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July 21, 2016 - No Comments!

Highlights of an interview with Dave Fletcher in CTO/CFO Magazine

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The Founder of The Mechanism, Dave Fletcher, was interviewed in the recent issue of CTO/CFO Magazine about the company, their work and what surprised him over the past 16 years of running a company.

Read the entire interview, conducted by Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine right here: http://bit.ly/CTOCFOinterview

Here are some highlights:

CEOCFO: Mr. Fletcher, front and center on your site is “We use technology to develop authentic and affectionate interactions between human beings.” What does that mean day-to-day? What are you doing at The Mechanism?

Mr. Fletcher: I founded the company in 2001, and have worked in the digital design field since 1996. One thing I discovered early on is that many digital agencies were focused purely on technology and programmatic solutions, and less so on developing human-focused, branded interactions. After all, whether it’s an app, a website or another hybrid interface, ultimately, there’s a human being on the other side looking to build a relevant, enduring relationship with a brand or product. Since my background is in brand identity development, I still maintain an interest and enjoy working with tactile experiences and understanding what it means to interact with something; whether it is a brand or an experience. Therefore, The Mechanism strives to create affection for our client’s brands by injecting organic, fluid and meaningful interactions into the digital solutions that we are creating.


CEOCFO: When you are developing a concept for a client what might you take into consideration that less experienced people do not realize is important?

Mr. Fletcher: The number one thing I explain to our clients is that no matter the size -- their audience is always the gauge – the most important thing to focus on. What does your audience want? What does your audience expect? Not, what do "you" expect. It is a tough pill to swallow at times. This is because when you are working with large companies, there tends to be large egos involved at the top. There is nothing wrong with that, because I believe that it is definitely a part of how they achieved success. However, I also believe that one of the most important things is to help company leadership (and their marketing teams) understand as much as they can about the people they are reaching out to with their brand identity. What do they expect? Where else do they go online? What are some of the apps they use? In knowing this, it helps us pull it back to a second tier, which is, “Let us look at what else is going on in your industry by examining trends and data, and let us look at all of those things that are a part of who you are as a brand or company.” By looking at the audience first, we tend to find serviceable information.


CEOCFO: On your website it indicates you do select projects on the basis of their challenges and opportunities. Do you know pretty quickly when you are first talking with someone if the project is right for you? How do you know?

Mr. Fletcher: We look at projects that have a meaningful impact. I know that sounds like kind of a bogus response, but we really like working with clients that are either doing good for other people, helping people succeed, or helping people enjoy their lives or their work lives. It is funny, because when you focus on positivity, if someone contacts you and has a well funded, but personal project that may not have a positive impact on a larger scale, it is easier to turn them away. In rare cases, we will look at a project on the basis of what the long-term ramifications are. When we worked with Flight of the Concords, for example, we enjoyed the music, and they were nice guys. Over the years, we have gotten a lot of interest for potential employees and interns from that client. Was it a financial windfall because we worked with them? Absolutely not. But that's ok, because from a business standpoint it was something that helped us to build reputation. Therefore, occasionally projects will come along that are reputation builders and not the most financially fantastic.


Read the entire interview, conducted by Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine right here: http://bit.ly/CTOCFOinterview

September 18, 2015 - No Comments!

Friday Link Bait: Elon Musk, Carbonite Pop Tarts and the Mystery of the Dislike Button

Cowabunga! It's your weekly dose of Link Bait - September 18, 2015.

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  • Elon Musk Not many people know that The Mechanism has a connection with Elon Musk, who according to Steven Colbert may be the world's first Supervillain.

    Back in the days that we were working on the Ansari X Prize website, Elon had a team in the competition, building a spaceship to win the prize. We were introduced to him at the Explorer's Club in NYC for a fundraising event - and he was a real swell, quiet and thoughtful guy. For a dude who's "afraid of robots becoming smarter than humans through A.I.", it seems very "supervillain-like" for the guy behind Tesla and SpaceX to want to deliver the internet to every corner of the world by sending satellites into space. What should he name it? Perhaps Skynet – and maybe we should call in a Terminator or two to really expedite his (presumably) evil plans?
  • Han Solo Pop Tarts Before they sold out in minutes, you could buy a 30-dollar Pop-Tart with Han Solo frozen into the frosting, just like he was frozen into carbonite. Hospitals anxiously await sick nerds lining up who couldn't resist tasting a hand-painted, resin Han Solo. May the Fork Be With You... Always.
  • Dislike Button? Everyone, including many highly-regarded social media bloggers, members of the Technorati, and several TV newscasts touted the Pro's and Con's of Facebook's upcoming "Dislike" button, causing an internet uproar. In reality, there was no such thing, as Facebook noted they were working on an emoji that will convey "empathy" for instances where a "Like" might be a little inappropriate. Sounds to us like they found out about a project we recently did with the Pharmaceutical giant Amgen...

August 18, 2015 - No Comments!

How to Bring Big Design Ideas to Big Pharma

In this short, Dave talks about how to bring big design ideas to Big Pharma. The Mechanism has recently been introducing innovative interface and identity solutions to several large pharmaceutical companies.

The Pharmaceutical industry is evolving - digitally. By trusting modern creative agencies to innovate within the eLearning and branding space, and by cultivating micro-branded communities and unique gamification-centric learning techniques (typically reserved for modern university-level education), to transcend their internal curricula, they are educating their teams, physicians and caregivers in profound ways. Granted, there are always going to be government-controlled conditions to prevent certain online communication from being immediately accessible, but it's the agencies that are able to think outside of the regulatory box that will usher forth a new paradigm in pharmaceutical learning and sharing.

As part of our 14-year celebration, we sat down with our Founder, Dave Fletcher -- to talk candidly about The Mechanism, how it started and where it's headed. We've put together a series of short video clips from the lengthy interview that we'll be sharing over the next several weeks.

December 12, 2014 - Comments Off on Intern Chronicles – with Christian Houmoller

Intern Chronicles – with Christian Houmoller

Our #ProjectManagement #WebDesign and #MultiMedia Dev intern Christian Houmoller fills us in on his favorite aspects of working for The Mechanism, what he has learned/experienced so far, and how he has adapted to the city that never sleeps.

Intern Chronicles

Intern Chronicles

Halfway into my internship at The Mechanism, I look back and reflect on the experience, so far. Even though I consider myself a city boy, I found it daunting coming to New York. The shear amount of people seems overwhelming when my little country of Denmark only has 5 million, and they are always in a hurry to get somewhere. The uptown/downtown subway ride, the insane taxi drivers, the east and west streets and the SoHo’s or NoHo’s, it all didn’t really make sense to me at first. But after a while it all just clicked and New York City became an exploration adventure. You always hear about the diversity of people, the melting pot of cultures, but diversity in NYC is found everywhere. Every neighborhood is different, like little towns within a city and the glorious food is worth the trip alone, I’m sure I’ve packed on a few pounds.

As for The Mechanism, It has been a wonderful experience so far. The firm is comprised of some talented developers and designers, with founder Dave Fletcher at the helm. During his 20-something years in the business, he has acquired a solid network of clients, including big pharma, big realty and government and it has been a joy for me, to soak up some of his knowledge. As an intern, with aspirations of starting my own company one day, working in a professional work environment has given me insight into how the web development industry works and broadened my understanding of how to run a business, from managing projects and employees to designing websites and working with clients. I have enjoyed seeing the process The Mechanism goes through, from the early conceptual phases to implementation and deployment of a product. Its impressive how embedded this process is in their work methods, it’s almost automated and along with good commutation makes productivity run smooth and fast. This is reminiscent of what I’ve learned in school and it makes me think that my education has not been a complete waste of time. It gives me the confidence to feel that my aspirations of starting my own company, may someday be possible.

On a personal note. The guys at The Mechanism, has been really welcoming, showing me around the city and inviting me to their homes. This has meant a lot to me. And I could not have imagined that my internship in New York City would be going so well.

October 3, 2014 - Comments Off on Avoiding a Mobile House of Cards

Avoiding a Mobile House of Cards

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"There’s no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth." -Francis Underwood

In 2010, Morgan Stanley Research extended their financial necks and predicted that the "mobile internet would overtake the desktop PC by 2014." I talked about the importance of that research the first time I spoke at the PRSA International conference about mobile in 2011. So, how accurate were they (and [arguably] even more importantly, how foolish might I look this year, if they were wrong)?

In January 2014, according to data from comScore, cited by research firm, Enders Analysis, mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the United States. Traffic from PC's clocked in at 45%. A mobile strategy is no longer a "nice to have" luxury - it's the present and future of communications with regard to B2C and B2B communications. Companies and corporations that have yet to allocate resources for a mobile strategy, or have taken shortcuts with their mobile approach are building a house of cards – and it's about to take a tumble. Mobile has won.

The dictionary defines a "House of Cards" as a flimsy structure, arrangement, or situation that is in danger of collapsing or failing.

Your first consideration for expanding or enhancing any brand within the digital space begins with how the information will be received on a mobile device. While the near future will likely include universally acceptable, massive flatscreen entertainment portals with easy-to-use internet access, for the moment we’re talking about the now instead of the future now – while planning both responsively and reactively for the eventual.

Three Questions

There are three high-level questions to ask when building a strategy to avoid a house of cards. While these bullets may appear simple, the details are important. Building upon a structure of understanding carefully will elevate further insights and ultimately determine how well received your digital experience will be on all devices.

  • Who is the audience?
  • What do they want?
  • Where are they accessing content?

"After all, we are nothing more or less than what we choose to reveal." -Francis Underwood

Who is the audience?

Speak openly and honestly with your client about their audience. Conduct interviews with key stakeholders. Learn about your clients competitors and review the digital experiences they are likely to visit in tandem with your clients brand. Build exhaustive and clear user case studies to better understand gender, age and other criteria, to consider who will be accessing brand from a digital perspective. If the client has been online for some time, request access to a potentially vast treasure trove of information available from Google analytics to expose further details about the audience: specific times they are most likely accessing the site; what devices they are using. All of this information will allow you to prepare surmountable goals and clear the path for the measurable and appropriate design/UI decisions you will soon be making.

What do they want?

From a mile up, the client or a copywriting research team should be able to articulate what content best suits the audience. Aside from the standard questions that will help design a high-level content inventory plan, the importance of how vastly different mobile content is from the desktop is crucial and must be articulated to the client. To start with the obvious, the real estate you have to work with is different. Consider quantity and the breadth of content you should show to someone on a mobile device vs. a larger tablet or desktop device. Keep in mind, mobile users are on the go, and have a shortened attention span. Content should should always be readable, usable and most importantly – appropriate for the device.

To take a page from Apple’s iOS guidelines, "Text is legible, icons are precise and lucid, adornments are subtle and appropriate and a sharpened focus on functionality should motivate the design." For smartphones in particular, a single column layout is the easiest to absorb for mobile, and calls to action should should be represented by areas no smaller than 44px x 44px (here's a case where a "rule of thumb" is about your actual thumbs). Place important content above the "fold", or immediately viewable area on mobile – like contact info and important calls to action.

Where are they accessing content?

Business Intelligence gained through data collection is imperative. According to IBM, Five petabytes of data are generated every day by mobile phone subscribers. This is roughly the equivalent of 100 million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with paper. The means the data you need to best serve mobile content to your audience is out there.

Google Analytics (GA) data will help, as will statistical data, reports about your client's industry and the general mobile landscape, and interviews with key stakeholders and investors. Google Analytics reports will aid in understanding the devices and mobile operating systems currently accessing a digital experience, as well as the location that they are accessing the experience from. If your client is international, pay close attention to their specific carriers and regions. This is also important if your client is predominantly reaching a North America or United States-only market as well. There are still areas in this hyper-connected country where connectivity is spotty or slower than you might expect.

Your plan should be to create the fastest loading experience for your mobile audience as possible, regardless of the device. This can be accomplished in several ways, one of which is limiting or eliminating images that are unnecessary for the overall user experience. When using icons as calls to action, utilize a single image (usually referred to in the HTML development world as a "sprite") for multiple icons to create a single call to the server, cutting down on latency issues that slow down user experience. 60% of visitors on a mobile device wait 3 seconds or less for your page to load on mobile.

We no longer access the majority of our internet content from the desktop. According to a survey run by Google/Nielsen in Q4 of 2012, 77% of mobile searches were from a location (work or home) likely to have a desktop PC available. Stationary, plugged-in devices are not suitable for today's attention deficit disorder audience. We're easily distracted multi-taskers – always on the move – and as such – we want our content to join us on our journey. We desire access to data at our beck and call. Always consider how to deliver content to smartphones, phablets, tablets, wearables, and even ultra books - all devices that are in the mobile ecosystem and the inevitable future of the post desktop landscape.

"There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong and useless pain, the sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things." -Francis Underwood

Building a mobile strategy isn't easy. Mobile involves many moving parts, working with right digital partners, and the willingness to take risks based on the inevitable future. 40% of mobile users turn to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience, and this number is growing. It's especially difficult for large corporations to jump in full throttle – but they must. If not, they will likely perish under the waves of progress and watch helplessly as the mobile house of cards inevitably collapses around their valuable brand.

Published by: davefletcher in Entertainment, The Thinking Mechanism
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August 19, 2014 - Comments Off on Could the iWatch Revolutionize Medical Research?

Could the iWatch Revolutionize Medical Research?

“Talkback Tuesdays” is an original weekly installment where a team member of The Mechanism is asked one question pertaining to digital design, inspiration, and experience. The Q&A will be featured here on The Mechanism Blog as well as on The Mechanism’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, every Tuesday. Feel free to offer up your 2¢ in the comments.

George Brassey, The Mechanism’s lead developer, discusses the great potential smart watches can have in revolutionizing medical research and healthcare management. It seems like only a matter of time!

What new piece of tech are you most excited about hitting shelves?

I'm excited to see what sensors Apple will introduce with the iWatch. I'm hoping they announce a watch with an array of sensors which might revolutionize health care research. Last year there was a huge amount of media buzz around the wearable space, with nothing appearing. This year the rumor mill is turning again and it sounds like Apple will finally announce an iWatch next month to be released later this year/early next year. Why am I interested? Last year I didn't like the idea of the wearable. The potential uses didn't interest me. I already have a phone, tablet and laptop. I don't need yet another screen. Especially considering how limited the functionality will be on such a small device. This year, however, I've been hearing about the sensors that will be included.

I'm a migraine sufferer. From time to time, without warning, I get massive blind spots in my field of vision, followed by debilitating headaches. Research on migraines has been inconclusive. The Mayo Clinic lists: hormones, foods, food additives, drinks, stress, sensory stimuli, changes in wake-sleep pattern, physical factors, changes in the environment, and medications; as potential causes. That's a long list with very little practical information as to how to prevent a migraine. I will be interested to see what could be learned by analyzing various health markers preceding migraines.

Depending on how Apple's new Healthkit SDK deals with privacy, the platform could standardize the sharing of medical records. Currently, there is very little access to medical data for researchers. Fears of records getting into the wrong hands means that acquiring data for research often requires a new study, even if a similar study has been done before. This involves, raising money, finding volunteers and conducting the study which may take months, even years. Most health information is under lock and key. The proliferation of devices to passively record a wealth of data could provide easy access for life saving research.

August 1, 2014 - Comments Off on Slime – Ultra-Violence in a Modern Society

Slime – Ultra-Violence in a Modern Society

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I am gross and perverted

I'm obsessed 'n deranged

I have existed for years, but very little had changed

I am the tool of the Government and industry too, for I am destined to rule and regulate you

I may be vile and pernicious, but you can't look away

I make you think I'm delicious, with the stuff that I say

I am the best you can get. Have you guessed me yet?

- Frank Zappa, I Am the Slime

I recently found myself held captive in an alternate universe on the planet SyFy, to partake in a rapturous, cinematic marvel entitled Sharknado 2: The Second One. I was sucked into this deluge of gore and social media pornography predominantly by the promise of an all-too-short and relentless escape from human existence, performed by the "less-than-stars" of television's past -- and starring thousands of poorly CGI-generated, starved sharks. I was also glued to the television to look beyond its blank cathode gaze to observe the rapturous power of social media on the massess, hoping to gain some valuable insight for our next podcast entitled "What Makes Content Go Viral?". Preposterous events like the Sharknado films will eventually be taught in Social Media university courses in the future, where desperate educators will attempt to decipher the marketing approach taken to garner 3.9 million viewers and more than a half a million related tweets from nearly 200,000 unique authors. The lack of the Sharknado effects team's quality and attention to detail might have also been part of my personal draw, but sadly contributes to the long-term destruction of the creative profession in general.

"Mindlessness", as a concept, draws us into alternate realities partly because we've been so desensitized to the reality of our own surroundings. Day-to-day reality is too safe, it's a place where most activity is experienced as expected, so we have to generate more complex and interesting hyper-realities. Escapism, along side the advent of virtual and increasingly visceral entertainment (shared with potentially millions through television and the internet), is too easy to blame. Everything that is outside of the experience of life can easily become a gateway to moronic pleasure and escapism. Consider the increasingly detached comedy and climate of our political system, the popularity of "reality" tv, or a television world overrun with mindless hordes in "The Walking Dead" - pure escapism is, and will continue to be, the novocaine for the pain of reality. Who wants to worry about the planet or the homeless? I'm too busy being ensconced in the escapism of enacting some real ultra-violence on a CGI shark - my weapon of choice is a running chainsaw...Pray tell, what's yours? I wonder if the popularity of the undead combined with our fascination with designers consistently revising, revisiting and regurgitating the past is a just a passing fad, or a dystopian vision of our eventual future?

A second installment of Sharnado is not a surprise. Utilizing images and concepts from the past is nothing new. Warhol did it, and Hollywood repeatedly does it. If it works the first time, why not try a second, third and fourth time rather than try to imagine something completely new? Originality in art and design has been reduced to a photocopy of a reproduction; exponentially malleable.

You will obey me while I lead you

And eat the garbage that I feed you

Until the day that we don't need you

Don't got for help...no one will heed you

Your mind is totally controlled

It has been stuffed into my mold

And you will do as you are told

Until the rights to you are sold.

- Frank Zappa, I Am the Slime

Stupidity is a bi-product of malaise. An overly complex lifestyle, including the use of overly complex software and engaging in the overstimulation of Sharknado-type programming can further detach one from focus. Alternately, simplicity is a hard-earned bi-product of thought. Simplicity, when it's done well, calms the mind. Entertainment and our user interfaces and applications have become too complex - software solutions should perform one simple task and do it well. Focus is key. The age of overly complex design has ended for now, and is an offshoot to the lessons of the simplistic clean design movement first pursued by Microsoft's Windows Phone design. John Maeda's 10 Laws of Simplicity is worth a read, but if you don't have the time - have a look at his video from TED.

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Films like Sharknado, while marvels of cinematic foolishness, are also catalysts for gathering humans with other humans. This might not be too bad of an idea. Collectively experiencing violence of unimaginable proportions has been interesting to us homo sapiens since the days of pitting gladiators with tigers. Technology via the motion picture is allowing us to enjoy exceedingly horrific images of unfathomable gore and destruction not seen since we gathered in front of a television to watch Mike Tyson eat portions of his opponents in boxing, or enjoy wrestlers like Jake Roberts throw live cobras at "Macho Man" Randy Savage. You see, we're all savages, being driven backwards to the caves by the masters of media and entertainment. Maybe if we're sitting around talking about how stupid it is, it might save us. Or not.

It's fantastic to imagine that our societal march into ignorance is being orchestrated by the advance of technology and the warlocks who command it...

I may be vile and pernicious

But you can't look away

I make you think I'm delicious

With the stuff that I say

I am the best you can get

Have you guessed me yet?

I am the slime oozin' out

From your TV set.

- Frank Zappa, I Am the Slime

July 22, 2014 - Comments Off on Useful apps in Brazil — Talkback Tuesday

Useful apps in Brazil — Talkback Tuesday

"Talk Back Tuesdays" is an original weekly installment where a team member of The Mechanism is asked one question pertaining to digital design, inspiration, and experience. The Q&A will be featured here on The Mechanism Blog as well as on The Mechanism's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, every Tuesday. Feel free to offer up your 2¢ in the comments.

George Brassey, The Mechanism's lead developer, recently returned from a 2 week trip to Brazil for the World Cup. His trip as a whole sounds like it was quite an unreal experience, but we wanted to know a little bit more about his #DigitalExperience while visiting an unfamiliar country.

Q: What iphone/android app did you use most this past week, and why?

With regard to my digital experience in Brazil, I wanted to talk about a few apps that I found useful.

1: Splitwise

Going on a trip with friends means there are going to be loads of shared expenses and it can be a headache keeping track of all these, especially when dealing with a foreign currency. Luckily for us, we had an app called Splitwise, whose purpose is to solve this exact problem. You register a group of those travelling with you and from there it is easy to add individual expenses, choose who is contributing and how much they are contributing. At the end of your trip you can settle up and Splitwise will do all the math for you so there are as few transactions as necessary. It also has support for multiple currencies, as well as an option for shared living expenses (e.g. roommates).

2: Google Photospheres

In a picturesque country like Brazil, there are many views that are impossible to capture in a photo. When you are surrounded by stunning scenery, Google Android has a great addition to their photos app that lets you capture a full 360° image. It takes a little patience as you stitch together multiple images, however it is easy to do and once complete you get an image that can be explored by tilting and twisting your phone to see every angle. You can even upload these efforts to be approved and added to Google maps.

3: Whatsapp

The sensational news of Whatsapp being bought by Facebook for $19 billion surprised many and while we in America often stick to regular SMS text messages, relegating Whatsapp to communication with friends who are abroad, in Brazil, as in many countries, people use Whatsapp as their primary messaging tool. By avoiding the cost of SMS messaging, Whatsapp, which is available on every phone smart enough to load an app (which isn't very smart), has incredible potential to become the world’s most popular messaging platform. For those travelling, this means one seamless experience for communication with friends all over the world.

George is a dauntless developer with a keen eye for user experience. The conceptualization of his work is informed by an insightful empathy for the end user. Check out his bio here.

Stay tuned for next week's "Talk Back Tuesday" when we ask Dhruv Mehrotra, a highly skilled developer of The Mechanism, about his own #DigitalExperiences.

Published by: georgebrassey in Government, The Internal Mechanism
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June 9, 2014 - Comments Off on The End of Web

The End of Web

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By 1995, David Carson was the poster boy for an avant-garde and increasingly, subversive direction that graphic design was headed. He had built a global following of design school kiddies by bucking the traditional "ad-man" approach previously taken by Ogilvy, Burnett, Brownjohn and others with regard to clever, effective and readable advertising. Much like the controlled chaos of the Deconstructivists before them, in the cyclical karmic wheel of creative expression, Carson (and arguably Segura, Brody and others) had taken accepted graphic design in a direction that tore up the rules and started over. Their sauce was the gateway drug for Sagmeister and his ilk in later years.

I recall attending a HOW Conference in Monterey, California, where Milton Glaser, Bob Gill and their colleagues were publicly seething at Carson's new found popularity. These arguably brainer, and certainly more seasoned road dogs of the graphics industry, were, for the first time, being ignored by the graphic masses for a new, hot little surfer boy (who openly admitted he just fell into the industry like like a leaf into a big pond of ducks). There were lines around the block to have his new book, "The End of Print: The Grafik Design of David Carson", signed by the man himself.

For the ad-men, this was a moment of reckoning. At the Monterey HOW Design conference Bob Gill was more vicious and crabbier than usual. The unsuspecting rock stars of the past were now being exorcised by the new punk regime. The Sex Pistols were coming - and there was nothing that Jethro Tull and Yes could do about it. A creative tool called the computer, had replaced hand-cut rubylith and type.

Digital printing would slowly all-but-kill Gutenberg's printing press as a cheaper solution to your printing press expert, who was always there on press to get your colors just right. The industry of graphic design was becoming cheaper. We began to believe "shitty" was acceptable, and various economic factors and corporate budget cuts didn't help matters either. Software took away the human touch, tablets would later take away the notepad, and being digital began to slowly take root - a fungus to wash over the senior graphic Luddites, like a creeping red tide.

A dear departed friend of mine once quipped, "What happens when everyone has a website?" Now that's a bit naive, but I get his point. While the convenience of smartphones and tablets has pushed us into a post-PC world, where expansive experiences are more desirable and useful than a website. Websites, by definition, are just a group of connected pages regarded as a single entity, and they are practically free if you look hard enough. The modern digital branded experience is much more.

Mobile devices and likely the upcoming wearable industry will continue to steadily infiltrate and replace the experience of a single website for an organization and brand's digital expression. In recent years, the concept of social media has raised the stakes by creating two-way conversations in real time with real expectations from your audience. We prefer to not be removed from experiencing one form of entertainment or educational media to sit down at a computer and look up a website. We want to experience all things collectively and collaboratively with our friends, and the distraction of a website, as we once knew it, is not nearly complex enough to satisfy our desires.

...Back to Carson and the End of Print. He later claimed that he wasn't trying to infer that the print industry was dead, but those who had just raised the flag of technology and the new coming internet revolution didn't care. His mostly unreadable style and grungy approach to design was necessary. It rocked the industry boat - and as music, fashion and entertainment fell into line - it forced the rules to change. The web would later become a viable and uniquely positioned means of both creative expression and a way for businesses to connect to consumers in sometimes profound ways - the world's most accessible art show and trade show under the same roof. The Nerds had their revenge while the ad-men were left to their martinis, suits and stories.

The Mechanism recently retired the word "website" from our vocabulary. It’s too close-minded and obvious a concept to exist as an agency without discussing the future of an integrated digitally-branded experience. In fact, we were 13 years ahead of our time when we started The Mechanism and used “From Media to the Medium” as our tagline. We believe that a website has always been a thread in the expanding tapestry of brand expression. We understood from the start that everything begins from the brand outwards, and given the technological tools that were available then (and are available now) the implementation of an idea in any Medium wouldn’t be the problem - it would be the enormous and interconnected creative collaborative that would be required to see through the changing variety of media delivery mechanisms.

The “website” as we all know is less important than what's coming next. Website development was the catalyst, a "blip" towards an interconnected omnipresent, ever-communicating "Singularity". We will soon live with systems that plug into an artificial or ambient intelligence to manage your life, curate your interests, drive a vehicle, keep track of your day to day travels and never force you to remove yourself from an existing experience to use a website to research what the Network will already know you’re looking for. The next generation will be the “Mighty Untethered”, ubiquitously connected to a Universal Machine. You and your friends and colleagues interests will be part of the system, and as they change, so will your personal experience to match your tastes. Diseases, dangers, economies and civilizations will be repaired on a global scale due to mass shared information and the artificial intelligence to be gained from it. Privacy will continue to suffer, but it has since the first time you signed up for a college loan.

Web developers, this is your moment of reckoning. When nearly everyone can make a peanut butter sandwich, it's not just time to suggest a banana - it's time to introduce it to the 10,000lb gorilla in the room.

Sitting on the couch, plugging-in and tuning out, growing fat, eventually growing tentacles and remembering what it once was like when we were knuckle-dragging Homo sapiens is a possible future. Or hopefully, our wearables, implants and attached digital devices will feature new, usable interfaces and non-intrusive experiences enabling us all to once again perceive the world around us with better clarity and understanding of the human experience.

The Web is dead, long live the Medium...

May 28, 2014 - Comments Off on DANCING TO YOUR BRAND – How the Pet Shop Boys got me thinking about responsive design.

DANCING TO YOUR BRAND – How the Pet Shop Boys got me thinking about responsive design.

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A few weeks ago, I took a trip back to the 90's by heading down to Terminal 5 for the Pet Shop Boys concert. The British electro-pop duo actually hit it big in the mid-1980's and have never stopped working, but I remember dancing all-out to their club sounds in the early 1990's.

This show was the last stop of their world tour and I had asked several friends to go with me… months in advance. Mood- pretty darn excited by my choice.

As the concert date drew closer, I wondered - will the Pet Shop Boys still feel relevant? Sure I think their music is great, but then I worried, will this be a memorable "experience" for all? or will it feel dated, quirky, and somewhat nostalgic.

Either way I thought this will reflect on me. I know we all worry when we are throwing down big bucks for a concert and coercing friends to go. YOU become the host and you are somehow responsible for everyone enjoying the event. Your mouth is saying "come on... it will be great!", while your brain is whispering - "it had better be since you bought 8-pricey tickets to this shin-dig"!.

Well I have to say the show was amazing. Neil Tennant, and Chris Lowe are still a perfect blend of electro-pop craftsmanship and really interesting performance art. A funky spacious club in New York City was the perfect venue to share the experience. And we really did "share" the experience. All around me people were holding up their Smartphones - taking pics, recording video (see photo above - I took that one at the show) - and thank goodness, since half the time I couldn't see the stage - I could however see it on the phone of the tall person in front of me - revelers were Tweeting, Tumbling, Pinning and sharing the experience in real time.

Which got me to thinking ...

Not that long ago people went to concerts and went nutty. We danced, sang, and sweated and told our friends about it the next day. "You should have seen Blink-182 last night man, it was insane!" (I went mid-2000's here to illustrate my point...remember the first release of the iPhone was June 2007 - and all of the realtime sharing came in the following years).

So my thought. Technology moves faster than a one-hit-wonder drops in the charts.

Right now, We are a culture in motion.

Everyone participates in the moment equally in realtime. Snaps and videos of your experience are up online before you leave the parking lot.

My question to friends, clients, and potential clients is this.... are people dancing to your brand? Or is your website a Wallflower? (Yes I know another great band from the past).

Internet browsing from smartphones and tablets grew 35% from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. Simply put - Almost a third of global Internet traffic to North American web sites—31.3%—in the fourth quarter of 2013, came from smartphones and tablets, according to marketing and public relations firm Walker Sands Communications’.

According to Mill and Brown Research, per day Americans spend -147 minutes on mobile phones, 113 minutes viewing television, and only 108 minutes on their PC. easy to see who is winning the race here.

Now ask yourself - How does your company's website hold up when you hold your phone up? How are people accessing your website? Is it a satisfying user experience?

In the same way I thought about my friends judging me based on a concert experience… I wonder, how are your clients judging your brand based on the mobile experience your website provides? Does your site feel relevant? Is it satisfying and engaging? Is your mobile web experience worth sharing and talking about? Or does it feel dated, quirky, and somewhat nostalgic?

The Mechanism has been a pioneer of Responsive Design from its earliest days.

Check out our own site right now on your smartphone or tablet.

Functional design and a pleasing user interface, these are the things that excite me as a designer, creator and a user.

Note how our site reconfigures gracefully to maintain large action buttons, and behold - text that remains readable. Fluid grids and flexible images are the cornerstone to a satisfying user experience. Other benefits include interactive calls to action such as one-tap to dial a phone number within your site, one-tap to email or interact with your site.

Just imagine... all you Non-Profit organizations out there, this could mean the difference between an immediate digital donation or a delayed action that is never acted upon.

The opportunity for your clients to take immediate action is in the palm of their hands.

I could go on however, I would rather invite you to join in a conversation.

The Mechanism's first of this seasons in-house conversations on best practices for your digital brand experience will kick off on Friday, June 13th, at 8:30 am at our place.

We will be featuring an intimate chat with our Founder and Executive Director Dave Fletcher about True Responsive Design and your brand experience.

We have limited seating and coffee. If you would like to join us please register by clicking here!

Can't attend? Just contact me directly to chat - 212-221-3444 x-102

Best,

Michael