Surfing With a Swipe of Your Hand

Media Morph: Mouseless Navigation

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NEW YORK ( -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: mouseless navigation.

WHAT IT IS: The name pretty much says it all -- with the help of webcam technology, visitors have the option to navigate the site using just hand gestures.

WHO'S USING IT: San Francisco ad agency Publicis & Hal Riney has redesigned its website to enable a mouse-free experience. The effort is one of a wave of newfangled agency websites launched in recent months, which include Modernista's Web 2.0 format and Barbarian Group's bloglike revamp. "We wanted to make the website as interesting as the work that was presented on it," said Rikesh Lal, Publicis & Hal Riney's interactive creative director and an AKQA veteran.

HOW IT WORKS: A webcam tracks users' motions via hot buttons set up in four quadrants. With a swipe, users are directed to different sections displaying work for clients and introducing agency leadership, for example. The navigation experience is decidedly Wii-like, not surprising since U.K. interactive shop Clusta, which created the site, used gaming technology as the basis for programming. Since its March launch, has had more than 100,000 hits.

FUTURE USES: "There is enormous potential to use this technology across a range of marketing functions," said Matt Clugston, creative director at Clusta. "We continue to find new and exciting ways we can integrate our program into new sites and applications both on- and offline. ... It can be used in games, in-store, at live events. ... It is a great way of helping consumers interact with a product or online application in a much more interesting and engaging way." He said Clusta is continuously fine-tuning its webcam-navigation technology to be triggered by more-sensitive gesturing.

For Publicis & Hal Riney's part, the agency is hoping future versions of its site will include a game element ("Box the creative director!") and recognize unique gestures.
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