Metaphorical design

Kanye West loves a bit of news, doesn’t he? And so does his Yeezy brand.

The new (upcoming) website for Yeezy Supply comes with a playful, game-like interface which matches clothes to ‘characters’. Those characters have a. ful backstory, even down to their favourite food.

The article goes into more detail about the creative process, but the bit that interests me is the direct metaphor approach.  Those of us old enough to remember the days of CD-ROMs and early websites will recall horrendously strange experiences in which stores would be visible on. a street setting, and clicking on the store you wanted would launch, say, an ‘inside the store’ UI incorporating bookshelves to choose your book from, for example.

True, this one is a step on from that and much more in-line with choosing your character’s outfit in a game, but again those games are usually situated in a representation of a ‘physical’ environment.

There have been significant technical advances which enable this sort of experience. Back in the CD-ROM days where everything was a pixel-based sprite, each item would have to be created as a visual asset, and systems had no dynamic nature to their content. So for instance, you run out of a product and want to remove it from sale? You’ll be modifying your entire interface code and often rebuilding. Nowadays, you either mark the product as sold out or not available for sale (so it doesn’t appear). And this can all happen automatically.

And UI code has become infinitely more flexible. The types of interactions and motion that a browser can now handle, without the need for proprietary code plug ins like Flash.SWF or Silverlight, have extended to offer experience designers far richer methods of not only interaction, but also expression.

So suddenly the barriers are removed. We should be thinking about re-setting our interpretation of what a digital shopping experience should be.

View the story here.