Expanding the Digital Design Universe, One Phone at a Time
The cyberscape universe is an expanding one. Only a few years ago, for example, social media was, inexplicably, not part of core marketing strategies, and cloud services were barely a blip on the radar. But the consumer is the sun around which the tech industry orbits, pushing unresponsive digital design and ineffective solutions to the wayside. It is time for a digital design upgrade.
Today’s rising stars are portable devices such as mobile phones and tablets, which account for 51.3% of the global web traffic, versus the desktop’s 48.7%. And sectors such as branding, design, and development have adjusted accordingly. As a result, trends have focused on sub genres like responsive design and location-based marketing; all with a big emphasis on the ever-important user experience. Simultaneously, sweeping technological developments like Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are influencing the future of business, seeping not only into our everyday processes, but conducting new ways of thinking, doing, moving, and using.
There’s a whirlpool of exciting new digital design elements at play here — but which ones should you be keeping an eye on?
1. Interactive, Storytelling Content
If a picture paints a thousand words, visual imagery creates an encyclopedic experience to grab a user’s attention. Large, singular images can establish tone and messaging with more impact, strengthening a company’s branding efforts. Just take WebCreek’s own homepage for example, which uses a sweeping image of the Houston skyline with our ‘opening statement’ text as an overlay.
Now, with key developments in image capturing and software processing, digital design is starting to naturally move from the static to the dynamic by incorporating video content. Video serves as a powerful medium to engage audiences, and many company websites are starting to integrate them just as they would with imagery, serving as background mediums for a richer storytelling experience.
2. Content Curation over Content Creation
Content curation is fast becoming a digital marketing must-have. Businesses are starting to move away from personalized ‘human’ content, realizing that delivering relevant content from a variety of sources for specific categories creates a more engaging online presence. Rather than creating unique content for their audiences, curated content sources, organizes and funnels relevant content in one, useful web location to keep their users engaged. In turn, companies can network with new leads, letting users experience a mashup of opinions on a single subject matter, and drawing their own verdicts on them.
The real key to successful curation is adding a business’ own insight on that collected content with a sentence or paragraph to round off, streamlining a flow of editorial pieces on a specific topic with a company’s branded stamp. This helps you, the company, to become a trusted and valuable source, as well as strengthening relationships with your audience, and building communities.
3. Increased focus on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Year by year, marketers pour millions into digital advertising such as Adwords and promoted social media content, but few are able to convert that traffic into long-term relationships and sales leads. As web analytics become more refined with the help of automated processes, we’re able to examine not only why visitors come to our sites, but exactly what’s making them convert.
CRO helps websites maximize sales or sign-ups (depending on which kind of engagement you want), using data and user feedback to continuously improve website performance. This helps businesses identify their Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to boost sales and create new lead generation, turning passive browsers into valued conversions. On a broader scale, CRO helps you better connect with your customers better, leverages traffic, and improve decision-making.
4. Haptic feedback
Often simply referred to as ‘haptics’, haptic feedback is the type of interaction where the user receives a sense of touch in a UI design to provide confirmation to the end user. In mobile and similar devices, this can refer to a vibration felt from a device’s own system to denote that a touchscreen activation has been selected, making up for the lack of a tactile response that the user would experience when pressing a physical button.
In an article by Fast Company, it seems that haptic feedback can be placed in the most unusual and curiously modern ways: ‘Ever wonder if you’re stretching correctly? Tech company Artefact is using haptic feedback in clothes such as this Pilates shirt, which is composed of four sensors that monitor stretching and provide haptic feedback to modify the user’s upper body positions. Artefact design director Jennifer Darmour spoke at CES about the Pilates shirt and living up to the term “wearable.” “Now that we are taking technology and putting it onto our body, we must ask how we can use the body as the interface for connecting to a larger network of things,” Darmour says.’
Haptic feedback isn’t particularly new — video games have used it in their consoles, generating vibrations in hand-held controllers when their character crashes their car or fires a weapon. And today, it seems that video gaming is not as worlds away from business as we once thought. Many different industries are starting to incorporate gaming-based VR technology to enhance their business, whether it’s training employees better or giving managers better insight into their data by walking around their business site. All of this depends on sensory responses to amplify that experience, and haptic feedback a huge part of that virtual adventure.
Creative minds all over the world have borrowed patterns and remolded them as strong contenders for new and innovative styles. It’s important to stay informed about popular trends in the industry to stay in-tune with new techniques and approaches in digital design and marketing. Continuing developments in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are fueling Big Data and other advanced analytics in order to monitor performances faster, providing instant feedback for instant awareness — as well as providing exciting new avenues to explore, like VR technology. In general, we’re more informed than ever on which trends are working, and therefore likely to prevail in the digital world. As we’ve denoted here, it seems that the trends that help fine-tune larger business processes are the ones making a big, big impact right now.