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Awwwards 2023: a new human era



Date  30 November 2023
3 min read
by Lisanne Blokdijk

At the Awwwards Digital Thinkers Conference in Amsterdam, our Harborn UX design team, represented by Lisanne, Riska and Loa, ensure you stay well-informed about impactful advancements.

A speaker on stage at the Awwwards event. Behind the speaker is a large screen displaying the text 'WELCOME BACK' prominently in white letters on a red background.

Such a time as now

We live in tumultuous times. In both culture and design, change happens swiftly. It's essential to transcend the allure of fleeting trends. Instead, let's collectively engage in reflection on the course our industry is taking. This sentiment was echoed at the recent Digital Thinkers Conference, where industry leaders shared insights that encourage us to think strategically and purposefully about our (digital) future.

Navigating the current landscape of information overload, we find ourselves in a state where our brains have become adept at filtering out or skipping content that aims to sell us products unless there's an existing connection or interest. However, amidst this struggle, we are witnessing a profound shift - from being passive consumers to active participants in the role of co-creation. The evolution of No-Code platforms and AI, marked by the seamless integration of natural language into our applications, urges us to embrace and harness the power of these technologies, recognizing their potential to not only transform products but to unequivocally elevate our overall quality of life.

The past is a preview

Through several speakers at the conference it becomes evident that understanding our past is integral to navigating the future. Computing has been empowering humans throughout history: the power to take what's in our heads and communicate it in visuals and words instantly worldwide.

“Be a future explorer not a fortune teller - Jonas Lempa”

And one thing that has stood the test of time is storytelling. We love stories. Storytelling is a fundamental aspect of human communication, extending from fairy tales to Coca Cola Christmas commercials. Whether painted on cave walls or passed down through generations, stories create emotional connections that enhance information recall and embed memories.

We also tell stories so we can build empathy. Our emotions play a part in colouring the vision of the future. According to Forbes it takes someone 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about a website, underlining the importance of thoughtful design that resonates with your target audience.

“Lead with emotions and use the data and rational to back it up - Outpost design”

Emotional design through storytelling connects with the user and plays a significant role in enhancing the user experience creating a positive association with your brand. By getting to know your audience through user research you can tell stories that resonate and build connections with your audience which results in better user engagement.

The image shows a speaker on stage at the Awwwards event. In front of him is a large screen with three colorful panels, posing the questions "What is?", "What if?" and "What wows?", each accompanied by a corresponding word: DISCOVER, DEFINE, and DEVELOP,
“If marketing asks you out on a date, branding is the reason you say yes - Snask”

So, how do we approach the future?

By daring to experiment and being optimistic by thinking, playing and learning about the process as several speakers emphasized. We are driving into a new era where digital engagement is not only visually appealing but also resonates authentically with your audience, creating enduring and impactful digital experiences. This means not only adapting to change with upcoming technologies but also valuing user research to ensure your digital product or service is not only emotionally impactful but also relevant, relatable and enhancing the overall user experience.

Interested in how to build a better connection with your audience?

We would love to get to know them to tell your story.

+31 10 436 5050lisanne.blokdijk@harborn.com