Beautiful Blobs and 3D

I came across a gem of a post the other day from Swedish agency 14islands. It’s a gem for a few reasons:

  1. They transformed an abstract idea into a 3D blob in HTML
  2. They let you open the controls in a user-friendly way to manipulate the blob
  3. You can share your blob or download it
  4. You can view your blob in VR, which takes that abstract idea to another level

Doing what I do for a living my mind instinctively raced to the possibilities. How might I use this to sell sneakers or cars? What if I could control the angles, intensity, and contours and zoom in as closely as I wanted to?

The strategist in me says don’t look at the tech, look at the user need. But the technologist in me says hot dang, this is pretty fucking amazing. 14islands in my opinion have made a significant breakthrough in programming 3D objects and bringing an infinite world of UX and XD possibilities.

Letting people manipulate objects in 3D and in VR can lead to delight (I love that car) and conversion (I need to buy that car). We just need to see more progress like this.

Advertising and Experience Design

One thing ad agencies are really good at is building brands. Few people will dispute this.

Most designers, whether UX, CX or front-end developers, will scoff at the idea of experience design in advertising. There was a time when I agreed with them. Today, holding companies like Dentsu, where I happen to work, are investing in experience design because the people who manage brands are insisting on simplification. This is not easy.

Building and maintaining brand now includes anything and everything in the digital ecosystem.

Marketers care deeply about the products they build for these ecosystems. Whether it be AR, VR, apps or voice, they insist their products be usable, delightful and memorable. This is one part of experience design: ensuring the brand is encapsulated in the experience people have with products through a holy trinity of message, motion and technology.

The other part of experience design is the “what and how” people have with services. Like returning a shirt that doesn’t fit, interacting with a call centre or speaking with someone at a take out counter. Everything in service design is meant to create positive customer experiences before, during and after a purchase. Think Office Space, “We need more flair”. This is CX, minus the over-zealous manager.

Experience design is the delightful synergy of strategy, creative, user experience, customer experience, and front-end development.

Bottom line, ad agencies are changing. Most people are annoyed by advertising but it’s something that will never go away. So we tune it out. What we are seeing is the advent of marketers who are thinking more like product owners and building things for the digital ecosystem that will help shape our perception of brand.