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Brian Flanagan

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The Dynamic Customer

At the recent Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City, one of the most interesting presentations I saw was delivered by John Bollen of MGM resorts. As the Chief Digital Officer for MGM, John is responsible for supporting the guest experience through technology. During his presentation, John brought up an interesting challenge. At MGM, they realize that their guests are never the same guest twice. What that means, is that a single customer might visit an MGM resort multiple times under different circumstances. For example, they may visit on an outing with their friends, then again on a business trip with colleagues, and later on a leisure trip with their family. The key to delivering a great experience for each visit, is understanding which mode a guest is in, and providing the appropriate interactions. 

The challenge John described is what I refer to as The Dynamic Customer. While you may have a good understanding of your customer’s needs, behavior and motivation, you can’t expect them to engage with you in the same way every time. Customers are people. And people are dynamic. They are emotional, sometimes irrational and largely influenced by their environment. To provide the right experience at the right time, you need to take into consideration the customer mindset and provide interactions that are appropriate for the situation.

Take for instance, my experience with our local drugstore. I always seem to find myself running to the store with my kids to pick-up a gallon milk, a prescription, or whatever last minute item I need. However, when I have a sick child with me, the last thing I want to do is get them unbuckled, drag them into the store and then try to get them back into the car. On one such visit earlier this year, I was going to the drugstore to buy some Motrin for my son, who was with me in the car. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could just get the medicine that I needed through the pharmacy drive-thru window? Surely that makes perfect sense. So I tried to do exactly that. Unfortunately, my store did not offer any OTC medicine through the pharmacy window. Needless to say, I was not a happy customer that day. The drugstore did not consider my situation and provide an appropriate experience. On the other hand, all of their other customers did get to experience a sick, screaming child being carried through their store…

In this instance, it seems that my situation was not unique. The drugstore has recently added some of the most common over-the-counter medicines to drive-thru pharmacy window, including children’s Motrin. Now they’re thinking about The Dynamic Customer, and so should you.

 

Cinemagraphs: Add Life To Your Imagery

Stock imagery doesn’t need to be boring. When working within budget constraints, there are still ways to make your design pop. One way to do that is through the use of cinemagraphic photos. A cinemagraph combines still photography with video elements to create something that is more that a photo, but not quite video.

cinemagraph

Relaxing By The Sea

The above image is an animated GIF file. It was created by extracting individual frames from a high-definition stock video and then selecting a single frame to use as an image mask. Only a portion of the photograph is moving in an infinite loop while everything else is frozen in time. The effect is both subtle and impactful, and certain to grab the attention of your audience.

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New Adobe Creative Suite Announced

Today Adobe announced Creative Suite 5.5. This point upgrade is a significant change in the Creative Suite release cycle. Because technology is evolving so rapidly, Adobe has moved to point releases in order to get new features and functionality to market more quickly. Included in this release are a host of new features across the tooling platform that aim to speed development and enable cross-platform experiences.

Digital Publications

  • InDesign’s New Folio Producer tools and integration with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite enables designers to produce immersive digital reading experiences for desktops, tablets and e-reading devices.

HTML5 and CSS3

  • Enhancements to Dreamweaver’s workflow and coding tools enable designers to more efficiently produce web sites and applications based on HTML5 and CSS3 specifications. New tooling features include: code hinting and code completion, an updated live view component, in-context prompts and updates to the CSS panel. In addition, Adobe Device Central CS5.5 emulates HTML 5 content on wide variety of supported devices, including Webkit, video, canvas and SVG.

Mobile Application Development

  • Flash Builder 4.5 allows developers to build standalone applications targeted at multiple platforms. The mobile-ready components included in the Flex framework, are optimized for performance and multi-touch input.

Rich Internet Applications

  • The Flex SDK 4.5 introduces a number of new Spark components, including Datagrid, Form and Image controls for web and desktop applications. The Spark components separate visuals from component logic, allowing for easier skinning and configuration.

Graphics and Animation

  • Adobe Repoussé in Photoshop Extended is a powerful new feature that allows designers to create 3D content based on the ancient Repoussé metalworking technique for embossing artwork on the surface of metals such as gold, silver, copper, tin and bronze.
  • Illustrator’s vector-based Bristle Brush produces lifelike brush strokes that can be edited as easily as if it had been created with the Pen or Pencil tool.
  • Photoshop’s new real-world brushes and paints help create more realistic painting effects with new ways to blend colors and bristle qualities. The new tools open the door for outstanding expressive effects, from enhancing photographic images in unusual ways to painting directly on blank canvas.

These features and more make CS5.5 an upgrade worth considering.