in order for the industry to fully embrace digital, it needs to let go of preconceived notions of ‘web design’ tactics, says Cypha’s Alex Christian.
We all know that ‘digital’ is no longer purely for screens. From wearables, physical technology to interactive activations, the landscape of digital is changing and the necessity for designers to think beyond the screen is ever increasing.
We don’t just consume digital while we’re in front of a desktop computer, or even while we gaze into our phones. It’s 24/7 feasts of social media, utility and entertainment experiences. And unlike the ‘web design’ approach, (which aims to guide the user through one activity, one screen at a time) the user is now in complete control and isn’t pledged to a single screen or device.
Those who are beginning to embrace this space need to let go of preconceived concepts of the screen, that have been established during the ‘web design’ era. Fundamentals aside, interactive design needs to reflect the behaviour of the user, and like the hardware, these behaviours are changing.
It can be frightening to remove these constraints, since it’s what digital has been built on, but as digital experiences become less screen driven and more integrated into our ‘day to day’ lives, we require a more intrinsic set of guidelines when defining the shape of an experience.
Rather than ‘point and click’ navigation, user activity, environment and location could all be factors that determine the journey throughout the experience.
I’m excited to be part of this transitional phase of the industry, because it’s not just what the future of digital is going to look like that intrigues me, it’s what technology (as a whole) will be capable of. It could become the norm to share smells, vibrations, physical touch and create stronger kinaesthetic relationships between people.
But, I’m not going to lay out my hypothesis on the future of the industry and technology. Like everything, we’re at the mercy of global events and industrial cross-pollination to produce new human needs and desires. And this is the same with design, but I believe designers will become more conscious of the physical environment and human behaviour rather than just screen-orientated aesthetic.
Defining the shape and face of a new type of digital experience is exciting but at the same time challenging. There is the possibility that we will rest on our Loral’s and try to force ‘the web’ into a square hole, rather than allow innovation and human behaviour to determine the future experience. Either way, the advertising industry is at the dawn of a new age of communication, and, as exciting as that is, we need to leave behind the baggage and embrace the unknown.
Alex Christian is creative partner at digital agency Cypha,