We love it when we can send our people out to learn and be inspired by the international creative community. Last month, Senior UX and UI designer Emma and Art Director, Becca attended the Awwwards Digital Thinkers Conference in L.A. Here’s Becca’s download from the event.
Hosted in the beautiful Ace Hotel Theatre downtown, this two-day event explored the evolution of digital design and its societal impacts. The speaker lineup featured an assortment of over 20 leading strategists, developers, producers, authors and creatives from all over the world.
It was an exhilarating and totally inspiring experience - here’s a round-up of some of our favourite insights and topic trends from the conference:
1. Use animation for more emotive storytelling and better UX
The way we tell stories through digital is constantly improving. We already understand the importance of fulfilling audiences’ needs through journeys, curated content and better performance. We’re also exploring the potential of improving experience through animation.
Transitional animation allows us to flow in and out of content seamlessly, giving people a more enjoyable and reactive experience. It also can add to the illusion of faster performance.
Sarah Drasner explained that we can improve customer experience by adding more emotively engaging touch points in our work. By adding interactive components to keep people interested in content, you can also improve their perception of site speed and performance.
One’s perception of time can also differ dramatically depending on where they are while on their device. Paul explained that physical context can completely change a person’s perception of time, too. Five minutes waiting at the bus stop could feel like forever, whereas five minutes waiting for your PS4 console to boot up in the comfort of your home may not.
Identifying context gives designers an opportunity to explore different ways of entertaining users. Load and wait time play a fundamental part in people's enjoyment of the product. Slow wait times with interactive loader animations or games can build anticipation and excitement.
2. Putting our trust in devices
Through the wonderful world of data sets and computer engineering, we can now tailor and deliver content to suit every individual. Advertising is just one example where, in social media, algorithmic technology is already being used to deliver ads to specific markets. Dustin Callif and Sabri Sansoy showed us the potential of using similar computer science in campaign ideas, and how it can be delivered in a really fun and engaging way.
Unleash your Rrrr uses a computer system to analyse sound recordings paired with video files to build a car race film based on an audio file of someone making car noises. Toyota Mirai Ravity takes user information via Facebook to refine the campaign’s messages to suit individual audiences.
The more information devices and platforms learn about us, the more we’ll need to develop ways of building trust in these devices. Gathering this information is one thing, but what about when it comes to performing tasks for us?
Peter Smart spoke about the behavioural aspects of AI or “Human-Computer Interaction”. The lines between us and technology are changing, as are our relationships with devices. They’re the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see at night. We have more daily interactions with our phone than we do with other humans.
At the moment AI technology is very instructive, so we can’t fully engage in conversation with a device or platform. We make a request, and it spits out an answer. As we begin to progress from the likes of Siri and Google Home, we’ll need to start building trust in these products that make decisions for us. Some of the ways this can be achieved are through communication. An AI’s interface will have to become more human and less binary. “The key differentiation here is a human’s ability to read what isn’t said, as well as what is said.”
3. Using technology for efficient solutions
When solving problems, it’s in our nature to jump to the most logical answer. What David Navarro taught us is that there are clever ways of using digital solutions to create tools that aid other solutions. David and the team at Stink Studios developed an online asset generator for their client Pinterest. This gave the client flexibility to create their own ads in their own time without compromising the design quality. This would have heavily reduced the time it took the studio to roll out campaign assets, as well as providing them a tool which could be optimised for other projects in future.
It proves that we can rethink how we tackle projects to benefit ourselves and our clients. “Be your own client” … “create new tools to increase the efficiency of other projects.”
4. Happy people bring happy results
“Do good work for good people,” as Aaron Draplin says. Working for people that truly appreciate the value of design, ideas and client-to-creative collaboration will always result in better work.
There are plenty of benefits in working with clients and colleagues who trust the creative process and truly value collaboration. Through compromise and maintaining positive relationships, we reduce conflict and increase objectivity.
As Paul Woods states, “You need great people for great work” which is also why “Being nice matters,” especially when working on a digital project, where timelines are lengthy and you want people to stick around. Being nice to the people you work with also keeps up project momentum and ultimately leads to better outcomes.
Dann Petty mentioned that we should also consider the benefits a project brings to our wellbeing and progress - “Sell yourself, but don’t sell yourself out.” As Jessica Walsh also put it, “Do work that feeds your soul, not your ego.”
One of the reasons I love working at Little Giant is because our culture here is founded on employing and collaborating with the best people. There's a really positive work environment here that's been carefully curated, and it seems to bring out collaborative and open-minded problem solving with our internal team and clients alike.
As a final note, be nice to users too - after all they’re the ones who use the products we create. As Marc Hemeon said, “Call users people, users do drugs.”
Find out more on the Awwwards conference here.
Design, Marketing & Technology news, Monthly (ish)
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