning to big, bold typography to anchor their homepages. This style works best when the rest of the page is kept minimal and clean, like this example from Brooklyn-based agency Huge

huge-hello.png

2. Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs — high-quality videos or GIFs that run on a smooth, continuous loop — have become a popular way to add movement and visual interest to otherwise static pages. Full-screen loops, like this example from Danish agency CP+B Copenhagen, create immediate interest on an otherwise simple page. 

3. Brutalism

To stand out in a sea of tidy, organized websites, some designers are opting for more eclectic, convention-defying structures. While it can seem jarring at first, many popular brands are now incorporating these aggressively alternative design elements into their sites, such as Bloomberg

Brutalism emerged as a reaction to the increasing standardization of web design, and is often characterized by stark, asymmetrical, nonconformist visuals, and a distinct lack of hierarchy and order. In other words, it’s hard to describe, but you know it when you see it — like the below example from apparel designer Biannual.

brutalism.png

4. Saturated Gradients

Kaleidoscopic gradients were everywhere in 2017, and they aren’t going anywhere in 2018. Zurich-based agency Y7K illustrates a perfect example of how to make this two-tone effect look fresh and modern, with their full-screen, gradient-washed homepage.

5. Vivid Layers of Color

Staggered, stacked layers of color add depth and texture to a simple site layout, as seen in this stylish example from the São Paulo-based team behind Melissa Meio-Fio.

6. Text-Only

Some websites are cutting out images and prominent navigation sections altogether, relying on a few choice lines of straightforward text to inform visitors about their company.

Danish agency B14 uses their homepage real estate to simply describe their mission statement and provide links to samples of their work. It’s a modern, uncluttered approach to presenting information.

7. Illustration

More companies are turning to illustrators and graphic artists to create bespoke illustrations for their websites. After years dominated by flat design and straightforward minimalism, adding illustrated touches to your site is a great way to inject a little personality, as seen in this charming example from NewActon (designed by Australian digital agency ED).

8. Ultra-minimalism

Taking classic minimalism to the extreme, some designers are defying conventions of what a website needs to look like, displaying just the absolute bare necessities. The site from designer Mathieu Boulet is centered around a few choice links to his social profiles and information.

9. Duotone

These parred-down, two-tone color schemes look cool and contemporary, like this example from Australian Design Radio.

10. Mixing Horizontal and Vertical Text

Freeing text from its usual horizontal alignment and placing it vertically on a page adds some refreshing dimension. Take this example from director Matt Porterfield, which mixes horizontal and vertical text alignments on an otherwise very simple page.

11. Geometric Shapes and Patterns

Whimsical patterns and shapes are popping up more frequently on websites, adding some flair in a landscape otherwise ruled by flat and material design. Canadian design studio MSDS uses daring, patterned letters on their homepage.

12. Serif Fonts

Due to screen resolution limitations and an overall lack of online font support, designers avoided serif fonts for years to keep websites legible and clean. With recent improvements, serif fonts are having a big moment in 2018 — and they’ve never looked more modern. As seen on The Sill, a serif headline adds a dose of sophistication and style. 

serif-font-design-1.png

13. Overlapping Text and Images

Text that slightly overlaps accompanying images has become a popular effect for blogs and portfolios. Freelance art director and front-end developer Thibault Pailloux makes his overlapping text stand out with a colorful underline beneath each title.

14. Organic Shapes

Gone are the days of strict grid layouts and sharp edges — 2018 will be all about curved lines and soft, organic shapes. In the example below from Neobi, the borderline-cartoonish background adds a generous hit of personality and vivid color to the uncomplicated design. 

organic-shapes-1.png

15. Hand-Drawn Fonts

Custom, hand-drawn fonts have started cropping up more and more in recent months — and for good reason. These unique typefaces add character and charm, and help designers create a distinct look and feel without a complete overhaul. On KIKK Festival’s website, a hand-drawn font provides a whimsical anchor for the homepage. 

hand-drawn-font-1.png

What web design trends do you think will really take off in 2018?

download 50 examples of brilliant homepage design

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Start-ups invited to a cleantech show-off

10 successful applicants will get a chance to pitch their technologies to large firms

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Top 10 Online Marijuana Outlets on Twitter

The recent legalization of recreational marijuana in California has reignited the national conversation about lawful marijuana, and these ten online outlets are committed to covering all news and legislation surrounding medical and recreational marijuana. Here are the top 10 online marijuana outlets on Twitter. Metrics are

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CisionScoops at WaPo & The Observer, Changes at NYT & Jezebel, New Outlet Launched in Texas

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Cision’s research department makes over 20,000 media updates to our influencer database each day! Here are the latest moves to keep your media lists up to date and on point. All CisionScoops reflect original reporting from the Media Research team; if you have

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Honda Element & CRV Alternator Replacement With Diagnosis

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Facebook's News Feed Will Once Again Focus on Friends and Family

Facebook announced yesterday that it will be overhauling its News Feed that will once again shift the type of content users see first, and most often.

According to the official statement, Facebook will “be making updates to [its News Feed] ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about” — as in, their friends and family, instead of Pages.

The news first broke by way of a post from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

What Facebook’s News Feed Changes Mean for Marketers

Brands Can Expect to See Less Engagement

Facebook has been quite transparent about the fact that marketers and brands will be impacted by this change — and not for the better.

“Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease,” the official statement reads, which is especially true for Pages with posts that don’t see a ton of engagement — by way of shares, or discussion on the post itself, including when users share them with their networks. 

That means posts sparking the greatest amount of discussion among users — especially when shared — will likely rank better. But marketers should proceed with caution: Creating content for engagement for shareability and conversation does not translate to including such language as, “Tag a friend!” in posts. Facebook calls and interprets that type of content as “engagement bait,” and actually penalizes the Pages that use it in their News Feed rankings.

Facebook has made several modifications to its News Feed algorithm over the years, some of which have carried more permenance than others. Marketers might recall, for example, that last October, Facebook introduced its “Explore Feed,” which was meant to serve as a new, entirely separate feed where nearly all Page content would live.

This latest shift is different, however. As Facebook put it, “Page posts will still appear in News Feed, though there may be fewer of them.”

And if Facebook does actually stick with this change — which, given its history, could be debatable — it will most certainly present a new challenge for marketers. Content will have to be even more shareable, in a way that doesn’t classify it as “engagement bait,” and also organically promotes conversation among users.

Why Facebook Is Doing This

For a while now, Facebook has been making extensive efforts to communicate an ethos that it is “not a media company.” That was likely the result of the scrutiny it’s received since it was discovered that the network was weaponized to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. 

“Facebook has clearly put a stake in the ground that user experience is more important that the brands that pay them,” says Marcus Andrews, HubSpot’s senior product marketing manager. “By making this shift they clearly prioritized one over the other, and are potentially a bit nervous about the current (really negative) narrative about the negative impact of social media on society.” 

That helps to explain this move to shift the focus from branded content to the kind that is more personal, and closer in terms of each user’s own network. More content from friends and family, versus news from official or branded outlets = “not a media company.”

“Organic reach for business pages on Facebook has been under assault for a long time now,” Andrews says. “This is not new.”

What Marketers Should Do Now

With all of that said, not all is lost for social media marketers. There are certain types of Page content that are said to promote more shares and organic conversation — like live videos, which Facebook says get 6X the engagement as non-live ones.

“What Facebook seems to tell us is that content with a lot of engagement and conversation will be prioritized. This means comments and replies,” Andrews explains — and live video is one type of content that tends to receive a higher amount of that type of engagement.

But with so many rules around what the News Feed seems to prefer — authentic content that isn’t misleading or baiting engagement and clicks — it’s easy for marketers to become confused about what, exactly, they can do to please its algorithm.

“While it’s easy to see brands as the losers here, what we’re really seeing is an opportunity for brands to pivot their content towards driving a meaningful conversation,” says Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social and campaign strategy marketing associate. “Facebook’s new algorithm will prioritize posts that drive authentic engagement in the comments, rather than passive likes or shares.”

Which brings us back to a marketing principle that we’ve certainly touched on before: listening to users.

“Brands should take this opportunity to listen to their audiences,” says Franco, “and create content that’s catered to their interests and that will drive meaningful interaction.“

One additional, important thing to note is that users will have the option to modify settings to see content from certain Pages in their News Feeds (the aptly-named “See First in News Feed Preferences” feature).

Many users, however, might not know about this feature. That presents an opportunity for marketers to create engaging ways to let their audiences know about it, by way of sharing something like sales, one-time promotions, and the like with such language as, “Want to be the first to know about our sales? Make sure you see us first in your News Feed.” (Try using something like the image above to help explain how this works.)

Be careful, however, not to overload or patronize audiences with this type of information — and maintain your focus on creating the quality, applicable, and personalized content that Franco speaks to. The user has to benefit somehow from it, and feel motivated to share it in a way that remedies the negative impressions of social media that Andrews points out.

What’s your take on things? Feel free to reach out with your thoughts and questions on Twitter.

Featured image credit: Facebook

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Sweden could be the first economy to introduce its own cryptocurrency, called the e-krona

Sweden fans

  • Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, could become the first to introduce its own cryptocurrency.
  • Cash usage in the Scandinavian nation is dropping rapidly, making Sweden a prime candidate for an “official” cryptocurrency.
  • The introduction of the e-krona could come within a couple of years, although “2018 may be a little too soon,” according to HSBC’s James Pomeroy.

Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, is spearheading international cooperation on the development of officially sanctioned cryptocurrencies and could be the first to launch its own, according to a note from analysts at HSBC.

HSBC economist James Pomeroy sent a note to clients this week titled “Sweden’s big year: Can the economy overcome some challenges?”

Broadly, the note takes a look at the state of Sweden’s economy — which HSBC calls “one of the world’s most interesting” — before drilling down to the possible introduction of a so-called “e-krona,” something that might occur within the next couple of years, although “2018 may be a little too soon.”

Sweden’s economy has one of the lowest cash usage rates of anywhere in the world, with cash use often actively discouraged by shops and other businesses. There are even anecdotal tales of beggars and buskers having card terminals to take payments on the street.

The chart below shows just how rapidly cash use in Sweden is dwindling:Sweden cash use

As such, it makes sense that the Riksbank is at the forefront of discussions of what a central bank issued cryptocurrency could look like.

As HSBC economist James Pomeroy notes, the Riksbank has “issued a number of research articles on the topic, with the suggestion being that as cash usage continues to dwindle, the central bank may need to find another way to provide their populations with access to payments that are not via an intermediary such as a retail bank.”

“The so-called e-Krona will have to be able to be used for small purchases, as a claim on the Riksbank and be accessible by companies, individuals and financial institutions at all times.”

Interestingly, the Riksbank has been at the forefront of advances in money throughout history, with HSBC flagging a speech by the bank’s governor, Stefan Ingves, in December, when Ingves pointed out that: “It was in Stockholm that the first modern banknote was created more than 350 years ago, and that it is here, in Sweden, that cash is currently taking its last breaths. Perhaps the Riksbank will be writing history again.”

The Riksbank has presented two possible ways that the e-krona could work, one based on value and another on a register-based system.

The first option, HSBC says “would be more like cash is at present, with value stored on an app or a card rather than in a central database.”

Alternatively, under the register-based system, e-krona would be stored in accounts that themselves would be held on a central database.

“This is more complex, but may make the framework easier to expand and develop over time, and would likely require the use of blockchain technology,” Pomeroy writes. The Riksbank has also said that it would consider using a mixture of the two approaches.

“A Central Bank Cryptocurrency (CBCC) would use blockchain technology, whereas a non-blockchain solution would make the e-Krona a ‘deposited currency account’,” Pomeroy adds.

The chart below shows where the two options would fit into the global monetary system as it is right now:While it might become the first central bank to introduce a cryptocurrency, the Riksbank is by no means the only one thinking about it.Money flower cryptocurrencies

For instance, over the Christmas period, the Bank of England made numerous headlines after it was suggested that it could be planning to introduce a cryptocurrency this year.

There is no official word that the BoE has such plans, but a spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph that a crypto research unit within the bank set up in 2015 could report its findings at some point in 2018. That does not mean, however, that the bank is anywhere near formally introducing such a currency.

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Top 10 Marketing & Communications Posts of 2017

2017 was quite a year for marketing and PR professionals. Think about a few of the most notable trends we saw:

With massive potential audiences on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, live streaming saw huge growth.
United Airlines reminded all of us why crisis PR is still incredibly important.
Earned media has

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