“I was excited to see many entries address issues of cross-platform design through the use of responsive design or with multi-format compatible designs,” said juror Sophie Henry. ”The industry is still learning to deal with the shift to touch-based interfaces now that tablets are becoming so prevalent. This is pushing designers to find new ways to let users input information and navigate.”
“No longer is mobile an afterthought, as it has been over the last three to four years,” said juror Scott Prindle. ”We’ll see a continued shift towards mobile-first thinking, with a focus on responsive design that works across the full range of screen sizes.”
The rise of mobile computing with its numerous single-function apps, also continues to influence the structure of websites by emphasizing simplicity and brevity.
“The challenge the best work answered was relaying a message in a short amount of time,” juror Madison Wharton Marks said. ”For years we were convinced that the more time the user spent on a site, the more successful we were at getting them to remember the brand. But if the user spends ten minutes on a site and doesn’t tie that experience to the brand or take away the big message, it’s less effective.”
When asked about disappointments in this year’s entries, juror Perry Fair was brief. ”There was a definite lack of humor this year,” he said.
“I was surprised that entries would rather go into emotional or upsetting territory, or pull at our heartstrings, than to try to make things funny,” Henry said. ”Comedy is the hardest form of art I guess. Either that or it is a sign of rough economic times that no one wants to take that risk.”
Other disappointments? ”Too many entries appeared to fall from the same tree, visually mimicking a popular pinning site, which shall remain nameless,” Curry said.
“The most effective projects had a great idea and messaged it in the simplest way possible.” —Madison Wharton Marks
“The weakest area was around Facebook-based apps,” Prindle said.”We know Facebook is an important part of the modern advertising ecosystem, but I think as an industry we struggle to figure out to what extent consumers want to engage within the context of their social graph. So many of the Facebook-based apps were smart, and beautifully designed, but I questioned whether consumers engaged in a way that clients were expecting.”
“Social networking still works too much like broadcasting,” Henry added.”I expect to see social networks evolve toward more collaborative environments where people can more easily co-author content.”
I asked the jurors what technical developments will alter the role of interactive media in the future.
“NFC (near field communication) and RFID (radio-frequency identification) through mobile devices will have a great impact on inter-active media,” Marks said. ”We are no longer tethered to our machines and are now experiencing the world through mobile devices, interactive out-of-home media and installations and in-store environments. The more we customize experiences and content for users and allow them to easily share their experi-ences, the more they will find our products useful and necessary.”
“We’ll see inventive uses of image- and audio-recognition technology that bridge the physical and digital worlds, creating seamless, fully-integrated brand experiences,” Prindle said.
“The ongoing reduction in size and weight of components and devices will lead to form factors we can’t even anticipate,” Henry said. ”I’m also curious about what uses interactive media will have for biometric input.”
“The use of physical objects in environmental installations made for more substantial executions with a deeper level of emotional impact.” —Dave Curry
In addition to technical, I also asked the jurors what business, cultural and social developments will affect the role of interactive media in the future.
“There is an undercurrent of social responsibility that has become the business norm now,” Fair said.”A rise in tech-driven philanthropic endeavors is a positive trend,” Curry added.
“Culturally, we’re struggling with life dominated by gadgetry, connectivity and ever-shortening attention spans,” Prindle said. ”As advertisers, we’ll need to understand and respect that and create messaging and utility that truly fulfills unmet user needs.”
Curry said,”Our growing devotion to connected devices will continue to redefine how we consume media, communicate with one another, measure our lives and understand our merging physical and digital worlds.”
Evaluating this year’s submissions required a ten-week commitment by our jurors, who reviewed the projects in their offices prior to finals. Bundles of disk-based entries, lists of URLs and preloaded mobile devices were sent to the jurors for evaluation every two weeks. Finals were held in our offices using multiple workstations with a T-3 networked connection to evaluate web-based entries. Mobile and tablet entries were presented on the appropriate device. Disk-based entries were delivered over our networked-based server.
Selection for this year’s annual required a minimum of four out of five votes. Judges were not permitted to vote on projects with which they were directly involved; I voted in their stead. The winning projects can be viewed on our website (www.commarts.com).
I would like to extend our grateful appreciation to our jurors for their conscientious efforts in selecting our 19th Interactive Annual. —Patrick Coyne ca
Executive Director of Interactive
Dave Curry, executive director of interactive at Seattle, Washington-based POP is a passionate leader in the digital field whose conceptual skills and talent have produced award-winning work for a wide-ranging client base. With more than fifteen years of interactive under his belt, Curry has collaborated with hundreds of clients including Nintendo, Microsoft, Nike, AT&T, EA Games, PBS and Target. He has written for Advertising Age broadcasted his thoughts over the airwaves of American Public Media and his work recognized in Communication Arts, The FWA, Graphis, Print, The Seattle Show and Webby Awards.
Chief Creative Officer
JWT Atlanta, Dallas and Houston
Perry Fair, chief creative officer and head of JWT Atlanta, Dallas and Houston, began his career as an intern at Wieden+Kennedy on Nike before returning to graduate from Clark Atlanta University and The Creative Circus. He then joined Burrell, winning and working on adidas, TRUTH, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Toyota, Lexus, P&G and McDonald’s. He went on to The True Agency as associate creative director on Nissan and Infiniti before migrating to Element79 as lead writer for Gatorade and Propel. Returning to The True Agency as executive creative director, Fair then worked for TBWA\Chiat\Day where he launched social, mobile, gaming and integrated platforms and won multiple awards for his Nissan work. As digital executive creative director at GreyNYC he won the agency's first digital agency of record. He then became co-chief digital officer of Mullen and launched work for Google GoMo, Google Galaxy Nexus and FAGE.
Director of User Experience
Sophie Henry, director of user experience at Oakland, California-based Comrade, has more than sixteen years of user experience design expertise. She has created interfaces for websites, software applications, kiosks, interactive TV, GPS and mobile devices. Henry considers her role a key bridge between marketing, engineering, product development and creative departments and, leading by example, guides teams of user experience strategists and designers to work collaboratively to address and resolve usability challenges within the business and technical constraints of each project. A former software engineer at Hewlett Packard, she supervised the development of software to be localized in eleven languages. She holds a MS in human factors engineering from Virginia Tech and an engineering degree in computer science.
Partner/Chief Digital Officer
Scott Prindle, partner/chief digital officer at Made Movement in Boulder, Colorado, spent ten years as a developer and technology director at R/GA Interactive in New York City where he led the development of innovative digital platforms including NikeiD.com. At CP+B he helped lead the build-out of agency’s digital capabilities, including software development, emerging media innovation, mobile, social and digital strategy. Prindle was instrumental in helping CP+B achieve Digital Agency of the Year three times (and twice as runner-up) in five years. He is co-chair for 4A's Creative Technologist Committee, on the board of directors for Boulder Digital Works and was recognized this year by Adweek as one of the industry's Top Ten Technologists.
Executive Director of Production
The Barbarian Group
Madison Wharton Marks is the executive director of production at the New York office of The Barbarian Group, where she oversees the production of all of TBG's digital and video executions. Prior to Barbarian, Wharton Marks was the head of integrated production at Momentum Worldwide and before that was a producer at CP+B and Heavy.com. Her experience ranges from digital, broadcast and experiential with American Express, Coca Cola, Burger King and Microsoft and she's received awards from Cannes, the Clios and D&AD.