Interactive Design

Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Goes Interactive.

How do you take a song that is almost 50 years old and breath new life into it? You create a compelling interactive experience that creates an entirely new way to experience it. Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” is just that. The interactive video can be found here, and if you install the dedicated app, you can get the full experience.

Produced by New York based VFX studio The Artery in conjunction with Israeli director Vania Heymann, the interactive video comprises the look of 16 interactive TV channels. It’s absolutely brilliant, and about a million times better than Dylan’s latest album release. This is actually quite addictive once you get into it.

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Getting It Right, With Responsive Design.

I am a firm believer in “Keep it Simple”, and “Less is More” when it comes to design. Especially interactive design.  In today’s world the average window to engage a mobile visitor to your web site is less than five seconds. If you consider that more than ten cents out of every dollar spent online, now happens through a mobile device, it is your best interest to make every one of those seconds count.

A key to capturing and holding a visitor on your site lies in using responsive design that scales across all devices and operating systems. With the marketplace shifting more and more to a post desktop world you need to be able to effectively reach your target audience on their smart phone, tablet, laptop, and even their TV. because of this, making sure your web site is designed to meet their ever-evolving needs is critical.

Responsive design allows you to  keep the features visitors want, and effectively remove the things they don’t. In todays ever-changing interactive world there is no room  clunky graphics, confusing navigation, or pages locked into desktop-only resolutions. Today’s users want their Internet lean, clean, and sized for whatever screen they are looking at.

The reward for making more out of less is substantial. With more than 2.1 billion mobile broadband subscribers ( A number that is growing exponentially ) as potential visitors, customers, content readers, brand advocates, social connectors, influencers, etc. working with an economy of expression and maximum interactivity are critical. The best design may just be the one boasting the greatest interactivity and the fewest visible designer touches.

The infographic below shows off some of the best principles and practices for developing smart responsive designs for your interactive projects.

Responsive Infographic

Fi Reimagines What Airline Websites Could Be.

You would think that by now, airline and travel websites would have moved beyond their current state. The reality is that most travel and airline websites are pretty ugly, not that easy to use, and are poorly designed. They look, feel, and act much the way they did 10 years ago, and it’s kind of a drag. If I am going to fork over a few hundred dollars to book a flight, I want it to be the best damn online experience I can get.

Fi has built a prototype called “The Future of Airline Websites”. The full case study is here, and the video below gives you a nice visual walk through.  Flat clean design, combined with rich data, and strong visuals point the way for what travel sites could look and feel like in the future. Hopefully this will come to fruition in the near future, with one of the major airlines or travel sites buying into the concept.

Wireframe, Prototype, Simulation Tools. The Giant Infographic.

If you do any kind of interactive design work you know the importance of visualization and prototyping tools. This set of tools covers everything from wireframes to visualization, and there are a ton of choices. Lucky for us, some people over at usertesting.com designed a huge infographic that lays out all the tools of the trade, the platforms they work on, and the platforms they develop for. They also include price comparisons which is important for everyone because ROI impacts everyone in the business of making money from design.

prototyping-infographic

The News Machine is Absolutely Brilliant.

Voice recognition systems like Siri make some hilarious mistakes. For instance, the system in my VW seems to think that when I want to call Bev Johnston, I really want to call Colby Garlets. Accuracy, is obscured by things like road noise, and my inability to articulate syllables accurately.

The video below called News Machine is an installation for COLORS magazine that was designed in collaboration with interactive designer Jonathan Chomko for Colors #86- Making the News and Journalism Festival 2013. Specifically for a lecture by Patrick Waterhouse that took place on April 24th for the conference.

News Machine churns your tweets through different media filters and into print, simulating the contemporary 24-hour news cycle. You can tweet a headline to @colorsmachine to see what happens.

Adobe’s Edge Tool Set in Five Minutes.

If you are a web designer or developer. If you make interactive content for websites, mobile and tablet based applications, you should familiarize yourself with Adobe’s Edge Tools and Services.

If you don’t know about them watch the short five minute video below, then go over to the Adobe site and dig a little deeper. With each release these tools get better, easier to use, and the quality of what they output improves.

Adobe has a major stake with this tools set, and I guarantee that if you do this kind of work, you’ll probably be using these in the near future in some capacity.

Design Within Reach Gets an iPad App.

I’m a fan of Design Within Reach. I know that the name of the company is deceiving since their product line is not within the reach of many. I know DWR has also had it’s share of controversy in the past, and that many times you can find products they cary elsewhere. I’m a fan because they have championed high quality modern design, and exposed modern design to so many people over the last 15 years.

Today DWR introduced their new iPad app. While the app is primarily a shopping tool for DWR’s inventory of products, it is much more. The app is a rich interactive tool that features designer profiles, timelines, videos, interviews, a room designer and more. In many ways this app reminds me of an interactive book, similar to Phaidon’s Design Classics which was introduced for the iPad a few years ago.

DWR’s app is a nice example of the changing face of interactive content, and how the iPad and other tablets are forever changing the way we absorb and interact with digital content. While this app could be ported to a website, the result wouldn’t be the same. Like so many applications designed specifically for touch screen devices DWR’s app encourages  the user to do more. It creates an experience that goes beyond online shopping, educating and inspiring. Even if you are unable to purchase the products that DWR sells, this app is a great resource for those interested modern design. By making the inspire and learn sections equal to the shopping section DWR has created an experience that is open to all and reinforces their brand. I hope we see more of this kind of thing in the future. Companies like IKEA have already jumped on this band wagon, and frankly I’d rather experience something like this over Amazon.com any day.

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