Any good UX design always places the user front-and-centre.
Prioritising the user ensures that your design is a hit – without users necessarily realising it.
If a site has a stunning first impression due to great UI – that’s great. If a site was enjoyable to use due to great UX – even better. Having an interactive website is one way of making yourself and your business stand out and be remembered.
Interactive Websites: What They Are, And Why They Matter
What Is An Interactive Website?
Interactive websites use features that create engaging experiences for users.
User journeys are characterised by elements actively responding to actions, like a hover state on a button changing if the cursor moves over it.
The aim is to create a better user experience, increasing the chances of the user returning to the site, or sharing your content.
What’s The Opposite Of Interactive Web Design?
The opposite of ‘interactive’ would be “static”, “impersonal” and “uncooperative”.
The last two are very important to avoid when creating a positive, memorable user experience.
Visiting a site in search of specific content is a mission for any user, especially a busy one.
Building initial trust and a welcoming environment is key to getting the user started on the journey to their (and your) end goal. When users visit a site that’s seen as impersonal or uncooperative, it will mean a lack of trust, and even frustration, both of which equal an increase in drop-off rates.
What’s The Disadvantage Of Non-interactive Websites?
These days, static elements will appear to be broken links before users realise that it’s just a button with no hover state.
On sites packed with ads, a consistently designed interaction style is the key to guiding a user through the maze of ad buttons to get to your button – which is the one they are actually looking for.
How Do You Decide Which Interactive Features To Use?
Based on the principles of design thinking (the foundation of UX design), it’s really simple to decide which interactive design features will improve your website – and why.
Think of the following::
- Who is your target user? (Empathise)
- What is the core task? (Define the problem)
- How many and what cues are needed to guide the user? (Ideate and test)
What Are The Main Benefits Of Well-Considered Interactivity?
Ease Of Use And Time On Task
The golden rule of good UX is to create the shortest, easiest and most enjoyable user journey.
Extra actions increase the time users take to complete a task, which is a bad thing.
But, give the user some engagement options (not too many!), and they can move through the information at their own pace in an enjoyable way.
This is helpful for designs that facilitate many user journeys apart from the core task.
Credibility And Conversion
How users sift through content is part of UX design, but also largely up to their preference.
Catering for as many user profiles within a target group as possible can lead to some features that won’t be interacted with by all users.
Some people go straight to the end of the journey and convert – while others need to pore over all the content and make several visits to the site before converting.
Interactivity plays a large role in getting users to seamlessly convert, as well as easily return when they’re ready to convert later on.
An interface that responds to a user action builds a sense of friendliness and credibility.
Interactive Website Design Examples
On this page alone there are a number of examples of interactivity.
Take a look at the following components on this page, and imagine the page without them.
Would you feel lost, or that the experience has suddenly become uninviting and impersonal?
Let’s take a look:
- The scroll navigator on the right. The colourful bar, set in the brand colour, carefully and smoothly follows your scrolling movement. This gives you clear guidance as to where you are on the page, and how much is left of it.
- The hover states on the tags on the right. Not only is it fun to hover over the tags and play with the colour changes, but each tag takes you to more useful content.
- The back-to-top button and its hover state. Using an industry-standard icon in combination with an interactive hover state, you can see that it’s a clickable element, and it saves you scrolling time to get back to the top of the page.
- The ‘Review Us’ widget. This is a great way to engage users and make them feel that their opinion and experience are valued.
- The chat widget. This is so interactive, users will even get a personal response!
- And, of course, the wavy animation that shows the footer. Having a visually appealing animation like that makes for a memorable user experience and possibly a returning visitor.
Want to see another example of great interactivity?
Check out the Join Our Team section on Accenture’s website.
It’s creative parallax scrolling at its best.
Not only does the primary navigation track your progress through the interaction, the main interaction opens the section background as you scroll.
You’re presented with an engaging image that has moving elements.
Once you’ve had the time to appreciate the cool background image, the section copy gently flows in.
Users will spend time engaging with your design because it responds to them.
Static elements will fall under the radar for busy users that are quickly trying to get through the design to the part they are looking for.
Remember: out of sight, out of mind! If an element doesn’t respond as if it’s clickable, then users probably won’t click it