Rethinking the old receipt

A digital agency in London is experimenting with rethinking… huh… the receipt! The project grabbed my attention: I’m a big fan of limitations in the creative process, and I’m also interested in exploring mundane objects. The project was initiated by Icon Magazine, who’s been asking designers to rethink everyday life products.

As I read about the endeavor, I asked myself: how did we not do this before? From a marketing point of view, it’s quite interesting. Anytime a company interacts with its clients there is a chance to enrich the connection from various angles: raise brand awareness, help, inform, and plant the seed for future sales.

The redesigned receipt looks actually quite interesting. I mean, we’re talking about an every day receipt. We all know how uninteresting they are. Beyond the trivia, calories info, and a tip when your favorite item usually sells out (brilliant useful data!), there is an entertainment tip and a chance to customize your receipt if you’re a regular. This last piece of data is also very good because it allows the customer to interact back and perhaps make the receipt even more useful for them. I have to say, I collect most of my receipts (mainly for return safety) and I was delighted when I saw this. What a good use of time, space, and paper. And since many of these are given away every day anyhow, what a better way to capitalize on it? It’s a like an analog Call-to-Action.

Read More.

Posted by on November 29, 2011 with no comments yet

A console game with no screen?

Designer Adam Henriksson created Pockit, a game console concept that’s played without a screen or graphics. All players use is a Wii-like motion-sensing wand.

“The console is actually a portable motion controller that focuses on various objects around the gamers and returns feedback to the gamers through sound, light and vibration depending on which the gamers acts to win.”, says Adam. The goal is to trick your opponent into waving his controller around too much, which takes him out of the game. Quite different from attacking or “kill” your rival, right?

Fast Company featured the gadget and reports that “the players do this [the tricking] by fencing or jousting, and trying to parry each other’s moves with as little movement as possible. The speed of movement allowed for each round is defined by a piece of music, Henriksson explains. “Typically, the music plays very slowly, which means the players spend most of their time in slow motion.””

The groundbreaking news is that the player is not focused on an avatar but on real people. And according to Adam, the intention is to “enhance social engagement”. And get some exercise. Check out this video; it shows a bit of the fun it is, and some of the product creation process.

Pockit doesn’t have a manufacturer yet, but with all the social media going on in our times I bet it won’t take long till this is a reality. If not, it was a good experiment.

Posted by on November 23, 2011 with one comment so far

On visualizing

Here’s a quote I saw today:

“It would be ridiculous to try to express by curved lines moral ideals, the prosperity of peoples, or the decadence of their literature. But anything that has to do with extent or quantity can be presented geometrically. Statistical projections which speak to the senses without fatiguing the mind, possess the advantage of fixing the attention on a great number of important facts.”

Alexander von Humboldt‘s early ideas on data visualization, circa 1811, quoted in Visual Storytelling

Posted by on November 8, 2011 with no comments yet

Socia Media ROI

blog_image_social-media-roi.jpgHere’s an interesting graph on Social Media ROI — something not always easy to compute.

A few worthy highlights from looking at that graph:

  • Facebook is the activity with highest ROI right now.
  • YouTube is the medium companies plan to increase marketing use most.
  • Over 80% of companies are using social media to recruit (talent and not only customers), and 64% find it highly successful.
  • Businesses plan on increasing their budgets for social recruiting by 55% in 2011.

The diagram also mentions that if you’re planning to incorporate more social media into your marketing plan, a helpful step is to define your key objectives, such as:

  • Short-term sales
  • Engage existing customers
  • Brand awareness
  • Complement promotional campaign
  • Encourage word of mouth
  • increase searchability
  • Spread news and important information about your business
Posted by on November 7, 2011 with one comment so far

out SIC://

blog_image_sic2011.jpgLast Wednesday and Thursday, Patrick, Aaron, Tim, and I spent a good amount of time at SIC, the first Seattle Interactive Conference.

1600+ attendees were already connected, and in full network mode even before the start of the conference on Wednesday. This networking was possible by an online community created by SIC and powered by Pathable — so sleek to see who’s attending each session as well as to have the ability to connect directly with anybody (by requesting a private meeting). Over 80 sessions encompassing keynote speakers, panelists, and moderated audience debates combined great visionary speakers on technology, creativity, and emergent trends.

On both days, entrepreneurs, developers, online business professionals, advertisers, producers, designers, artists, writers, and thinkers gathered inside the Seattle Convention Center — almost all digitally armed with laptops, iPads, and smart-phones; some with all of the above. Occasionally between sessions, I saw groups of fellowgeeks going out to enjoy the Seattle street food coming from the various food trucks that alternatively parked on 8th Avenue, on one side of the Convention Center. Yes, I sugared my brain between talks with a competent coconut brownie by Street Treats (free if you stopped by the AOL booth… oh well).

The last day featured the TechStars Demo Day, at the ShowBox SODO. This presentation was comprised of 10 startups pitching their hard work of 10 weeks to investors of all calibers. TechStars is a startup accelerator with participation requirements higher than Ivy League schools, for a rough idea of what this “pitch show” was like.

There’s so much more to talk about that I’m going to go dead-simple in conference-style, if the reader doesn’t mind. Here are some words / impressions still buzzing in my head:

  • It’s not about the UI, it’s about the total UX
  • Good interactive design is data/user/goal/idea-driven
  • Build on data!
  • Tackle business goals with user goals
  • Have an experience strategy
  • Audience anticipation and participation = use narratives
  • Local semiotics (!!)
  • Never forget: technology as a means to a solution, not an end in itself
  • Positioning is dead; interaction is itself branding
  • Narrative and interaction go together = a more human experience
  • Use ethnography (really: talk to and observe people)
  • Social trigger: the now is irresistible
  • Halo effect: focus on one strength
  • Cold leads vs. warm leads = build an aggressive homepage
  • Post-opulence design = the non-wealthy look and feel approach
  • Disruptive technology / innovation
  • Less options = more conversions
  • Make a claim, show the proof = instant credibility
  • Interactive experience is the most powerful thing to connect users and brands

Some list, right? A few of them are quite inspiring (not to mention it seems there’s a design revolution in the works?).

If any of the above got anybody thinking — or craving a good ol’ discussion — why, that’s a good opportunity to stop by, or call and say hi. We wouldn’t say no to partnering and exploring, or at least play, with some of these ideas.

Oh, and muchas gracias to DennisBounmy and Jonathan for guarding the HQ while we were out.

Posted by on November 4, 2011 with 2 comments so far