We develop all types of digital brand experiences— from the corporate website and overall digital brand presence to interactive applications for specific situations. We offer the entire spectrum of digital brand management services, from analysis, concept development and design to implementation and ongoing maintenance.
The blue from the sky
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Enormous efforts are currently underway to create more physical experiences out of digital applications – whether through the use of immersive VR technology (e.g. Oculus Rift) or through simulation and surface sensing functions on responsive touchscreens and devices. Apple’s iPhone 6S is the first to have a 3D touch engine that recognizes the strength of a tap, triggers the corresponding functions and provides users with tangible feedback on their interaction.
Indeed, an essential, often underestimated aspect of the digital user experience starts much earlier – the way in which brands behave in the digital space.
Ideally, so-called interaction behavior fulfills more than just functional requirements. It expresses the inherent characteristics of a brand and shapes them at the digital touch point. Users experience a direct impression of the brand through the ways in which they interact with it – the specific digital channel doesn’t matter.
Brand and interaction
The detailed definition and precise implementation of digital interaction offers an opportunity to establish lasting brand attributes among users over the long term. Does a brand seem fast or slow, hard or soft? Is it simple or complex, straightforward or playful, open or mysterious? All of this can be influenced through interactive behaviors. These attributes contribute to brand values such as customer orientation, transparency, accessibility and drive.
We always consider the interactive behavior of a digital project early on – during the concept development phase: How does the page respond to the user? What impression does the user get of the brand as a result? Does the website independently offer content to users, or do people need to find it through interaction? Are the navigation elements more conventional or exploratory in nature? All of these can be correct depending on the defined goals.
Making the virtual tangible
Designing interactive behavior starts with developing the hover status for a button, and can continue for ages when working with complex forms. Aspects like service design are important here, as is digital product presentation.
Naturally, websites don’t actually have any kind of »texture«. This is why pictures, whether moving or still, play the main role in communicating product features. Future efforts will most likely focus on creating a »real« sensory experience. If you glide your hand over a virtual fabric surface shown on a tablet, the technology will simulate the texture of the material. Photos and videos need to do more than just show the product. They should explore the product characteristics in depth and express these in visual terms – while enhancing the brand at the same time.
The possibilities will continue to grow considerably in the future. Projects like Google Soli and Google Jacquard are already showing the future of user interaction between the opposites of »as touch-free as possible« and »as textured as possible«.
The right behavior for the right device
It’s essential to design the graphic user interface in such a way that it be recognized as a logical continuation of the corporate design. Creating this type of design goes far beyond simply developing control elements. It’s just as important to determine whether the content modules move quickly or slowly during interactions, what the different statuses and appearances of the control elements are, and how they transform from one status to the next. The various devices do play a major role – after all, commands that work on a classic desktop computer are definitely not suitable for smartphones or tablets.
An effective interplay of web design, corporate design and interaction design is what leads to a successful digital visual identity for brands and companies – especially when one considers the constantly growing number of digital channels, activities and devices. Designing this interactive behavior is a crucial aspect in creating brand experiences in the digital space.
by Markus Sauer, Design Director Interactive at KMS TEAM