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Brief Published: 27 Jun 2016

Frictionless Engagement with Interactive Images

Moving and still images have supplanted text as the predominant mode of communication online. Seventy-two per cent of 18- to 25-year-olds find it easier to express their emotions through images than words (TalkTalk & Welsh Bangor University, 2016). Developers and brands have begun to pack imagery with added content and interactive features.

Previous standout social media campaigns hacked features of existing sharing platforms to mimic interactivity. On Instagram, US broadcaster Cartoon Network created a Russian-doll-like content world by linking 1,200 photos across 80 accounts for its Rickstaverse Instagram game. Meanwhile, US home improvement retailer Lowe's In a Snap campaign fetaured Snapchat stories that let consumers tap through simple DIY projects.

Now, emerging social sharing platforms are establishing native interactivity for imagery. UK-based social sharing and messaging app Yubl offers interactive buttons for users to insert into images and videos. At launch, interactive stickers contained voting features, real-time geo-location trackers for users connected to the image, and direct links – particularly valuable for retail brands. Further features such as Uber, YouTube and Soundcloud tie-ins are in the works.

In the ephemeral visual culture online, images aren't shared to preserve a moment, but to enable a series of new ones. Frictionless task-switching is becoming increasingly important to mobile users; tying functionality directly to content will be key to leveraging such moments.

For more on the importance of breaking down contact-point silos, see UX Best Practice for Marketers and UI/UX Design for Future Consumers. For more on digital simplicity, check out Simplicity Strategies from our Business of Wellbeing Macro Trend.