Calling All Humans!
January 9, 2007 changed the world of technology forever. There is a good chance most people won't immediately recognize that date, but it is the date Apple Inc. introduced the iPhone.
Conquering, Despite Set-Backs
Despite network issues, terrible voice coverage and RIMs already deep market penetration, Apple was still successful at their new take on the smartphone. Why? Was it the apps in the iTunes store? Was it the touch screen? Was it the seamless MP3 player (iPod). Was it "visual voicemail"? Although these features helped, there is a much bigger element that goes unnoticed. It's the same element that will allow the iPad to edge out the Nook, Kindle and the Sony Reader.
The Missing Element
Months ago, I had a conversation with my sister, Victoria Brady, a journalism student at GVU. We were discussing the future of digital vs. traditional newspaper. I made a comment that people don't want to read off computer screens or iPhones. Consumers would rather read from good old fashioned paper and ink. The rise in electronic devices is due only to necessity and convenience. Today, a good friend of mine, Geoff Wood was the recipient of my rant on a similar issue. So what is this element? It's called the human element.
The Human Element?
We appease the human element by appealing to more of the senses (Touch, Smell, Sight, Hearing and Taste) The human element for Apple is the ability to take the "computer" out of their electronic devices by adding "touch" to "hearing" and "sight". Have you ever interacted with the iPhone? It feels natural, it feels as if you are really interacting with a surface. There isn't any delay or lag time, everything interacts to YOU, the human. This element seems to be what draws people to the iPhone. The more human you can make something, the more engaging the response from your audience. Did you catch that? "The more human you can make something, the more engaging the response from your audience."
How Does It Play Out?
Have you ever kept a business card, or brochure piece because it had a unique emboss, or premium paper, or perhaps was a bit odd? Have you ever recalled memories from a texture or surface? Our screen based technology has changed the way we communicate, but designers and marketers must never forget that they are still communicating to humans. Humans don't want to view the world through a screen or passive environment. They crave tangible interaction with their senses.
Calling All Humans!
We shouldn't ignore new technology or mobile devices, but in themselves they are only a small piece of the pie. Keep the human element in mind. Supplement your "screen based" communication methods with a more human touch. Mail a letter or use a clever brochure. The more "human" your next ad piece, the more reaction you will get.
Image used from Apple.com