As our consumption of content moves from print/analog to digital, so does the approach to design. When my career began (in the world of consumer advertising), design production was much more cut and dry. The content would either be viewed at arms-length, in a magazine or direct mailer, or be viewed from a distance on a bus shelter, billboard or metro sign. Today’s digital-first landscape is a different ballgame.
Tap. Tap. Scroll. Swipe. Zoom.
Content is fighting for our attention. Everyone is in a hurry and most content is viewed on a small screen. Today’s content doesn’t just lay flat on a page; it’s moving and changing and following our every move. As a designer, it’s crucial to acknowledge this reality, although it often throws a big wrench in designs. Websites, landing pages and emails all have to be designed with responsive functionality in mind. But it doesn’t just end there. The end user is accustomed to interacting with the content, and so designers must find ways for their creative vision to stay intact, while also offering those expected bells and whistles. It’s a delicate balance, as you don’t want gratuitous interactive elements that aren’t serving a purpose.
Immediacy & Working Backward
The speed of our digital world and the desire for immediacy has created an impatient audience. Content and its design must be simple, concise and easily shared. For digital content needs, I keep hearing the words ‘snackable’ and ‘modular.’ Infographics and digital brochures are consistently chopped up into shareable images for social media. For this reason, my team tends to work backward. The design of an infographic changes greatly when we know it needs to be sliced and diced. Sometimes we even start with the design of a single shareable image (module) and then build out the larger piece.
Embracing the Change
One area where I’ve seen a major shift toward interactivity is tradeshows. Everyone is out to attract booth visitors and keep them entertained. A simple brochure on a table paired with a tchotchke isn’t memorable. In today’s digital climate, you need to be modern and tech-savvy, and you really should go a step further than a basic badge scan. Merritt Group has recently started creating interactive “program map” experiences for our clients’ tradeshow booths. The experience consists of a fully interactive screen where booth visitors touch and navigate to reveal information about a company’s products and services. The content is driven by the individual, allowing for a more engaging and useful interaction. Using UX best practices and strong navigational cues, our design team can put together a branded experience that truly captivates your booth audience.