Designstor is a creative technology and visualization company based in Toronto. In an interview with Partner Nick Moshenko, we discussed technology, VR, AR and using the slider method to get best results for Sales Gallery experiences.
Who reaches out to you for help in programming Sales Gallery experiences?
NM: Sales Galleries are funny things. Depending where you are, different people control different aspects. We work throughout North America, so we are contacted by developers, agencies and designers for help.
How do you mix the artistic side with the practical side?
NM: Whether it’s super high-tech, low-tech or even no-tech, it’s all about putting the pieces together in ways that make people take notice. It should serve a purpose other than just being cool. They exist on that slider that ranges from practical tool to crazy artwork. You move that slider back and forth until you find a comfortable spot.
Are there circumstances that cause you to move the slider one way or the other?
NM: A lot of it depends on the client. The project itself and the marketplace also plays a big role. But a huge factor is tolerance for experimentation.
Can you give an example of putting technologies together?
NM: I always use LUMINA as an example. We built this fantastic interactive table to run our custom sales application. One of its key functions was to light up little LED lights in the scale model. Those are two really different technologies. That kind of bridge of technologies is really powerful. Scale models have been around for centuries. But having them interact with a really super slick, high-tech model is really magical.
So, the Sales Team was able to use that to create customer interest?
NM: Yes, definitely. It was stop #1 on the sales tour. We also observed that the interactive table was used just as much as a work surface as a technical tool. I don’t think we can rely on technology 100% to create a great experience.
Have you been working on new ideas for Sales Galleries?
NM: We’re looking at some things that are ironically, less technologically advanced from a hardware perspective, but more advanced in a seamless experience. We’ll feel successful with that technology if no one notices it’s there.
Does the use of technologically advanced experiences increase the budget?
NM: Not necessarily. We’re in a good position because we understand how a broad variety of technologies, mediums and techniques work. A recent project was a hybrid VR scheme that we developed. It was one of those gloriously simple solutions that added a whole new experience to something people had a fixed mindset about. It was a really elegant, less expensive solution as opposed to something else we were thinking about.
Are there times when you take a look at what’s going on and make some adjustments to the user experience?
NM: We have embedded analytics in our applications. So we know what sections are being used and how often. We potentially know at a granular level which images are most popular. It’s very similar to website analytics. This can also provide very valuable data to our clients.
Are you in contact with the Sales teams?
NM: Yes we are, the best results are when the Sales staff has an opportunity to provide feedback. We often get calls from the Sales staff saying, “I wish I could do this with this section of the application.” We’ll then take a look at the flow and see if it can be implemented. Everything we’ve done has evolved over time.
Budgets aside, is there a game changing technology that would benefit Real Estate?
NM: AR. Augmented Reality. It’s what everyone wants, and the potential is compelling.
Could augmented reality eventually become a must have in real estate?
NM: Perhaps, but it might not be as game changing as expected. The irony is that developers have been talking about eliminating the model suite or sales center for a decade. But whenever anything comes along that might do that, the comment is sometimes: “Well, we still want people to see the real stuff and people still like to see a real kitchen.” And I agree with that.
It sounds like technology isn’t the only answer for the problems that are presented to you?
NM: Being trained as an architect, I understand space. I try to use a combination of technology and good old-fashioned techniques. If we could imagine very purposeful built pieces of furniture that do both traditional and technological things, that’s very exciting for me.
Are there any Sales Gallery trends to follow?
NM: It’s easy to look at trends. They’ve already happened. It’s another thing to be inventive. We use the term Creative Technology to describe some of the things we do. I think that’s a really appropriate point of discussion. There are huge amounts of different types of technology, huge numbers of techniques for creating content. The trick is to be able to put all those things together in a meaningful way. To make it useful, artful, creative, inspiring, engaging.
NM: Yep! (laughs) Just use the slider!
Learn more about Designstor at designstor.com.