Jigsaw : Audio case studies

A Google-owned think tank makes innovative use of radio-quality audio clips for its case studies.

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The feature

Jigsaw (formerly Google Ideas) is a think tank and technology incubator within Google’s holding company Alphabet. Its mission is to invent technology that will address global problems such as violent extremism, online censorship and digital attacks.

The think tank’s website uses radio-quality audio clips coupled with rolling transcripts to illustrate its services. For example, in ‘Uncovering corruption in Cairo’, investigative reporter Hisham Allam tells a 2m story about how he uses the Jigsaw database and records-access service, Investigative Dashboard. Visitors can either listen, or turn the sound off and read the story.

The website home page plays excerpts of its case studies in a loop, inviting visitors to click for more on the story, or the Jigsaw service it is helping to highlight.

The takeaway

Jigsaw’s audio case studies take a simple, but innovative approach to content creation. It is an unusual choice not to use video for this kind of material, but the quality of the recordings and power of the language lend immediacy to the testimony.

The clips are relatively short, and signposted via a vertical bar. The audio also acts as a hook – viewers can decide to turn it off and read the transcript.

First published 25 May, 2016
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