November 11, 2008
I monitor the web like a freak.
I have trained myself to hone in on the latest and greatest sites out there so I can be a better evangelist for our industry.
I try to examine every detail of any site worthy of examining so that I can better inform our clients as to what will succeed and what will fail.
Many times I see two sites that launch around the same time, designed and developed by two completely different shops, and they have such stark similarities in both their concept and design, function and genre that I often wonder if information leaked into each one of the agencies as to what the other is doing.
I know I know, its called a trend, but what happened to me today finally enlightened me to how this occurs.
Freedom + Partners recently put out a site for Herman Miller called ThoughtPile. It is a really neat site that is a data visualization of various thoughts that people have about various topics concerning the world and how to make it better.
Firstborn Multimedia recently put out a site for AT&T called Speak In Thumbs. It is a really neat site that is a data visualization of various thoughts that people express using keyboard shortcuts on their Samsung Propel Smart Phone.
Now I know for a fact that none of us speak, yes I did once work at Firstborn, however there has been no sharing of creative, ideas, nothing, yet these two sites are almost identical if you break them down.
So now I finally get to be in the eye of the storm! I get to see how this happens.
ThoughtPile starts off with a standard text intro that explains the site which is pretty standard, nothing so glaring about that. But then when we go into the site we start to see the similarities.
ThoughtPile has a question of the week at the top left hand corner of the page, a circle in the middle displaying the thoughts and then an orange plus sign on the right hand side that is used to add new thoughts.
Speak In Thumbs has a text instruction on top left hand corner of the page, a circle in the middle displaying the expressions and then an orange plus sign on the right hand side that is used to add new thoughts.
So I ask myself, how? Are trends that powerful that they permeate the industry by filling the heads of creative directors, designers, coders and agency partners?
The answer must be that we all think alike, we must all have a unified intuition that binds us as web professionals.
I can understand how popular trends force designs to look alike and dictate how images and video are treated but to wire frame two totally separate sites to be so similar is mind boggling.
Well, both are great sites by two great teams, excellent executions that speak volumes about both studios.
I am glad that I was finally able to be involved in this anomaly that had been confusing me for so long.
Its interesting to see that there is some sort of greater connection between digital agencies that cause sites to sometimes mimic one another.