2021 Fjord Trend: Interaction wanderlust
Throughout the era of digitalization, we have become increasingly accustomed to interacting with one another on screens; during the pandemic, that development has outright exploded. Shopping, dating, exercising, even having a casual conversation between friends – good heavens, between neighbors and even family members – is conveniently taken care of by looking at a screen. What has happened to interaction, as we used to know it, and how can companies best adapt to this ever-evolving development?
With technologies providing people as well as organizations with immersive virtual experiences through up to 85-inch canvases running 4K quality images from anywhere in the world, there is no doubt you can technically connect with one another as if you were in the same room – the mantra repeated by every R&D expert in the industry. The screen is our current window to the world, and we are clinging to ours literally as if our lives depended on what is happening on it.
The interaction between design, content and audience is changing – video conferences, along with online social events, concerts and performances are already parts of our everyday life. The traditional face-to-face interaction finds itself in a dilemma; while it is increasingly being defined as the inefficient way to get things done, it has been widely agreed that a simple opportunity to be able to read spontaneous reactions from the counterpart’s face does add depth to the conversation and often enables a more thorough approach on the subject at hand.
And then there is all that emotion. The more we lose it, the more we start appreciating it.
Screening the economies of scale
Meanwhile, the use of shared touch screens has decreased sharply. While there is no knowing how fast, and how effectively, the ongoing vaccinations will straighten that curve, this has certainly created new demand for innovative thinking. Contactless interactions and scanners at self-service checkouts have already established themselves, and this development will continue no matter how efficiently the vaccinations will take the virus down.
There is the eternal dilemma of quantity and quality. With everything taking place on screen, the ones in control are increasingly utilizing all possible economies of scale.
The design for screens has been dominated by leading operating systems for the past 25 years, which has brought us a sackful of standardized online experiences. All the DIY website templates, design language standards, robot design systems and other monotonous but cost-effective ways to create content have certainly contributed to a serious case of significant screen fatigue. Our expectations of how we experience things online have, besides all the technology and gadgets out there, have become limited. We have been suffocated by mass production, unable to demand genuinely individual experiences. Good enough has, indeed, become merely good enough.
Looking for the ultimate user experience
The time has come to set ourselves free. We deserve to be challenged and inspired by what we see on screen. The interest towards creative content and new interactions has to be brought back, and this brings both new challenges and opportunities to brands and organizations. We want to feel replenished and enriched, just the way we did back when things were different.
Entertainment, fitness, gaming, events, even asset management are just some examples of lines of business that face a new dawn for their operations, as soon as they are willing to step up their game and bring it to the level that their audiences deserve.
However, the trends need to be optimized in a responsible manner. We will keep spending an increasing amount of time in front of our screens, but the brands have to be able to press the right buttons in order to win our trust. While we rely on screens more than ever, we are more cautious than ever about touching things that we do not own. The new digital solutions have to be instinctive to use, yet they must feel new and compelling. An innovative way to use an existing platform, keeping the environmental aspect in mind while emphasizing fun and experimentation in their development work is an approach surely should hold at least some if the winning ingredients inside.