As we live our daily lives in a semi-virtual way, how is UI being used in 2021 to give us that feeling of closeness with our friends, family, colleagues and customers?
2021 is a frenzy of activity, with companies going out of their way to create digital ways for us to interact that go above and beyond the standard Zoom calls of 2020. Designers globally are tasked with creating the tools to make those virtual experiences highly engaging and easy to participate in, along with the new technology required to run large scale in-person events safely.
2021 will see ‘Hybrid events’ becoming commonplace where an event organiser hosts both socially distanced in-person attendees in physical venues, whilst simultaneously hosting an online interactive event experience to a virtual audience. Event software Orbits (https://orbits.live/) is a great example of UI being used to make this happen in a fun and engaging way. In their ‘Sims’ like environment the physical layout of the venue can be recreated allowing online attendees to navigate the space, visit a booth, talk to a booth representative, and join in with keynote presentations, workshops and networking drinks. With people being represented by characters, booths will be visibly busy, recreating that ‘buzz’ of an in person event.
As people return to working in offices and socialising in physical environments, technology such as vibrating wrist bands and apps such as Mind the Gap (https://mindthegap.today/) can encourage the social distancing required to ensure safety measures are met. Using Bluetooth and the audio capabilities of devices, the distance between people can be calculated and trigger alerts based on company or individual preferences. It may feel a bit 1984 but it can ensure larger events such as festivals and sports matches can be held which feels like one big leap towards connecting with people in real life again!
Elsewhere in our social lives with many a milestone being celebrated online, apps like Evite aim to streamline the process of hosting and attending virtual events such as birthday parties or baby showers by offering UI functionality of guest lists, invites, gift lists and messaging all in one place. And with Zoom quizes being soooo 2020, now we can go enjoy virtual cookalongs, singalongs, murder mystery puzzles, escape rooms, semi-virtual treasure hunts, wine, beer, gin tastings...all from the comfort of our front room with our family and friends. You name it, it’s online and hosted by a top professional.
As we look to going on holidays again, AirBnb are encouraging hosts to ‘Overcommunicate’, offering as many opportunities for their guests to connect with them as possible. Such as QR codes placed around the property which open pre-recorded welcome messages, local anecdotes and tips about how to use appliances, giving that personal touch they would normally have face to face.
We are excited to see how UI is being used by brands to bring people closer and look forward to seeing how this continues to evolve.