There’s more to storytelling—at least on websites—than just words.
Your content is important, but the design and layout of your website contribute to the effect of your story on users.
Here are seven design tips for your company to use to develop your user experience and strengthen your storytelling:
1. Structure your tone and layout to align with your story.
The right layout communicates that you understand who your customers are and how they prefer to engage with your company.
The layout for Blackhouse seen below communicates refined taste and propriety.
This tone of this image communicates simplicity but also is meant to highlight the high quality of their offerings. (Steak isn’t in the picture by mere happenstance.) With this layout and tone, you can use your story to deliver an impression about your company to your users.
2. Consider gamification to increase engagement.
Want to attract visitors to your site and include them in your story? Play a game with them.
Gamification adds game elements to your story. Progress bars, reward points and small games all make your website more interactive.
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Users don’t want to observe your story passively and from a distance. Drawing your customer into the story helps them identify with your brand.
For example, Dropbox rewards users who complete certain objectives, prompting a response from the user to return and try to “improve their score.”
Effectively drawing a customer into the story also promotes return visits.
3. Use interactive features to retain user attention.
Small interactions on your website engage visitors. Interactive web design features contribute to your story by retaining user attention and interest.
Interactive features include:
- Hover features over an image to display text can be a nice way to incorporate more content.
- Parallax scrolling , where foreground graphics move faster than background images, can be used to have aspects of your story pop up to readers as they scroll down your page.
- Interactive icons surprise users and can add fun to the website.
For example, Supercrowds plays with the location of icons to engage the reader.
Interactive features help your content stand out from the ordinary and motivate readers to pay attention to the story you are telling.
4. Be creative through visualization.
Sharing data creatively enables you to incorporate once-boring numbers in a fun way.
Google’s Data GIF Maker, for example, makes your content more visually appealing.
Your visualization doesn’t have to be complex. It gives life to the words you are using to connect with your audience. If they weren’t interested before, visualization elements might attract them to your content.
5. Prioritize responsive web design for more traffic.
Responsive web design means your site adjusts to the mobile device the customer is using.
Using responsive design enables visitors to consume content on your website no matter what device they are using. Regardless of the story you’re telling, you want readers to be able to follow it across an array of devices.
6. Use your site to answer your customers’ problems.
Your website should provide a solution to your customers’ wants and needs.
One goal of telling a story through your brand is to have your customers discover a problem they don’t know they have. The power of storytelling lies in drawing readers to a conclusion.
Once you’ve made a clear and compelling case for why they need what you offer, ensure you have an easy way for them to access it.
Squarespace presents a beautiful example of web design that creates an impression that your current design is lacking—a problem you didn’t suspect before seeing its “Make it fresh” slogan.
7. Make everything easy to share.
Today, users share everything on social media, including the businesses they hire and the services they use.
Incorporate social media sharing buttons on your website so your users can quickly add you to their story and, in turn, promote your business.
Stephen Moyers is a digital strategist, author and consultant. A version of this post first appeared onClutch.