David-Michel Davies is the Executive Director of The Webby Awards and the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. He has devoted his career to championing and celebrating the very best of Internet culture. The International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences (IADAS) is a network comprised of more than 1,000 Internet experts who sift through cat photos, political blogs, robot videos, celebrity tweets, and more to uncover the most innovative work on the Internet. We recently had the opportunity to pick his brain about the recent addition of several categories that focus on apps and bringing them to the awesome Webby Awards stage.
Is incorporating the world of apps into The Webbys an exciting change?
The world of apps is definitely one of the most exciting changes we’ve seen in the way people interact with the Internet in all the years we’ve been doing this. It’s pretty exciting, and it’s definitely a big change and a really a big change for consumers. It’s really why we re-oriented and re-launched a whole bunch of new categories to honor this stuff, because we think it’s pretty significant.
At what point did you realize you were going to have to incorporate apps into The Webbys?
It basically made tablets something consumers were interested in for the first time, and what does that mean? That means people are sitting on their couches touching the Internet and being relaxed, being social and sharing while sitting in their home environment and not at their desk. That’s not to say people weren’t interacting with their mobile phones, but the size of the handheld screen makes it more of a utilitarian action. It’s a new space that people are interacting with, and that was definitely a big element on how we incorporated this in the Webbys. The game and content was changing so quickly.
A recent wired article talked about the death of the internet and how people are shifting towards using apps instead of the internet as a whole. Do you think in the future things will be shifted more towards apps like Facebook, twitter and Skype?
I think that two different things are going on right now. Apps are providing a really rich user experience and are much more immersive than what you would find in most traditional websites. That’s something that consumers respond to and have a much more emotional connection to, and I think that part is here to stay.
But I am not as bullish on the delivery method of this experience. Right now we’re looking at downloading all these apps on all these different devices, and until HTML5 and some of that stuff catches up and has widespread appeal with browser functionality, the downloadable apps model will continue.
In the long-term, it’s difficult for closed systems like that to compete with open systems. It does create a lot of work and overhead for developers with so many different types of apps for all these platforms. I think when http can deliver that kind of immersive experience, it will pick up traction again and have a good shot at being the long-term model.