Creative All Star: Aaron Shapiro

“Today, in America, the typical person makes 35,000 decisions a day,” Aaron Shapiro said recently during a presentation championing Huge’s brand of “anticipatory design” --  a new approach to user experience design he says will do more to change the way brands interact with consumers over the next ten years than all digital media has done over the last 20.

Since taking the helm, Shapiro has focused the Interpublic shop in that direction, based largely on a keen insight that choice is not longer an asset, but increasingly is becoming a liability in an era of infinite options. During that same presentation, Shapiro cited a person experience that helped inform his vision: While searching to buy a game of Monopoly for a birthday present for his son, Amazon spit back 2,767 different options for buying it. The result: a “20 to 30 minute” ordeal that led to a phenomenon known as “decision fatigue.”

Instead of making people’s lives better -- and easier to connect with brands -- Shapiro says it’s currently doing the opposite, creating too many choices and forcing people to consider more options than they otherwise would want to make.

The solution isn’t just the kind of intuitive user experience design that has led the 15-year-old agency to success, but one that actually reduces the need for intuition altogether, and actually anticipates what people want -- before they even know they want it.

Huge has already begun rolling out a next-generation AI-based solution, dubbed Dakota, to help its own staff and its clients process fewer decisions and get better, faster and more fulfilling results. The next stage will be creating new consumer interfaces that do the same.

In a world of infinite media and brand options, designs that anticipate a user’s needs increasingly will end up being a user’s most important choice, if not their only one. Having and realizing that vision made Shapiro our obvious choice for this year’s All Stars.
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