The folks at Digital agency, Reading Room, did not spend Christmas drinking too much or stuffing themselves with turkey. The team looked into the crystal ball and now offer the industry their forecast for 2015. The seven digital trends they see coming this year are as follows:
(1) Integrating Generation Z into business
A new generation is now entering the workforce. Generation Z, born after the mid-1990s, are used to a very different way of engaging with people and tasks than earlier generations. For them, the email is no longer the default for communication, spreadsheets are no longer the key to manage workflow, and word processing is not as important as blogging and online publishing. While companies have already adapted to the digital age, they will have to adapt still further to accommodate new attitudes and behaviour or risk alienating the younger workforce and probably not get the best out of them.
(2) Quantify that drink and shout about it
Over the past few years, apps and wearable tech from Nike, Run Keeper, My Fitness Pal and others have encourage people to track everything from BMI to dreams. The latest iPhone and iOS bring this out of the realm of fitness fanatics and dieters and into the mainstream. In a passive and unobtrusive manner, our lives are being logged through devices that sleep, live and work with us.
(3) 2015 is the year of the Micro
Micro animation interactions in the interface offers a smoother and considered approach. This cinematic production quality will see an end to ‘pump and dump’ approach of shoving information in front of users in the current web sphere, says this Reading Room report. Micro screens will redefine how we develop retina sharp images without bandwidth bloat with highly optimised content for immediate Q&A scenario-based interactions. Coupling micro interactions, vector-based imagery, reaction served content and just-in-time loading of required page components, will offer performance gains in double digits.
(4) Community Troll Hunters
Last year was a popular year from trolls. In 2015, the networks have to respond or they will face an exodus of users to other platforms that will take the issue seriously and are willing to work out ways to control the trolls. There are cultural issues to consider, too. What constitutes free speech and fair comment? When does it pass into threatening and offensive behaviour? These issues are complicated by differing national legislation and cultural norms. The answer to this challenge may lie in the strength of the communities themselves to ‘self police’. Social networks need to give communities the tools to do this. Even giants like Facebook and Twitter are not immune to the threat this issue poses. Already people have started leaving.
(5) Content strategy & UX for voice interactions
There are an increasing number of voice interfaces emerging, especially in the wearables/Internet of Things space. More and more focus will be on how people and technology interact through such things as verbal commands and personal assistants. How do we localise content spoken by machines across different regions and languages? What cultural considerations do we need to take into account when designing a voice interface? How do we incorporate commands alongside conversations? How do we introduce them into home situations and how will people respond psychologically to objects that speak and act independently?
(6) Imagery: Vector & Photography
In many areas, pixel density is being raised higher and higher: icon fonts, SVG elements, typography rendering and optimised multi-sized imagery. Knowing Apples influence on such trends, the 5K retina iMac is a resolute step in a direction already begun on phones and this will spill over into desktops. Our industry will face more and more different pixel densities. This will eventually mean a cross roads where designing in a rasterised format and optimising in retrospect is no longer viable. Some would argue this point has already passed. We’re moving towards a blend of vector assets and high resolution images which will have a huge impact on workflow.
(7) Blurred lines
The lines between the online and offline environments are becoming increasingly blurred. Almost every human activity, whether work or leisure, has a connected element to it. 2015 could be the year when sectors like retailers and tourist destinations finally figure out how to truly enrich people’s experiences (and make money out of them) through mobile technology. iBeacon and NFC, augmented reality and responsive design, all have the potential to create meaningful – not gimmicky – experiences for users. It could be through storytelling, ease of experience or something we haven’t thought of yet. Unlike ten years ago, we have the tech now. Marketers just have to figure out how to use it.
This is Reading Room’s forecast. With so many developments in our industry, few others are brave enough to stick their necks out. But the editor of AdAsia would be happy to hear from you on the future of our industry.