This study is motivated and seeks to provide a dominant narrative about the future, future products and their advertising. Through this paper I am exploring what alternative future may bring to us.
The world around us is changing with a very fast pace. With the help of new technologies and designs we come across several new innovations very frequently and therefore I have tried to incorporate speculative design and tried to see things futuristic-ally.
Advertising plays an important role in society.it has come a long way from newspapers, magazines to now-a-days on everyone’s phone and laptop screens and has been an integral part of our lives. It is the paid promotion and strategy behind a product which shows the features, advantages of a product. From newspapers to radio to our personalized TV sets and now through our computer screens and mobiles it has become an integral part of our lives. Although many consumers find them really annoying it plays an important role in shaping everyone’s view on a topic.
Today there is a rising trend of personalized campaigns and advertisement in digital market. People are being offered to see advertisements of products they really want or have been searching for. In today’s world data is the epitome of all kinds of information and with the use of this data personized ad campaigns are being in digital market to attract customers. The main idea behind this approach is reaching the target audience with individualized messages can change people’s perspective and can definitely draw their attention. But considering all the pros of personalized advertising on social media and digital market there comes a big con which is also a concern for many, that is violation of privacy.
A recent study by Pew has revealed that while U.S. based consumers like targeted local search results, daily deals and coupons from their area, nearly 75% of them feel that tracking their searches and delivering contextual ads is a violation of privacy (The Daily Egg 2018).
Also there is a flip side to it where the users hardly want to see any kind of advertisements. Some of the reasons behind this mentality is often advertisements lack originality, people fail to see themselves fitting in that world the add is showing them, hence hardly find any relevance with the content and therefore fail to believe in it.
Another important factor is advertising takes up space that users would generally prefer be dedicated to content and clutters up the visible digital canvas (Neimark 2017).
Google ads that we see now-a- days scrolling all over the internet have cookies embedded in them and these cookies capture all are personal data. Though all this is done to show users relevant data and products that they have interest in still users are losing their personal data. Currently people have become more aware and restrictive with regards to their personal data and know about data breeching, therefore the continuous interruptions by online advertisements has become a big pain for them. Be it while watching video, after downloading any application or just simply surfing through an article, these advertisements are everywhere and annoy the audience.
But having said that this is also very much true that advertisements are required and are also a major source of revenues and hence cannot be ignored completely.
Hence ads bring with them a debate on whether all this is leading towards a new innovation and change in the advertising industry or irritating and snatching away people’s personal data and selling it away to big companies so that they can get benefitted from it? Through this article I would like to make a point on the future of advertising and my medium would be through speculative design.
Content when personalized can make things work better. Based on this idea my position is looking into how the future of advertisement can be changed if it is served with more personalization and relativity.
What does the future hold for advertising embedded in digital experiences is the core area of my research. When we talk about digital advertising there are many points that come into mind such as selling ad space on websites, getting people’s attention to capture it, making it more realistic as well as creative at the same time. There is no doubt about it that in most of the cases we get to know about new products, services in the market through advertising. Hence its quite sure that it cannot be ignored completely. I believe with new technologies, services, new branded products the phase of advertising should be simultaneously changed and actually that is what is happening right now. If we look some years back and reflect on the phase of advertising then we could easily say that it has come a long way, since evolution is today’s necessity, no changes can make things stale. Therefore, constant measures must be taken to balance business concerns and user satisfaction.
Steve jobs once said “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like.
That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
By the word design not only does it means the looks and aesthetics it also covers the problem solving approach to make things function better.
If we think about the future scope of advertising and how it can change the business strategy and people’s view for the respective product, the first thing that comes into my mind is designing it in such a way that users get involved with it, can relate to it and most importantly believe in the product that is being sold to them. According to me for achieving all this a design approach which could make things more personal and close to the users can work wonders.
Therefore, the design approach required in this case should make people relate to the product or if put down simply it should be more user centric. What else could replace the user’s attention apart from it being the user itself?
Let us take the case of wearables — accessories, clothes, footwear, what does a user think before buying it. Generally, there are 2 main questions that a buyer goes through in such a case:
· Do I need to buy it?
· Will the product look good on me?
The first question is very personal and is up to the user to make that choice but when it comes to the second statement there is a dilemma with which the user is going through. Mostly in case of online shopping people often face the problem of how the costume appears on their screen vs what it actually looks like. When we see a costume on a model we find it to be attractive and pretty and assume that it will look the same way on us, but when it doesn’t work users get disappointed.
Thinking on terms of a futuristic design solution what if the users are able to see themselves in those wearables in the advertisement itself and can decide if the products are suiting him/her or not?
To get the best possible solution as a designer one has to step in the shoes of user and get to know the exact user requirement and expectations. The idea behind this concept is to make users experience much more personalized and relatable and avoid irrelevant data appearing on their mobile screens.
Instead of stalking user data and shocking them by showing their previous search results and bugging them to buy the product, why not just leave the decision up to the user.
My Design Arguments
Talking with respect to speculative design I have come up with an idea. This idea is a futuristic approach to advertisements and a change in the way online shopping industry works. So generally what happens in case of online shopping problem with most of the users is that they are not able to imagine how the product (a wearable mostly) would look on them apart from the size and color issues. Because of these issue users generally find it hard to imagine the product on them, therefore I thought of speculative design with which people can create a model avatar of themselves and on all the online shopping websites they could see their own model avatar posing away with the products.
So through this design whenever user logs in to online shopping website he/she sees his/her model avatar instead of other models and this way user can get to see how the product looks on them. For this design user needs to upload their profile picture and needs to provide the exact body size dimensions so as to create the avatar and make it look like user’s online replica.so let’s say you are viewing a web page and there is a google add on your screen of a shopping website with a model posing the kurta, but your phone already has the model avatar mode on and you see your own model avatar in that add.
How would that feel? It will be a great feeling for the users to see their ads hovering over webpages, Facebook, YouTube and any other platform.
This model avatar will be like an independent feature in user’s mobile phones. Initially, for the first time, user has to fill all the size details, profile picture and this information will be saved and the avatar will be created.
Once all this setting is done and all the required details are filled, the avatar mode will be set to on and from then user can see himself/herself posing in different online shopping advertisements. If user does not want this option, they can anytime choose to switch it off.
Through this design in online shopping websites also the users can see the wearables on them and select whether to buy the product or not and one more advantage is user need not enter his size in these sites while shopping as the sizes are already taken and made compatible for the avatar. So user can just log into these sites, select the product, see its fitting on them through the avatar and buy the product.
Another speculative design related to advertising covers the advertisement on hoarding boards. Brands generally use big hoardings so as to make promotions and advertise their products. I have applied the similar concept like the one discussed above to make people relate more with the products. When the user uses the model avatar mode it acts like a filter and the users can see themselves on the hoardings and billboards through their camera screens.
The consumer is hard to impress (Kean 2015) and it takes time for them to make their trust in the brands. But for that to happen brands need a strong voice to show the features, services and capability of their products and that’s where advertising will play its part.
A speculative advertising as described above can change the future of advertising. Users main need is to make sure the product is fit for him/her and that they are investing at the right place. A design like this will make people build their trust in brands and opt for it.
Also without their being no typical advertising, people will feel liberated from annoying and often misleading interruptions. Though this design till now is limited to wearables section, more work can be done for other products. Apart from wearables other sections can also be covered for example for home décor section the products can be modelled and through camera user can be able to place the 3d model of the product where they want to put it up somewhat the way playground feature works for google.
A speculative way through which the design can speak on behalf of the product is much needed in the future and will open new prospects in the advertising agency and will also give new angles to Human centered design. Such design ideas can change the future of advertising and indirectly change people’s view and their lifestyle.
Kean, Amy. 2015. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/feb/16/the-future-of-advertising-what-will-2025-look-like.
Neimark, Dashiel. 2017. UXmatters. https://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2017/12/the-future-of-embedded-advertising.php.
2018. The Daily Egg. https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/personalized-search-local-ads/.