In 2012, we saw the mainstream emergence of a new form of digital interfaces and storytelling -- one that combines the power of technology with compelling visual narratives designed to drive extended user engagement. The rapid proliferation of smartphone and tablet devices into the marketplace has had a profound impact on how users consume and engage with digital content. At the same time, it has had an equally significant influence on how developers are approaching digital design -- capitalizing on the unique, native sensory features of these devices (such as tap and swipe) and by elevating the prominence of larger visual formats such as photos.
It comes as no surprise that some of 2012's greatest success stories are from those that have embraced these new design principles into the core of the user experience, and consequently experienced phenomenal audience growth and engagement levels. Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flipboard and (yes) Facebook have all embraced this design philosophy, adding in simple layers of social mechanics to help extend the depth and breadth of this highly shareable content.