in Cities, Retail, Healthcare, Education, Museums, and Beyond
The metaphors we use online have always borrowed heavily from the offline world, but our online and offline worlds are now converging, and the biggest opportunities for innovative experiences will come from blending them intentionally.
We have existing metaphors online like “entrances and exits,” and “traffic,” and all sorts of other ideas borrowed from our offline environment. And often, as digital strategists, information architects, and user experience designers, we take those metaphors for granted rather than examining them and what they suggest about the metaphorical space the user or constituent is occupying.
But as technologies emerge and digital sophistication increases, we will have expanding opportunities to use metaphors that are still novel for digital, like proximity, where a user’s experience changes in response to his or her surroundings and nearby resources, or even sensory cues like temperature and other bodily metrics that may indicate meaningful response.
Place-makers in the physical world have long used sensory cues to establish certain associations for customers and visitors. In retail and tourism, these are common: think Whole Foods and their fine control of sensory cues that mean “freshness” in the produce department, or Disney theme parks and their masterful multi-sensory marketing. But now technologies like wearables and 3D printing are rich with possibilities for both physical place-makers as well as for the digital design of “place.”
In looking at this convergence, Kate O’Neill will also examine the meaning of place, and how our understanding of place relates to identity, culture, and intent, and how we can influence our audiences and shape their experiences more meaningfully.