From a thousand songs in your pocket, to crowd sourced architecture, to rebel pirate branding – these stories from the latest TED Radio Hour will transform your notion of what's possible with design.
What about the power of digital design?
Read on to see how some of the most influential design efforts pair up with the pervasive reach of digital.
How Can We Design For A Better Experience?†
How does a perfectly functional product like the Zune fail when the iPod exploded? Tony Fadell, who worked on the iPod says he's wrestled with that question his entire career and believes the key is designing for 2 things: the rational and the emotional. The rational makes people want to buy, the emotional makes the do it.
Listen to Tony tell his story on the TED Radio Hour
Designing a Better Digital Experience
Do you judge a company by the quality of their website?
What we've found building web sites for over 20 years is the beauty of a company is often hidden behind bad design. Then there are those that have done everything by the book but there's no emotional impact.
One of our strongest recommendations: be more real. Ditch the stock photography and build a digital experience around real images. Spend more on a local photographer to capture your team and your facility than on iteration after iteration of a "website design". To that end, try to capture your team in-the-moment. Less posed and more "action" oriented (a discussion with a collogue). Consider taking pictures of elements of your organization — build your own "stock photography" library which is really all you.
How Do Buildings Make Us Feel?†
Mark Kushner describes how the pendulum of architecture design has swung the last 300 years to the challenges of costs in time and money to create buildings and how that changed with the advent of social media and the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.
Kushner describes the intersection of digital and the physical in the form of social media community and the increase in communications. He gives examples of how audacious and scary design can be shared, commented on, liked, hated, and become a part of the community before it's even built.
It seems the same can now be said of digital.
We are surrounded by it. We work in it, it's in our pockets, in our children's classrooms, next to our beds and rapidly pushing into our appliances (the Internet of things).
It's often called "UX" or the user experience and when it's the first thing a potential client experiences of you, how do you want them to feel? What would you like them to do?
Designing a clean line of the experience requires a constant reduction and refinement of the message. Using tools like A/B testing puts the decision making into the hands of your visitors.
Capturing truth happens in the moment when tools and processes disappear and allow people to be themselves and execute their craft feeling unobserved – thus creating an expression that moves audiences to an emotional connection and action.
Look at all the channels as the architecture. Social media, your website, a podcast. It's much more than a marketing consistency approach. It's more of an extension of limbs to your story – each performing a specific function and hand off to the other. Say less and different things at different touch points to allow your audience to explore and follow whichever vein makes the most sense to them.
How Do You "Design" Trust Between Strangers?†
Stranger equals danger. Yet 750,000 people stay in an Airbnb listed room every night. The key, says co-founder Joe Gebbia is design. And not design of how something looks but design that makes you feel a certain way about a person – designing trust.
Joe goes on to say that Airbnb had a lot of competitors back then and they used design as a competitive advantage. Technology has leveled the playing field and people are not going to choose something that's harder to use.
Designing Trust into Digital
Your statements of who you are and what you do is marketing. Your customer's statements are social proof.
Taking that one step further, social media is an engine of social power you can leverage in building trust with your audience. It's reach is exponential when you consider that a single like or share instantly accelerates your message to a whole new audience.
But leveraging social media requires something to talk about and that's where many get stuck. This is where we are using design to create tools and process that focuses on easy and cost effective content capture and publishing. It's why we are working to shift people away from web design and towards content design.
Are The Best Designers Rebels?†
Design critic Alice Rawsthorn tells the story of Edward Teach or Blackbeard – the infamous pirate of the 18th century. In order to take ships by causing the least amount of damage and casualties, Teach redesigned himself as a merciless brute. He wore heavy jackets and big hats to accentuate his height, he grew a bushy black beard to obscure his face and he attached lit matches to his hat so they sizzled menacingly whenever his ship was poised to attack.
His flag of a human skull and a pair of cross bones signified death in so many cultures for centuries and was immediately recognizable, even in the lawless, illiterate world of the high seas – surrender, or you'll suffer. People surrendered on sight. Pioneers of communication design.
Think beyond the surface of your marketing and dig deeper. Start a podcast, create online bids rather traditional, make videos directed to specific customers or prospects. Create a micro-site or try solo landing pages and pitch harebrained ideas to select audiences. Try, measure, change.
Our biggest anchor to rebel digital is tradition. An industry barely 25 years old, digital is cheaper, faster and more apt for experiment than anything we've ever had access to.
Digital is going real-time. Are you?
Forbes describes it as "business moments" or "a transient, customer moment that organizations can exploit dynamically based on the interconnection of many things".
Engineering business moments can be intimidating but designing digital marketing moments is something we're building right now for customers and it's as easy as just being yourself.
Going to where the rubber meets the road in capturing your story is a rebellious act when it comes to traditional marketing and it's easier than you think when you're looking to shake up your digital strategy.
What Can Today's Designers Learn From Nature?
Janine Benyus helps innovators solve problems by asking the question, how would nature solve this? Has nature solved this?
DaVinci or the Wright Brothers are two of the very few biomimics in history but todays designers are starting to adopt biomimicry.
Some examples today: How does nature repel bacterial. A galapago shark has a pattern similar to the speedo swim suits that broke all those olympic records which repels bacterial rather than with any chemicals. This is being considered for hospitals.
Scientists are making a synthetic tree because there's no pump at the bottom of a tree. They're thinking about putting this on the wallpaper in building to move water up.
Designing digital to be more natural
We're designing digital to be more natural by putting the conversation at the core of web design.
We've spent decades building web sites with every imaginable feature and flash only to discover that the biggest responses come when we spend more time designing the content rather than the web site. The best content, we've found, centers around the conversation.
We use a "wearable recording studio" to capture conversations from people who are good at what they do and can express a perspective verbally and persuasively.
Our recording gear disappears into the experience — a facility tour, a discussion with a client — anywhere that's natural to extracting the truth of the best of an organization.
We then build everything from that conversation: podcasts, videos, blog posts, inspired headlines and social media prompts.
Google translating the TED Radio Hour.
The 2011 documentary "The Architect and the Painter" tells the story of Charles and Ray Eames and their hands-on engineering and design quest to understand the relationship between the process and end product.
This was a lightbulb moment for Orbis in approaching digital communication and re-ignited with the TED Radio Hour podcast on the Power of Design.
We're designing web sites differently and believe how we're doing it is more powerful and cost effective than anything we've ever experienced.