The Digital Experience 2.0

Co-founder and producer at Salvi Media, William Salvi discusses the digital experience with One North Interactive Creative Directors Joseph Peart & Jessica DeJong.


Will: Tell me a little about your roles here at One North and what you guys do?

Jessica: Currently I'm a creative director but also the director of the front end development and design teams. So, I lead creative engagements with our clients, partner with our UX and brand teams and then see the ideas through development with our front end development team.

Joseph: Yeah, my name is again Joseph Peart. I'm a creative director, part of the experience design team as well. We tend to call ourselves the 3 pack of creative directors here. You typically have a structure where you have a primary creative director but we've spread that out into 3. That really helps cover a few key kind of distinct differences between creative directors here. But specifically for me, my role I have with my team is to really take the interaction and the visual expression of one's brand and actually begin to apply that into how it works on a screen, whether it's a website or a progressive web app or a kiosk.

Essentially anything with a screen, it comes through myself and our team and we figure out how to best work with all the disciplines to create an experience.

Innovation of the Digital Experience

Jessica: The bar, just in general, for what users expect out of their digital experiences is constantly raising. We work with a lot of professional service firms but just because you're a consulting agency doesn't mean that your users aren't comparing you to Netflix and Apple and Google.

All of those users compare every experience to that and so we're working with our clients to help amplify those solutions to meet and exceed user expectations.

Joseph: I'd say in addition to that, also what is right for that client? What is the best approach to... They might look for something that's really kind of neat and unique and does it align with their brand? Does it align with their budget? Does it align with the way we can actually bring something like that to fruition that would actually benefit them versus just being kind of cool?

We always sympathize yes it's cool but we want to make sure it fits reality of their audience.

What Next for the Digital Experience

Will: You're both creative directors. You lead development teams.

So, what in your minds, what was the digital experience 5 years ago, what is it today and what is it going to be in 5 years?

Joseph: Go ahead.

Will: And give me your - give me a prediction. For me, 2040, we all got headsets on. We're in our own little computer system.

Joseph: Nobody is talking with each other ever again.

Will: We're all just in a video game. Yeah, so that's my prediction.

Jessica: So, I would say 5 years ago, the digital landscape was bringing traditional materials, like a print brochure, to life in a digital format. And now, our expectations have been reset and we expect something much more natively digital.

I think in the future... Gosh, I wish I had a crystal ball, I could tell you that. I think just continuing to leverage technologies that personalize the experience for viewers, not in a creepy way, but in a way that serves up -

Will: Is more unique to them.

Jessica: Yeah, like a personalized relevant experience. Yeah.

Joseph: I think in the future, as well is like what content, what access do I have to information that anything like a device actually starts to understand you even better in a non-creepy way.

This is Joseph's world. How can we bring information to him in terms of what I do from day-to-day, but when it comes from what I expect from a website or an experience.

Will: Do you think a user experience might turn into you go on a
website and it might be slightly different than my going on a website?

Joseph: More curation. Yeah.

Will: I like that thought.

Jospeh: In a non-creepy way because...

Will: Or in a creepy way.

Joseph: Right. You don't want to know everything about someone. They already do but at least if I come to a website and I've been there before, maybe I should get some content that knows me a little bit better because I've already come here.

Will: Right.

Joseph: I should get some more of that...

Will: Curation.

Joseph: You looked at something specific, do you want to pick up where you left off? Another aspect to the future is the larger investment we have for A.I. So, any of the artificial intelligence whether it comes through voice like Alexa or Google or Siri, those are all only going to improve and again, find more ways to say - you could just say something out loud in your environment and say,

"Cue something up that I'm interested in."

What Content is Winning

Will: What kind of content are you finding yourself working with that pushes that boundary and also keeps creating that innovation and that experience keeps getting better and better?

Jessica: In one word, short, because I think attention spans are getting

Jessica: shorter and shorter.

Will: Is there a bubble to that though?

Jessica: Probably.

Will: I agree with you. I mean I'm just... I'm wondering cause we make 6 second videos. Is it going to turn into 3?

Joseph: Yes.

Will: I don't know. So I'm just wondering...

Jessica: I think it's almost two ends of that spectrum.

You have the really really short snippets but then I'm also seeing an increase in long-form content.

I think the New York Times magazine is a great example.

They do these beautiful interactive pieces with really complex robust data visualizations and you can really sink into that content.

So, I think it's almost one extreme or the other.

Staying On Top of Technology and Digital Trends

I think for the team here, we do that by attending conferences and sharing inspiration sites and meeting weekly to look at what other industries are doing.

So, I think just constantly refining that tool, if digital is our canvas.

Just constantly staying curious and learning and bringing that back to the team, that helps everybody grow.

And I think that's also part of the value of having an experience design team that has technologists, designers, brand thinkers, user experience designers.When you put all of us in a room, that's kind of where the magic happens.