Human interaction has never been more precious.

The 12 Trends That Will Rule Products In 2013

Think 2013 will spell the end of good old analog and human interaction? Eh, not so fast according to a group of agency experts.

Written by: Chris Butler

Near the end of 2012, a group of us at Ziba got together to review what we’d learned over the course of the year. Working with dozens of clients who serve customers around the world, we designers spend a lot of time observing people as they interact with technology, services, and experiences, noticing how they seek solutions to everyday problems and make decisions. In the process, certain patterns emerge so forcefully that they’re practically unavoidable.

Meeting over three sessions spread out over a week, 23 Zibites (designers, researchers, and creative directors) discussed the patterns we’d seen, and distilled them down to the 12 insights we thought were most current and useful, to us and to our clients. Each one is presented here, as a brief essay that suggests how it will affect business practices in 2013, and as an illustration created by one of Ziba’s designers.


Human interaction has never been more precious.

There’s almost no transaction that can’t be automated today, from buying groceries to learning about health issues. And customers are starting to resist. With many technological obstacles out of the way, we have the luxury of being picky about automation. Sometimes we embrace it–when, say, we check our banking balance online–as a way of shifting mundane tasks off people’s shoulders. And sometimes, we long for a living, breathing person.

Look for places to act more human. The most successful brands understand when customers need to be listened to or expect the nuanced expertise that only a person can provide. 2013 reverses the trend toward automated everything, as humanity becomes the crucial differentiator between a beloved brand and a commodity.



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