HOW CAN WE BRING OUR DIGITAL IDEAS TO LIFE AND GIVE PSD MOCKUPS A WIDE BERTH?
to me, “Stop fucking about making theoretical advertising and mocking it up on phone screens and prototype it!” I was taken aback. But in hindsight, the very fact I’d shown him digital ideas in a printed portfolio seems ludicrous. So, how can we bring our ideas to life and give PSD mockups a wide berth?
HAVE THE IDEA
The internet is a beautiful, messed-up, infinite dimension. Your idea is competing for attention with the million other things people can do online. Is your idea more appealing than watching Netflix? It’s a high bar, but it forces you to start thinking about what motivates people online. B. J. Fogg, a lecturer in behavioural design at Stanford University, states that all humans are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain; to seek hope and avoid fear; and finally, to seek social acceptance and avoid rejection. Which motivation does your idea tap into, and would it be easy for people to access or engage with it? The formula is: motivation + availability = action.
BUILD THE IDEA
What steps must you take to create a demo of your idea? Can you build on what already exists? Open APIs, snippets of code, and whole communities are out there to help bring your project to life. And learning how to join up sections of code is a lot easier than learning to do it from scratch. Failing this, websites like Fiverr and PeoplePerHour enable you to hire developers from around the world; a Chrome extension might only cost around £40 to build. As soon as it works, release it onto the web. If you wait for it to be perfect, it’ll never go anywhere.
SHARE THE IDEA
How can you get people talking about and engaging with your idea? Make a Twitter account and follow people you think might be potential users. Can you
get in the news? Sites such as www.helpareporter.com connect you with journalists who might be looking for stories on a related topic. A simple landing page for your project that people can share or sign up to will tell you whether there’s an appetite for your idea.
Imagine showing your creative director your idea in a notebook. Now imagine showing them a website and telling them you have 5,000 signups for it. Suddenly they’re excited, and you’re no longer dependent on their approval.
The process of creating a powerful digital idea should be like life before the mouse. Know your idea inside out and build it step by step, like entering code into a terminal. If an image or a headline doesn’t work, change it. Ask peers to scan your work for bugs, buttons that don’t make sense and explanations that feel long-winded, before giving you feedback.
And roll out new iterations of your project with lightning speed, ready to show the world. That’s how you make great work that lives in the real world. You get your hands dirty. Be wary of the mouse.
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