I’ve been addicted to thefwa and awwwards over the past week. Like thinking about the inspiration they provide in my sleep addicted. When I get like that, I know that I’m either A) on to something or B) need to write about it to get it out of my head. In this case, I think it’s a bit of both…
Over the past two year at RED, we’ve been working day and night to catch up to what we perceive to be the global standard of digital experiences. To me, this means that when we’re working with a client we develop their website, campaign microsite or mobile app to do 3 things really well: 1. Leverage the medium to bring their brand to life. 2. Work beautifully regardless of the device. 3. Have an X factor that makes the experience really special. And not surprising, there are only a handful of firms around the world that are doing this well. Like these guys. Or these guys. Or these guys.
And up until last week, I thought we were really close to breaking through. We’ve been on a roll lately with responsive WordPress-driven websites and some new design talent that has been developing some jaw droppingly beautiful work.
And then two things happened…
First. One of our developers, Marcel, starts to talk one day during a briefing about a framework he wants to use for an upcoming project for a client called Django. It would allow us to not only provide our client with a CMS driven site that is easy for them to update and manage, but also allow us to build a site that functions much like an iPhone app – it wouldn’t require a refresh every time a link is clicked, it would just react and deliver the next set of data seamlessly.
Second. Literally the same day, I stumble across this… (edited for length, original here)
FWA’s Rob Ford: Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
Fi Founder David Martin: What did I say 10 years ago to this question? Today I say that in 10 years, “websites” will be the WAP of today. Design will be centered on a “low level of effort” to engage with utility and consume or share content. That means the least amount of physical and mental effort to send an email or read the news… We will not be using “websites.” The more devices that come in play, (mobile, smart TV’s, Google Glass) the more a ubiquitous user experience is required with not one device dominating as the desktop or website that have done so for the past 10 years.
All of a sudden, something clicked in my head. It appears that we’ve been chasing the wrong rabbit – or at least, not the rabbit the firms we admire have been after. Not only are they thinking about how each device will impact the experience they are trying to create, but they are also thinking about how they can bring more of that ‘app’ thinking back into the web. It’s more than responsive design and it’s more than WordPress. It’s about making the entire mobile experience seamless from the phone/tablet through to the browser and back again.
Up until last week, I was hopeful for a project that would allow me to create something inline with this example from Range Rover or this one from D’Angelico Guitars. But the web is already transitioning away from showy HTML5 experiences that, while a design and technical achievement in their own right, do nothing for the end user other than provide them with a little visual design porn for a few minutes.
We’re working on a little something for a client that will bring us closer to ‘web app nirvana’ than anything we’ve ever done. And you can bet we’ll be submitting it to FWA and Awwwards to pay it forward for those on the same journey as I am.