The greatest thing the iPad did was help people imagine
what the web should look like.
Is the following statement wrong:
“The iPhone changed a mobile industry which was stuck behind
it’s own blinders”.
Or, why is the statement correct? Because the mobile industry
had created a set of rules and ideas of how the mobile world should be –
and they were unable to see beyond it.
The same could probably be said for the music-, video-, news-, maybe
even the whole content industry. The common denominator seems to be that
even if people on the outside can see it, the people right in the
middle of it can’t see that their stuck.
So why wouldn’t this be true for the online business, our
business? Are we different? Special? Or just unable to see beyond our
I think we’re stuck, and we’ve been stuck for a long time. And we are
so focused on rules, ideas and best practices that we are just as stuck
as the industries mentioned above. And even if someone bangs us on the
head and tells us to wake up, it’s hard. Because we’ve got these
blinders, and it feels, as Godin would say; “really safe behind
them, because we know this world, and the stuff beyond the blinders is
Our existing world is boring, it’s engineered, academic,
theoretic and generic. Brands are presented more like libraries than
identities; in one-dimensional slices of information, meticulously
organized but eventless as you reach the destinations.
The web shouldn’t be like that. Instead of being a sea of sameness it
should be a multilayered, multidimensional, exploratory, rich,
immersive experience. If your company has an identity, and it
needs to communicate it, then everything on the site should be working
for this identity. But the current state of the Internet isn’t
I would invite anyone to pick a random industry, perform a
popular search query for this industry (for banks it would be “loan”),
and click through to the top paid listings. What you would find are
websites decorated with colors, generic geometric shapes and the odd
stock photo image. This has become the status quo for online brand
building. Is this the best we can do? Could anyone say we’re not stuck?
This is why the iPad is important. Because it has introduced us to a
different mindset, and we eagerly embrace it and explore it.
It’s impossible to say if it’s the Apple brand or the success of the
iPhone that intuitively broadens our ideas, or the fact that we’re
designing “apps” not “sites” – as if apps should be exclusive for
“pads”? But, the important thing is that we accept that there is
a different way of doing things, and we eagerly participate in order to
help discover it.
Now the only hope is that these opportunities, and the stuff we learn
from exploring the iPad, will help us transform the boring state of
today’s web world as the iPhone did for the phone world. And
ignite us to create companies, identities, brands and experiences that
mean something, that provide value and help people connect with stuff
that makes them happy.
Helge works as a Planner for SDG, helping brands and organizations discover WHY they are valuable in consumers lives, and HOW they can create deliberate value on the arenas and inside the interfaces where they connect with them. @congbo