Fighting digital boredom

with István Vasil, Senior Designer

The abundance of online content and overexposure to digital experiences makes it harder than ever to stand out from the online crowd, leaving e-tailers and DTC brands with a crucial question: How do we cut through the clutter and noise to make a lasting impact on our audience?

We interviewed István Vasil, one of our Senior Designers, and asked him what digital boredom is, what causes it, and how we can defeat it once and for all.

How would you define digital boredom?

To be honest, it is somewhat difficult to define, as it manifests differently depending on the circumstances and media channels. But generally, digital boredom is when online experiences lack surprises and consequently fail to stand out and engage consumers.

What do you think the main cause is?

I think one of the main causes is a lack of trust between designers and e-tailers. Exploration and experimentation is absolutely crucial when it comes to finding new and interesting ways to engage consumers. But, of course, clients need to feel that their money is being well spent, and therefore tend to go with design choices that are tried and tested. Although it makes perfect sense at first glance, the resulting conformity makes it a lot more difficult to differentiate themselves from the competition and build their brand in the long run.

So, is it a buyer issue rather than a designer issue?

No, not really. I think many designers need to become better at nurturing their customer relationships and managing expectations. Trust needs to be earned. Traditionally, it is customary to have a drink with the client once a project is finalized, to celebrate the result. But I would recommend grabbing that drink in the beginning of the project instead, to build a stronger relationship early on. Furthermore, it is absolutely essential to involve the client in the design process and thoroughly explain the choices, the risks, and the benefits, so that all parties understand what is being done and why. All in all, a trusting client is an adventurous client. And an adventurous mindset is necessary for defeating digital boredom.

Once you have built the trust and willingness to explore, how can design help defeat digital boredom?

It’s all about the two big P:s: Playfulness and Purpose. The digital experience is a product in itself, and should always be engaging and playful. Designers should aspire to come up with new, interesting ideas in order to keep the whole experience fresh for the audience. That being said, purposefulness is just as important. Adding complexities and visual elements just for the sake of it benefits no one. Every design choice must have a defined purpose. Whether it is to evoke a certain emotion, increase immersion, or improve seamlessness.