The future of web design: leading creatives discuss what’s coming next
Digital Arts, May 2013

Digital Arts interviewed creatives from Attik, The Neighbourhood, Studio Output, Ustwo and more to debate where interactive design is headed. Our Head of Digital Dave McDougall provided his usual insightful thoughts.

Interactive design works with concepts, mediums and technologies that develop at a frighteningly fast pace. We asked 13 leading thinkers and practitioners in design, development and branding to chart where it’s going and what key skills creatives are going to need to produce incredible work in this area.

We also asked them to look a decade into the future, revealing their hopes and fears for the best and worst ways that today’s mediums could develop – and what we can do to help.

DA: What’s the biggest change that’s happening in interactive/web design currently?
DMcD: The obvious answer to this is the accommodation of multi-device audiences and the movement towards ‘mobile-first’. Extrapolating this further though, the real change is that more and more surfaces are becoming interactive, the mouse and keyboard is on the way out and touch will rule. Designing for a web browser simply isn’t enough.

DA: What’s the most important design challenge ahead of us in the next 12 months?
DMcD: How to create fantastic-looking interfaces and content layouts for fluid aspect ratios and and different screen orientations – and doing it well.

DA:  What will be the most important skills for interactive/web designers in a year’s time?
DMcD: Three skills from me:
1. Embracing change – there’s a lot going on in digital design, which means keeping on top of what’s new and what’s next will be vital.
2. Typography – digital type has now caught up with the rest of the creative world, crafting this beautifully will be a killer skill I’ll look for in designers.
3. True interactivity – making your work feel responsive and interactive is as important as how it looks visually.

DA:  What would you like what we currently call ‘online’ to look, feel and work like in 10 years time?
DMcD: We’ll have long forgotten about the ‘page’, ‘navigation’ and ‘menus'; gestures and touch will be the primary way we interact with time and relationship-based streams of content.

I want the online space to be uncluttered, intuitive and truly useful. We’ll freely and unconsciously pay for online services and content, leaving brands and content creators free to concentrate on building digital experiences that are truly rewarding.

DA: What you be most disappointed by if whatever ‘online’ becomes looked, felt and worked like in 10 years time?
DMcD: Skeuomorphic, cluttered and ad-funded web ‘pages’.

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