“The lack of limits might be our most notable limitation,” says Eric Karjaluoto, Creative Director at smashlab and juror at the prestigious Communication Arts Interactive Competition. Instead of fighting bandwidth and resolution issues, today’s best interactive design examples demonstrate new styles of interactive storytelling.

Delivering information and entertainment onscreen requires systematic thinking to cross platforms, media habits and cultural behaviors. Ginny Golden, a judge from akqa adds, “…we are all connected, anytime, anywhere. That means we must design the right experience for the right device, seamlessly and purposefully.”

Winners ranged from well-known to obscure and all can be seen at Communication Arts website.

Coke Zero’s Sweater Generator microsite spawned over 82,000 ugly holiday sweater designs in just 20 days, garnering 402,261 votes from 90% of the world’s countries. I’d call that engaging. Coke played the game out, custom hand knitting the top 100 awful sweaters for 2-week delivery to the game winners. To make the game work, the designers programmed 1,324,405,261 design possibilities onto a photo realistic garment with v-neck, cowl and sweater vest options. Everything had to be device and platform compatible. And as no surprise, the game and its results were integrated into social media, right down to selfies of the winners wearing their hideous creations. Nicely played, Coke.

Like a virtual spelling bee, Spell Up was created to introduce Chrome’s voice recognition Web Speech API. Voice-powered, the game helps you improve your English by spelling words aloud, correctly pronouncing words, word jumbles and puzzles. After you have installed Chrome (surprised?), you simply speak to play and the browser uses your words to control the game. Over four million visitors have played, with 56% speaking English as their second language. Not to miss a trick, Google Translate and Dictionary are connected.

My last pick goes beyond clicks and likes. It’s a teddy bear designed to comfort children undergoing cancer treatment. The ELO Teddy Bear is a specially-designed hypoallergenic foam toy that plays messages from the child’s loved ones. Friends and relatives call and record a message. Hospital staff screens the calls, selecting content and, when ELO Bear’s paw is pressed, the messages play.  Comfort, affection, fun and companionship are the deliverables of this interactive winner.

The skills, concepts and expectations for online design have grown geometrically as have the talent of today’s designers, writers and artists. Not to mention the engineers and developers who make everything go on your desktop, tablet, phone and (soon) wristwatch.