Wonder what the future of experience will look like in a post-covid world? We gathered a group of experts to submit to quick-fire questions in a panel/gameshow hybrid like no other.
Together, the team hashed out what the future of interaction looks like without touch, what the deal is with virtual events, and the experience design elements that may never return post-pandemic.
If you missed the virtual event, you can still watch the full event in the video above.
We caught up with our panelists Rama Allen and Mike Monello and our host, Georgia Frances King to gain some further insight into where they see the realm of experience heading post-COVID.
SIGNAL 2 NOISE… MORE BUZZ
The world seems afire. Race, economy, climate, down to the tenor of conversation, we are a global population reeling with anxiety, anger, distrust, and conflict. As experience designers what do you consider your first responsibility to rekindle hope or connection in these times?
Rama Allen: Return the Wonder. Defeat the Crass. Facilitate the Conversations. Puncture the Assumptions. Commingle the Diverse. Inspire Curiosity. Invoke the Compassion. Inhabit the Communities. And gift intrinsic value to every participant.
Michael Monello: Two things 1) We need to be diligent about the tools and platforms we use and create, carefully consider how and why they will be used and by whom. 2) We need diverse teams in order to properly deliver on the above.
Georgia Frances King: I’m not an experience designer myself, but I do believe that the most valuable lessons learned are often the ones you don’t even realize you’re learning at the time. They creep into our subconscious and stay there for a long time—that’s the power of experiential media; seeing (or hearing, or touching, or smelling) really is believing.
Name an innovative technique, strategy, or technology that is gaining adoption in quarantine that you see will persist, or even grow if and when the virus is fully vanquished?
Rama Allen: SocialVR. Springboarding from decades of success in community building and activity in MMOs, socialVR is the way we erase geography to gather in shared worlds to play, share ideas, attend events, and co-exist. While “VR” naturally telegraphs the assumption of crowds in headsets, this is not the case as many of these platforms port to web browser based experiences, thus democratizing attendance. While this category may have been considered nascent pre-quarantine, we only need to watch the product launches, investment, and race to create rich features to understand that the quickly expanding adoption by early movers will soon amplify to larger audiences. Facebook’s forthcoming Horizon project will likely be the platform that breaks it into the mainstream. Moving forward, event based experiences will no longer need to be locked to a space, a time, and the audience physically closest to it.
Michael Monello: All of our habits have been disrupted and changed, from our morning coffee to lunchtime, shopping, entertainment, etc. When the world re-opens again, we will make new habits as we settle into a different reality. That’s the opportunity facing our clients, our industry, and our world, taking into consideration the question above.
Georgia Frances King: Leaving more time for people to speak before the most extroverted jump in. On Zoom, you need to leave a little more time for people to pipe up, and I hope this extra few seconds will allow for more representative conversations without the loudest voices in the room booming.
The streaming wars are upon us! Who will be left standing when the war is over and why? (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock, CBS All-Access, Quibi)
Rama Allen: If I could predict this, I’d probably be able to finally finance my supervillain base at the heart of a volcano. However, even a casual observer would say Quibi is not long for this world.
Michael Monello: Quibi won’t be around much longer without a radical change, but the real loser isn’t on the list – Cable TV. As the streamers offer the opportunity to sign up for a month at a time and bounce around options, and the big streamers offer live TV with DVR and on-demand capabilities, Cable TV just doesn’t have much going for it anymore.
Georgia Frances King: Amazon Prime, because they will continue to take over the world, one convenience-optimized brain at a time. (That, and they are continually hiring in a stellar content team.)
Tell me about your favorite art-tech artist who has been doing weird stuff during quarantine.
Rama Allen: Holly Herndon. Her music, composed and performed with an AI is a staggering feat of innovation and beauty. In quarantine, she has started a podcast called Interdependence that explores the intersections of culture, technology and art. The guests are superb. Highly recommended.
Michael Monello: I’m partial to Alexa, Call Mom, a “late-capitalist ghost story” by Nitzan Bartov, Char Simpson, and Nouf Aljowaysir that uses off the shelf consumer tech to create a personal journey that imagines a new skill for Alexa – the ability to communicate with the dead. More info here: http://www.noufaljowaysir.com/alexa-call-mom
Georgia Frances King: Not an art-tech artist, but more absurdist theater! There is a British game/sketch show called Taskmaster that I fell in love with pre-COVID. They have comedians perform very simple but odd tasks, such as “blow this balloon up to the circumference of a cucumber” or “make this orange look like a businessman” or “give me the best hug”. During lockdown, they’ve been doing at-home tasks as they can’t record, and the YouTube subchannel “Hometasking” that has ensued is wonderful.