Creative Director's Choice: Smashing Ideas ECD Kevin Wick on Digit's simplicity of design

Digit helps people save money without thinking

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the current work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Smashing Ideas executive creative director Kevin Wick discusses the refreshing lack of user interface on the money-saving site Digit.

I love that moment – the moment when I get pulled back from the glitter and glam of the new and novel to something so seemingly simple and obvious. That headslap moment. That moment when you see the utter genius of great creative design.

I had that recently when I started using Digit. What’s Digit, you ask? It’s a siphon, but in a good way. It moves tiny, unnoticeable amounts of cash out of your checking or savings account and puts it into a separate account. Over a few months, you have enough money for that vacation or just-for-me gift, and you never once felt the pain of transferring large sums of money all at once. Magic!

That headslap moment came from Digit’s user interface, or more precisely, the lack of a user interface. Once signed up, Digit texted me. From then on, all my interactions were via text – no app or website needed. Balance? Check. Transfer? Check. Withdraw? Double-check.

Digit isn’t the only text-based service I love. Peach brings myself and my colleagues lunch. Resistbot sends my voice to my political representatives. But all veer clear of the Uncanny Valley by clearly being bots.

As a designer, this was both completely refreshing and liberating. By using ‘conversational UI’ (a misnomer for sure, since the point is a lack of UI), the focus is entirely on designing the user’s experience, not an interface. Empathy for the user and her/his context and needs are queens and kings in the realm of experience.

And while voice-oriented devices (hello, Alexa, Siri, and whatever-your-name-is Google) are also lacking in graphical interfaces, their reach is still an ant to the giant that is texting.

Designing for texting and SMS is designing for accessibility and inclusion – which is sorely lacking today and a goal for every true designer. Headslaps all around!

Kevin Wick is executive creative director at Seattle digital and design agency Smashing Ideas.

See examples of the Digit design and experience by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to feature in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

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