Everybody is moving on cards… bla bla …No seriously what the #%^& are Cards ?
Cards are modular, bite-sized content containers designed for easy consumption and interaction on small screens, but they are also a new metaphor for user-interaction that is spreading across all manner of other apps and content.
What is the meaning of Cards ?
The meaning of Cards Concept is that Content is being broken down into individual components and re-aggregated is the result of the rise of mobile technologies, billions of screens of all shapes and sizes, and unprecedented access to data from all kinds of sources through APIs and SDKs.
Well, the concept of cards emerged from the stream — the short content notifications layer of the Internet — which has been evolving since the early days of RSS, Atom and social media.
Тo be honest, in general this means that the web is moving away from pages and destinations, towards completely personalized experiences built on an aggregation of many individual pieces of content.
The portable screens (think phones and tablets) are more then ready to handle this type of algorithm and ux design, predominant design pattern is set to be cards. The signs are already here…
Today cards are evolving the nature of the stream before our eyes but only a few will notice that. For example, Twitter is transforming itself into a network for sharing rich, interactive, media, commerce, advertising and analytics enabled cards, and if Fabric is widely adopted, we may soon see an ecosystem here. But Twitter isn’t the only company with designs on building a walled garden for cards. Facebook isn’t that far off with Open Graph Custom Stories.
There are several more competing formats for cards today in apps ranging from search engines and intelligent virtual assistants like Microsoft Bing and Cortana, Google and Google Now, and Apple Siri. There are even new content and media card authoring and distribution platforms like Wildcards, and Citia Cards that illustrate the power of cards for content publishers and brands.
More about Twitter Cards
The most interesting thing to me was that Twitter actually created a canvas – which is now turning Twitter from a protocol to a platform.
Twitter is turning ‘Twitter cards’ into a platform. You can embed video, or slides, or music – all sorts of things. You can embed a call to action that will harvest the account’s email address. And, increasingly, you can drive acquisition – of Spotify users, or apps, or customers. And thanks to retweets these cards can end up anywhere on Twitter, far beyond the original poster’s network.
Now the NYT should care more about how their story appears on the Twitter card (right hand in image above) than on their own web properties, because the likelihood is that the content will be seen more often in card format.
Google also moved to cards recently
Google Now was introduced in June of this year. It was presented as a kind of “persistent contextual” search or discovery tool that incorporates your search history, location, time of day and several other categories of information to anticipate your needs or queries. Information “cards” pop up on the home screen or when the search box is invoked. As a matter of this Cards became more popular and very useful thing which can boost us the User Experience of an Website, Native or Hybrid Application.
So everybody will move on Cards now ?
I can say “YES” to this question. Cards are an interaction model that are spreading pretty widely, in fact. They’re an important part of how Google presents the newish ‘entity’ based search, which crop up in the right sidebar on the web and of course as part of Google Now. Part of the magic is the semantic understanding of the Twitter data that lets Twitter make these automatically, but the presentation is, again, a card. This also will stand for any other application.
Cards as an information dissemination medium have been around for a very long time. Imperial China used them in the 9th century for games. Trade cards in 17th century London helped people find businesses. In 18th century Europe footmen of aristocrats used cards to introduce the impending arrival of the distinguished guest. For hundreds of years people have handed around business cards.
We send birthday cards, greeting cards. My wallet is full of debit cards, credit cards, my driving licence card. During my childhood, I was surrounded by games with cards. Top Trumps, Pokemon, Panini sticker albums and swapsies. Monopoly, Cluedo, Trivial Pursuit. Before computer technology, air traffic controllers used cards to manage the planes in the sky. Some still do.
Cards are a great medium for communicating quick stories. Indeed the great (and terrible) films of our time are all story boarded using a card like format. Each card representing a scene. Card, Card, Card. Telling the story. Think about flipping through printed photos, each photo telling it’s own little tale. When we travelled we sent back postcards.
What about commerce? Cards are the predominant pattern for coupons. Remember cutting out the corner of the breakfast cereal box? Or being handed coupon cards as you walk through a shopping mall? Circulars, sent out to hundreds of millions of people every week are a full page aggregation of many individual cards. People cut them out and stick them to their fridge for later.
“THE BIG STEP” for the User Experience world ?
Who knows, maybe this will change the concept to everything. It’s already clear that product and interaction designers will heavily use cards. I think the same is true for marketers and creatives in advertising. As social media continues to rise, and continues to fragment into many services, taking up more and more of our time, marketing dollars will inevitably follow. The consistent thread through these services, the predominant canvas for creativity, will be card based. Content consumption on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Line, you name it, is all built on the card design metaphor.
We must not wait but learn how to benefit from “The Cards”. Since that is and will be great web world changing like the Hamburger menu or the Flat Design Methods. The world wants more simplicity and this might be it…