I was just reading a .net article on the 20 top web design and developments trends for 2013 and I have a few thoughts on what I’d like to see in digital for 2013, especially in South Africa.
- Responsive Web Design
Probably the largest trend, still not picking up enough traction in South Africa is RWD, which makes absolutely no sense to me. The thought of creating a website purely for desktop, when we have such a large percentage of mobile users locally its ignorant. At the same time, RWD might not be the perfect solution after all, given that have multiple layouts require content to be turned on or off, but that only means its hidden from the user’s eye, but all the multiple layouts and content are still downloaded, which in SA, really defeats the purpose.
If you’ve ever read anything on the web, you’ll know that for the most part, it’s absolute rubbish. I believe that content has to be a bigger priority in 2013, that doesn’t mean to say that it needs to be bloated, while content is king, it doesn’t have to be a silly bloated one at that. Craft of visual assets needs to be factored in and more relevant content be created, instead of just recycling images from a google search on a specific subject, purely as a cheap option to visually populate your wall etc.
Social media conversations need to be better aligned, this prescribing posts months in advance has to stop. Agencies need to be employed and empowered to write content in real-time. While a strategy can be in place to guide the conversation based on the brands objectives, a more natural real time conversation should take place, where agencies speak in the brands tone to people, engaging in conversation rather than shouting out and waiting for responses. The other problem with the month in advance post prescriptive content creation is waiting for client to sign off everything is the delays it causes. clients need to have a little faith in the communication agency they hire.
Most agencies try to be all things to everyone, instead of trying to do everything poorly for the same budget, agencies need to identify real opportunities in the digital space and focus more on that specific area rather than spread themselves too thin across every digital channel.
- Hybrid designer
I’m borrowing the term Hybrid Designer from the .net article and I’m going say what they’ve said in my own words, the best digital designers have the ability to code as they have a better understanding of what the constraints of the medium are. I’ve mostly done all of my own coding of the sites I’ve done in my career. I lack the level of development of a lot of the talented developers I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years, but I have always had a better balance between design and development output.
- Story telling
I believe true engagement is to tell a really compelling story, taking people on a journey, giving people a reason to believe, to interact and be inspired to want to share. In SA, I’m yet to see anything like the type of campaigns AKQA or North Kingdom produce. We spend millions producing TV adverts that run for 30 seconds for a couple of weeks, instead of creating rich online engagements that can last for much longer and offer a lot more information, interaction and share-ability.
- Waving carrots
I have noticed that there are few digital campaigns that don’t involve a huge prize as an incentive to engage. If the prize is the reason to engage, then the focus isn’t on the message we’re trying to drive, but rather the “whats in it for me” mentality. If you’re going to give something away, then it’s simple, have an entry form. But if you want people to understand and engage with your brand, give them an experience they’ll never forget.