The web is once again evolving. We started by seeking out plain, static HTML websites in the mid 90s. For example, if you wanted to find out facts on sharks, you’d search Lycos for shark facts and go to different websites.
Now, in 2014, the card movement is taking over. Cards are actually inverting how we get our information. Rather than us searching Google for what we want, the content is being delivered to us based on our selected interests, preferences, and behavior (current location, search history, trends, etc.).
Think of cards like you would a new kind of baseball card. But this baseball card isn’t limited to a picture on the front and stats on the back. Rather, the card has several layers with different media and content available.
For example, the new baseball card comes with YouTube video, photo gallery Twitter feed snippets, the latest news and blog posts, and whatever else you can think of.
You start with a quick shot of information; just the condensed basics but this technology is completely adaptable to whatever you want.
Want to see more photos? Click the top photo.
Want to search the news feed for a keyword? There’s a search box right above the feed.
Want to see stats beyond the current season? Just touch the stats box.
Remember in Iron Man when Tony Stark could pull up all sorts of cool data and info graphics with the swipe of his fingers and focus in and expand on one piece piece of that data, yeah it’s kinda like that.
Cards Are Intelligent…On Many Levels
But, wait, there’s more. There will be intelligence capabilities on multiple different levels.
Let’s say you want to crunch those stats to make a forecast on that player’s output for the next season, the rest of the season, the week, the day, whatever (yeah, I’m thinking fantasy sports), you could tap projections and then sort them out.
Or maybe you don’t want to sort them out. You might set your settings to only weekly projections. Or, or the card could detect your fantasy settings or previous searches and automatically pull up weekly projections.
Note: I’m using sports analogies but this applies to literally everything.
Cards will take responsive display to another level.
You know how websites adapt to your mobile screen? Cards are built to optimize based on your display settings. So it’s not as if they turn simply from desktop viewing to mobile. Rather, a card is structured so that it seeks out to optimally display on whatever device you’re viewing.
And, of course, you an swipe, touch, or even voice dictate how and what you’d like your content to display. You can go vertical, horizontal, tiled, stacked, columned, whatever.
As you already know from Twitter and Pinterest, you can easily skim and share card but did you know that open source cards are movable across platforms?
You can move a card from an Apple device to an Android. You can move cards from one app to another app.
But What Are Cards Exactly?
Are they a web page? An app? A file? An API (Application Program Interface)?
How about everything. You can view cards like you would a page. You can run them like an app (ie track how far I’ve run based on GPS and time). You can save them. They can interchange seamlessly (behind the scenes, applications are working together so the user gets a seamless experience).
My Random Card Thoughts
– Intelligence. My explanation above is a little futuristic but not too-too futuristic. The increased intelligence angle is coming rapidly. Did you get the artificial intelligence vibe from above? It was there.
– Effect. Cards are going to change everything dramatically (as in saying dramatically is a huge understatement). Obviously the web is shifting mobile and card technology is a spawn of that. Of course, desktop and laptops will still have card capabilities (just look at Windows 8 – that’s cardish) but cards were designed for phones and tablets. And now card technology is enabling us to more efficiently and effectively access mobile content.
– Advertising. I’m very interested in how the advertising side of things will play out here. There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to ads. I’ll have to think about this some more.
– Control. Google, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, and whoever else will probably try to control and confine use of their cards within their platforms but control goes against the very nature of cards. This is an open source movement that goes against Android vs. Apple or Twitter vs. Facebook. It opens everything completely up. I think technology has superseded these tech companies ability to confine users to their platforms.
Will tech tech giants try to maintain their control over users? That’s a good question. I don’t know. Technology giants got to where they are by being innovative but once you’re in the lead and you’ve got that money and power, it’s hard to let go. But I think they have to let go. If for no other reason than they’ll get left behind – one way or another – if they don’t.
In the tech world, you never want to be that wretchedly old man clinging to the past, pleading “it used to work.”
Speaking of which, I’m a little bittersweet about this change (oh it’s happening, if you were to try and thwart this, imagine trying to stop a locomotive by putting a lawn chair in front of it). Writing this post made me miss the good ol’ days of the late 90s and early 2000s a little bit. But there’s no going back now. Those days are ancient history.
That’s enough bitter nostalgia. I’m very excited about the advances forthcoming in 2014-2015. The way we consume and interact with content is about to go up I don’t even know how many levels.