TORONTO—RGD Ontario had designers up bright and early at its first breakfast seminar earlier this month. They gathered to discuss the importance of social media in design, with Karacters’ John Furneaux leading a panel discussion with Eric Karjaluoto of smashLAB in Vancouver and Lionel Gadoury of Toronto’s Context Creative.
While social media tools such as blogs and networking sites aren’t appropriate for all clients, the social media sphere should not be ignored, says Gadoury. If clients are apprehensive about social media, designers need to assuage their fears. “Clients get nervous and fearful of relinquishing control,” he says. “We have to make recommendations to clients because it’s [sometimes] riskier not to be in these areas.”
The lessons and opportunities used to meet clients’ needs are changing, says Gadoury. “Design is more malleable.”
But designers are protective of their ideas, Furneaux points out. How can designers adjust to working in a medium that is in constant flux?
Outcomes are pivotal, says Karjaluoto. “It’s a matter of where we see our outcomes… Engagement, usability, those are the new outcomes.”
“[We’re changing from] designers of information to designers of communication,” says Furneaux.
But providing ROI on a project that’s user generated is not easy.
“Usually we have to come up with a list of deliverables,” says Gadoury. “It’s far less about design and more about the strategy and the approach… The tools are being conceived in a better way. Improved user interaction, that’s what people will expect.”