Some UX/UI professionals hold the opinion that the best sites are those in which the design goes unnoticed. Components like navigation, layout, and content fit so seamlessly that a user only thinks about what’s on the site, and not the site itself. Then there are those who believe in creating a browsing experience that leaves a user impressed with not just the content on the site, but also the place in which it lives.
To be clear, it’s important to recognize that good UX/UI never distracts. Still, many now believe that more creativity could be the key to enhancing the end user’s experience. In this article, I’ll go through the ways to make your website come off the screen and remain in the audience’s mind, and leave them coming back for more.
1. Interactive Content
Not to go too deep into human psychology, but it’s well-known that when you have a back-and-forth encounter with someone (or something), it dramatically helps with recall. Not to mention, we love games, and really any aspect of technology that gives us the feeling that we’re in control.
When designing your website, think about ways you can create an experience that lets the user curate which content they view through an interactive process. This might be a slideshow of images and/or written information, or some type of short, easy game that engages. Here’s a secret: the interactive content doesn’t need to be groundbreaking in order to be effective. If you need proof, look no further than Buzzfeed’s empire, which was built on personality quizzes that, if we’re being honest, are pretty unsophisticated.
Interactive content is a great place for web designers to get creative. The next time you browse the internet, try taking notes of certain aspects of websites that you find to be engaging and interesting. See if there’s a way to adapt this to your own page and make improvements on it if possible. Your website should be a fluid thing in that there’s always room for optimizations that take it to the next level.
2. Think of Social Media
The popularity of social media can be attributed to our collective attention spans shrinking. Or perhaps it may even be the cause. Either way, it’s important to remember that these easily-digestible, bite-sized nuggets of content are important to keep in mind when designing your website.
When deciding what to include on your site, think of ways that it may drive engagement on your social platforms. For example, create a page that focuses on the benefits of following your social profiles (offers, updates, etc.) and encourage your audience to take the next step in connecting with your brand. Loyalty is a slow process, but once you gain a social media follower, you have the opportunity to reach them on a regular basis.
Optimizing your website for social media isn’t necessarily an intuitive design consideration, but doing the research to understand how you can pull it off will give you a solid return on your time investment.
3. Be Visually Interesting
The multimedia capabilities that can be included on your website is an evolving space. With that in mind, you should be keeping up with the latest methods for not just getting attention, but keeping it as well. Check out this article to see how these brands are using this philosophy to create more engaging website.
Including video, audio, interactive text, and other animation components is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury if you’re looking to design a state-of-the-art website. With that being said, don’t feel like these elements must be extremely complex – they don’t. They simply need to exist. Things like 3D models, digital walkthroughs (which have become huge in the real estate space),l and other “virtual” experiences are becoming standard.
One thing that should be noted is that web designers must be mindful of loading speeds (especially on mobile devices). Animated and interactive content can slow things down, so use a third-party program to help you stay within the recommended loading times. If you neglect this step, you risk getting seriously hurting your SEO.
4. Cut Out Unnecessary Content
Your website is the go-to source of information when someone has a question about your brand. Because of this, it’s easy to include far more information than is really necessary. This is a problem for a few reasons: first and foremost, it’s much more difficult to navigate large amounts of content when you’re viewing a site on a small mobile device…and a small mobile device is overwhelmingly the medium through which it will be viewed. Second, it slows down your loading times which can hurt your chances of ranking high in SEO algorithms. Third, people don’t want to sort through several paragraphs of non-essential information in order to get to the answers they came looking for in the first place.
Now, there is a place for long-form content in a blog section. The advice in the paragraph above refers to informative pages where people aren’t expecting to read longer pieces of text such as the homepage or landing page from an advertisement.
As a general rule of thumb, for any page outside of the blog section, ask yourself: “Does this truly need to be included? Or could I cut this out and focus on featuring only the most important information?”
At the end of the day, you simply want your website to give your audience a good impression of your brand. In today’s marketplace, your website is every bit as important as your storefront (if you have one) and is a crucial piece of obtaining new customers. Whether you’re running an e-commerce brand that relies on your site to drive sales, or are simply using your site as a way to generate leads you’ll convert offline, you want your site to make a positive statement.
If you could use a partner to help you design and optimize your site to fit your goals, get in touch today for a plan that’s designed for your needs.