Every project that we work on has a specific need and unique requirements. No matter what the website’s message may be, we all have a unifying goal, and that is to get the attention of the visitor. A successful site is one that leaves an impression on anyone who finds their way to it. This ensures that people will return in the future, and that they will tell their friends.
When someone is having fun, they are more likely to remember the events surrounding the situation. If we apply this logic to website design, it would mean that adding fun to a design would increase the odds of visitors having an unforgettable experience. The question we should then ask is: How can we successfully work fun into different types of websites? With a little creativity and some planning, any website can have a dash of fun added for an enjoyable experience.
Fun has a variety of definitions depending on who you ask. Adding fun elements to a design can be accomplished without making your client’s website silly or childish. Maybe a colorful picture here or a creative scroll option there will be all you need to get the extra oomph you are looking for. Whether or not these additional elements are successful has a lot to do with knowing when to add and when not to add.
Be More than Ordinary
Many websites share the same type of pages, including an “about us” page or a “contact us” page. Small design changes to these pages can really help the website stand out from other sites. There are many ways to personalize these pages so that they do not interfere with the overall theme of the site while still bringing something new to the traditional design. For example, a business that offers writing workshops may format their “contact us” page after a control panel. This makes the page fun to look at while tying the theme and design together.
Some people even make their “404 error” page comical. The goal here is to make a frustrating situation less aggravating by adding some light humor. While this may bring a smile to one person, it can just as easily irritate another. Do not take it personally if someone hates the page, sometimes just getting the error is too annoying to forgive the attempt at making a joke. This is an extremely subjective topic so simply use your own discretion. People may be more forgiving if you make sure to include working links on your error page that can get people back to where they may be trying to go.
Storytelling is as old as time. There is no reason for storytelling elements not to be included in a website trying to get a detailed point across to its visitors. The great thing about having a beginning, middle, and end is that there are many different points at which a designer can add educational content and interactive opportunities. The entire interaction can be fun, memorable, and informative.
One site that uses storytelling well is futureofcarsharing.com. The story is set up with vertical navigation where the visitor can steer a car using the arrow keys. There are many scenes and interactive content points as the car “drives” across the screen. The information is presented in a way that keeps the readers engaged so that they want to continue reading.
Integrating Extreme Fun
You are having so much fun adding fun elements that you suddenly realize that your entire website has basically become a theme park. In some cases, this is alright and in other cases it simply will not work. It takes experience and restraint to know when the design has gone overboard and is now driving people away instead of pulling them in. Some websites can benefit from an overboard approach because it happens to work well for the brand.
Sometimes the design may be brilliant, but unintentionally muddles the message trying to be delivered to the visitor. CaptainDash.com takes advantage of an over-the-top design by having a great deal of user interactions and eye-catching illustrations. While it seems to work well with the brand name, you may notice very quickly that finding the exact service offered by the company is somewhat lost behind all the creativity. Remember that a fun website still needs to serve its primary purpose.
Does Serious Content Mean no Fun?
Adding some life to a website can be efficiently accomplished without sacrificing the seriousness of any sensitive issues the site may be addressing. Yes, there are many people probably reading this right now who are thinking to themselves that you have had at least one project where you are sure fun could not be integrated. While this can sometimes be the case, almost any type of content can work in something that will make the experience just a slight more memorable.
A perfect example of a website covering a sensitive issue is SlaveryFootprint.org. The purpose of this site is to educate people about the effects that some of their consumption habits have on the existence of slavery today. While this may not sound like a place where fun can be beneficial, they have found a way to present the information in a refreshing way. Through the use of colorful illustrations and a unique scrolling method for the presentation of the information, these designers were able to make the experience interactive and interesting to the visitor. More people will probably read through the content as they work their way down the page as opposed to just being presented with a website full of plain text paragraphs jam-packed with facts.
A combination of any of the “fun” techniques previously mentioned can be used to add life to a website. Whether you are designing a site about history or hydraulic fracturing, it is small things here and there, which will really grab a person’s attention. The right design can also enhance a website’s message. As long as the additions do not hinder the main purpose, you should not have to worry about small features being completely distracting to visitors. Sure, we all have the skill sets necessary to make a functional website, but what can we do to leave an online imprint for the people who see our work. No matter what your new project will be, consider adding a touch of fun to make the visitor smile.