Activate Interactivity

It’s nice to be able to blame my job for the inordinate amount of time I spend thinking about the design of web pages. We are working on revamping our own website and we always have some microsite development projects on the table. When developing a client website completely from scratch recently, I reflected on the process and how web design has evolved.

There are tons of factors, choices, options, styles, etc. to consider and yet, like Occam’s razor, the simplest option is almost always correct. This is definitely the growing trend that I am seeing. By “simple,” I actually mean, “clean.” Clean design is the preferred method, because the content is the real star of your website. The reason I make the distinction between clean and simple is because you can make something that looks very clean but uses a great deal of sophistication. For me, I think the sweet spot is a style that is modest (or understated) and elegant and uses color sparingly in order to cut down on clashing. Also, I want a website to be graceful, and this has to do with movement.

Lately I’ve been giving a ton of thought to ways to make a site interactive. Interactivity is a multi-faceted issue itself. It relates to providing opportunities for users to give feedback on your content and then persuading users to become involved in the discussion. It involves the way a person relates to the website. EIther everything you need as a user is right in front of your face, so you don’t have to scroll around the web page, or, as I’m inclined to at the moment, building a page that has scrollability (i.e. encourages scrolling), which is another form of interaction that can have a profound impact on a user.

I’m thinking about ways to get people more involved in the experience of a website. Why do people play video games? Why do people find themselves losing hours on Facebook? They are physically and mentally engaged in the activity. That’s what it’s all about. So, I’m thinking of ways to make websites more like video games….this could go on forever.