Even as the retail world’s tides remain ever changing, certain characteristics remain afloat: companies are still looking for creative and effective ways to differentiate themselves from a sea of positioning statements and promotional waves that never quite break on the shore of consumer receptivity. After years of searching for and developing a better way to personalize the consumer shopping experiences and further find ways to interact with consumers, the retail market has finally gotten their sea legs through the utilization of a once exclusive technology, which was originally used by NASA and Boeing in their proprietary product development programs. What is this amazing technology that is well-positioned to further enhance the future of consumer experience, you ask? Augmenting Consumer Reality.
For everything that’s happening in Austin, TX for SXSW, there’s only a miniscule amount of information that can be taken in when relating to the event as a whole. But that’s okay, because everywhere you turn, there’s something amazing to be seen in the sea of brilliant new technologies, information, and ideas. Craig, Alex, and Matt embarked on the journey to Austin to soak themselves in what SXSW had to offer, and they came back with a few things to share.
The team made it a point to learn about the latest from the UX/UI world as well as see what some of the great online innovators are saying about the state of responsive design and preparing for the influx of devices that are being introduced to market. Admittedly, much of what we heard was still being attributed to the birthing era of responsive design, and much of that we are quite familiar with as far as going through the rounds and testing responsive ideas ourselves. A common theme we were hearing was the internet of everything and the internet of things. As we see more consumer products being introduced as “always connected” and “smart” such as the NEST, there comes more thinking and planning on how the experience will be portrayed. It’s definitely exciting times in the world of user engagement.
Apart from the technical aspects of the web, we saw quite a few inspirational talks from peeps that have started some good things. Dark Rye is a small group of people working on unbranded content for Whole Foods Market. The idea is all about storytelling and the end result is a online catalogue full of engaging video and inspirational stories. The budget is low but it all stems from passion – the passion of the stories that are found and the dedication of the team that makes it all happen. It’s a great recipe for an audience to click the share button.
Of course, with the maker movement in full swing, we had to sit in on some DIY talks. We saw 4 ambassadors share their ideas and success stories about their endeavors and the communities they share in. More and more hacker spaces keep popping up and spearhead a growing community of Makers to keep learning and inventing. It’s a lot to chew, but these places offer all sorts of savviness in programming, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer software design to name a few. It’s a great place to hang if you love taking stuff apart and want to hang with others doing the same thing. I’m keeping my eyes on the Steam Carnival up in LA to see what sort of sorcery those makers come up with.
There’s endless tales to be told from SXSW 2014, and some additional experiences may soon get their own blog post. Keep on the look out!