SXSW: Is this the future of the web experience?

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 6.57.05 PM
The web, as we know it, can sometimes feel like it has barely evolved in a decade or more. Sure, we have better design standards, we have evolved more streamlined user pathways, and everything is a bit faster, but essentially we’re still following the same ‘load page – read page – click link – repeat’ formula. During this period we have, I feel, subconsciously found ourselves hampered by the linear and relational nature of HTML.

Happily, brighter times may be around the corner. And they certainly are if the likes of CJ Gammon are to be believed.

His fundamental argument is that “there’s a big gap between what’s possible on the web, and what most people achieve”. By demonstrating the emergent standards for web development and design, I think he is trying to show us ways to break out of the linear design straightjacket towards a web that is more intuitive, more rewarding, and more fun.

And, uniquely, he delivered his presentation through a beautifully crafted site directly connected to Photoshop and other tools in real time – genuinely walking the walk, and giving grateful delegates a break from the Powerpoint that plagues SXSW. The fact that he managed to do this live despite SXSW’s laughable wifi provision gets him bonus points.

The future of the web was brought to life with excellent examples of how virtual and augmented reality can be integrated into the browser experience: WebGL can now be used to create detailed fly-around worlds, perfect for exploring real world locations virtually – think of resorts, hospitals, cruise ships

And for agencies, or anyone who works in production, CJ demonstrated plug-ins and libraries he has built for tools such as Photoshop which deliver updated amends directly into Canvas. For an industry that needs to integrate design and build much more closely, there are many lessons to be learnt about how we imagine our clients’ work, and how we deliver it in a more agile way.

I recommend everyone has a flick through CJ’s deck here, and developers have a look at his GitHub where he has posted all the tools he has made to render these experiences.