- Published on Monday, 17 December 2012 14:33
Nothing screams Web 1.0 like a clutter of text. Even text accompanied by an image is so 2.0. Welcome to the visual Web: a place where images create the experience and text plays second fiddle, adding a bit of context.
A WEB WITHOUT WORDS
Nothing screams Web 1.0 like a clutter of text. Even text accompanied by an image is so 2.0. Welcome to the visual Web: a place where images create the experience and text plays second fiddle, adding a bit of context. The visual Web is Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and your Facebook news feed. But it's also the content you're creating, sharing and watching. It's your new favorite websites and your mobile experience. The Web has always been a highway of distraction. Pop-ups unapologetically dart across our screens. Emails spring into the corner, screaming "Read me!" Our eyes glaze over after reading one paragraph of text online.
And even if a site manages to keep our attention for a few moments, seven modules within that site compete for our eyeballs until we give up and seek solace in our Facebook news feeds. But when there's so much to say and no ears to hear, a picture's worth a thousand words. It kicks off the story and creates an instant emotional connection. As web designers strive to increase site engagement, big, bold visuals have come out on top in creating a user experience that is just that: an experience. With the rise of Instagram and Pinterest, social network creators are following suit. In 2012, Pinterest hit 10 million monthly unique users faster than any site in history. On Twitter, text-heavy tweets now go beyond 140 characters, allowing users to view photos without leaving the feed. Facebook is moving toward visuals, too, increasing the importance of visuals in the news feed. Photos are one of the key EdgeRank factors determining the reach of a post.And with 80 million Instagram users and 11 million on Pinterest, people are creating and sharing images like crazy. And in a world where memes and GIFs rule content, your news feed is even more visual than a few photos of your acquaintance's latest meal.The trend-driver can be found at the heart of content creation, the creators themselves. The content we're creating and sharing is now based on visuals. With more smartphones in more hands, we're snapping pics on the go and uploading them instantly, forgoing digital cameras. In a 2011 survey by Prosper Mobile Insights, an overwhelming 44% of people admitted their mobile device has replaced a digital camera. As such, at the end of 2011, sales of point-and-shoot cameras were down 20% in the U.S. and 30% in the United Kingdom, and have continued to decline.
THE CONTENT ECONOMY
Content just might become your company's most valuable asset in 2013 for several reasons. For years Google has been refining its algorithm, cracking down on the individuals and organizations that benefit from unsavory tactics often compromising the quality of search results. Now, it is the most compelling content that dominates search results, and organizations will scramble to produce this. Some already have, including companies like Coca-Cola and Intel, which launched corporate entities focused purely on content. Separately, Facebook is making its own changes, forcing companies to rely on both creativity and spending (promoted posts) to ensure their content is seen and more importantly shared by users. Brands like Oreo may have unwittingly set the bar for content creation for other organizations by pioneering a form of "content marketing," putting out one piece of timely, relevant and highly creative content every day as part of a campaign.
PERCEPTIVE MEDIA, THE FUTURE OF TARGETING AND PERSONALOSATION
When we hear or read the words "perceptive media," we imagine media portrayed in sci-fi movies, like "Minority Report," where ads address characters by name as they move past them. But these are no more exotic than highly advanced targeted ads. Perceptive media is a relatively new concept of responsive content, usually digital, which acts upon the behavior of the individual within their natural environment. Hence, what we really mean by perceptive media is intuitive media. Intuitive: Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning.
If this is our expectation for media, that it feels true even without conscious reasoning, then we are on the verge of having that expectation realized. The elements for perceptive media are being used today, and what it takes to realize perceptive media as intuitive is for those elements to come together to create experiences. Targeting online is mostly innocuous, sometimes annoying and, for the paranoid, slightly creepy. But ad targeting in the mobile space is usually welcomed by users as valuable. Most of us appreciate being offered a deal when and where we find them most relevant, and mobile executes this service better than online or traditional media. Knowing where we physically are is information that has implications beyond building better maps.
Google Maps is more than a mapping project – it's essential data for social-predictive algorithms. Mapping a location is a prelude to mapping a person. Google already personalizes search based on knowledge of the user's online activity. Once the data giant (no one really calls Google a search giant anymore, do they?) can incorporate social activity and offline activity into the mix, personalization and targeting of content within mobile will be delivered with eerily accurate precision.
sync to your mobile device but help you determine where you are and how fast you're going. As we move into the next year, the phrase "personal computing" will begin to take on another meaning.
Sensors will get smarter and become more pervasive. We already have cars that can help us parallel park or sense if we are too close to an object by letting us know with a beep or a vibration. Then there are thermostats, which learn based on how you use them – essentially self- programming and adapting along the way. In 2013 there will be sensors built into athletes' helmets that measure the impact of blows and provide real-time data outputs, thus potentially preventing further injury. Sensors will be everywhere – in our homes, transportation, technology and clothing. They will become a part of our lives by tying into our existing devices and networks. If our plants need water, we'll get a text or tweet, and even a note of thanks. Now that's smart.
In many ways, social has mirrored the original digital revolution with the exception that digital was built in information and social, relationships. But when digital took on transactions and financial exchanges, things really began to accelerate. So it will go for social as we begin to buy each other gifts through social networks or even set up a storefront. The idea of social commerce isn't new, but signs show that it's picking up steam and 2013 may be the year it actually begins to coalesce.
DATA OVERLOAD AND INSIGHT SHORTAGE
As I write this, Facebook has already begun rolling out its "Photo Sync" feature, which automatically downloads photos from your mobile device to Facebook (privately). Some see this as a land grab for data, but it's not the only one – it's often described as "the cloud", "social data" or the overhyped macro label "big data". While it's true that more of our data is being collected, mined and stored, people don't necessarily know what to do with it. There's now an infinite surplus of data out there but not enough qualified human beings (analysts, sociologists, strategists, anthropologists etc.) who know what to make of it or what to do with it. But this won't last for long – 2013 may be the year we focus less on data capture and start thinking about how to understand, interpret and make good use of it.
So, lets see how good Maya´s were in crystal ball business and hope to see those trends going nuts! And BTW, please drop the word consumer out of the vocabulary. Thx.
Mateja Aleksic, Digital Account Manager
Name: Mateja Aleksic
Last time in class: 2010 Interactive Art Direction at hyperisland.se
A very cool School project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIs4ruOpdps
Mission: To help the inevitable rise and maintenance of interactive digital media and its prosperity in the Balkan region.