I was thinking about something a bit this week and thought that I would share it on my blog. Apologies in advance if the ideas are still in the less than solid state. Basically I have been thinking about the future – that the web, emerging technologies, cell phones, social networks are not really trends, as some people think of them as. They ARE trends, in that when a new example of one comes around, it’s all anyone talks about for a while (can you say iPhone? Facebook? Club Penguin? Webkinz?). But the fact that the larger population is even paying attention to these sorts of things, let alone the amount of attention those people are paying, in greater numbers is the phenomenal thing.
It’s this move, from trend to habit, that I have been thinking about lately. No longer is it only the early adopters using new technology, websites and gadgets. Now, in ever-increasing numbers, the rest of the population is starting to early adopt as well. Trends are assimilating themselves into peoples daily lives. I received multiple emails and messages today from friends that claimed the only way they remembered my birthday was via Facebook or MySpace alerts.
It’s because of this assimilation that we, as producers, need to move ahead in our thinking. We have to have innovation of product and service on our minds at all times. Me-too products and services are too old the second they come out. We have to think about cool ways to take this new tech culture our societies are adopting and make new ways of learning, entertaining and existing.
One example is mobile. Mobile has come to mean cell phones. But the new iPod Touch released yesterday has a wifi browser on it. Still a small screen, but browser capabilities. Many people are adopting this portable, surf anywhere mentality – but the devices and sites aren’t keeping up. We need to think about how that switch will affect our content offerings and how we design. Normal cell interfaces that access online are still around and will be for a while. We have to design for that as well.
But we also have to think about how the future users will use it. Are the users using their phone browser for different activities than their normal browsers? If they are watching video, is it certain kinds of videos? Are there demographic differences in the kind of content consumed? What are new ways that we can use this more portable means of accessing the Internet that will work for any phone interface that the user uses? International cell users can give great insight here, as can pre-existing, albeit small US cell content networks.
How can we move past simply identifying the next trends and start predicting habits? How will we help future users to push the boundaries of how they are communicating? What are you doing to this end?
technorati tags:clubpenguin, webkinz, iphone, future, mobile, cell
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