Interactivity in Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide

The Internet is a different place than it was 10 years ago. Back then, the only way people could find information was by surfing the Internet using search engines and then jumping from link to link to find other websites. This has all changed with time ever since Web 2.0 websites appeared on the scene. In this post we are analyzing and showcasing you different elements of interactive website and  how to create your own interactive website.

Normal is Boring!

boring website

Instead of plain text, present your content in an attractive way. Nowadays, users do not prefer reading text. User tends to responds to more visual elements. Ask yourself, what kind website you would like to visit? A static boring website or dynamic, cool easy to navigate website? Instead of a typical way of presenting content, it’s wiser to use some creative ways. You can showcase your product videos and images in a 3D gallery or simple slide show.

What is Interactivity?

Interactivity

Interactivity is a giant leap from the traditional form of web user interfaces seen earlier. Adding interactivity to a web site attracts user attention and tends to brings them to the website again. They add a good amount of visual interest and attract users to visit your site again and again. The main idea of a website is to convey a message effectively.

Today, to meet people’s expectations it is most important that you have a website which is interactive and provide the most information to the user at its fingertips. Such interaction on a website can be classified in two categories:

  1. Single User Interaction
  2. Multi-User Interaction

Single user interaction is about engaging users by displaying the content in a way which would attract users to spend more time on a website. An example of single user interaction is creating a product portfolio or photography website with 3D Flip book or image sideshow which would allow the user to flip through the pages or images easily and smoothly. You can also present your navigation, photographs, text in way that user are driven to browse through content.  Here are some examples:

Single User Interaction

gambolio

Gambolio is using slider to show its content.  If you go to their demo section you can drag the games to trash, which allows user to interact with the webpage.

jp3_design

JP3 Design is using both flash and jQuery to make the website visually attractive to the visitors. The navigation is using tooltip to guide user when they hover and they also have a flash photo gallery on the side to showcase their work.

metalab

Metalab lab has pretty slick design and user interface.  When you click on the tabs on the sidebar tab it goes to the next content and the transition from content to content is really intuitive and visually attractive.

DHP

DHP is flash powered site emulates blocks in their website element to browse the content. This present an unusual yet interesting way to present their content.

ltd

Leeds Technical Design has a Flash powered 3D interface that worth visiting. It is very engaging.

wonderwall

Wonderwall comes from Microsoft based on flash. The way you go through content is by moving your mouse from left to right and click on desired image to find more about news.

Multi User Interaction

Multi user interaction is about allowing site visitors to interact with each other in various forms. Most common examples of multi user interaction found today are in the form of forums, blogs, polls, discussions, sharing presentations, chat site, images and links etc. Here are some examples:

meebo

Everyone is familiar with Meebo. User can log into multiple accounts and chat with their friends.

blurit

Blurit is a website where readers can ask or answer questions.

gamerdna

Gamerdna as name states is for gamers to find out about the games their playing, have a discussion and more.

The examples you have seen above are just some minor examples of interactive website. User’s are always attracted to innovative designs and interesting way of browsing content. Every time a web designer or developer has to try something creative, chances are that they will end up spending more time on programming which is time-consuming. You can refer to these cool tips that can help you to spice up your web site….in no time!

How Do I Add Interactivity to My Website?

Polaroid

You can add single user interactions in some following methods:

  • Add javaScript  and flash photo gallery or content slider. Here are some detailed lists where you can find some interactive photo gallery and  some jQuery sliders. This allows viewers to engage with your website rather own than old browsing method.
  • You can also get creative with your navigation/menu. If you would like CSS navigation Instantshift complied a great list for that and if you would  javaScript navigation here are some useful tutorials.
  • There are software’s available in market which allows you to add such interactions to websites through simple customization without programming. Use these tools to add such interactions quickly and easily to your website. This phenomenon is called “Rapid Interactivity”( Not Free). Here is a sample page.  If you would have some control over you content, customize and get into little coding you can check some free software for Mac and Windows that use can use to create useful content.

parachat

To add multi-user interactions to your website, you can add various tools based on your needs. For example,

  • Add polls to your website using softwares such as PollDaddy or SurveyMonkey
  • Share presentations, documents using Slideshare, Scribd.
  • You can allow user to leave a feedback or shout via Shoutmix or Freeshoutbox. You can have free community chat on your site by using ParaChat or Free Chat Code
  • Another way is by starting you own social networking site or creating a site where different users can engage with each other on different level. TechCrunch points out nine different ways to build you own social networking site.

Instead of using different tools for different needs, you could also use TeemingPod. It allows you to add polls, share presentations, share new ideas, links, create FAQs etc. through one single Pod. This reduces your learning curve of multiple tools. Also, adding a Pod to a webpage requires only a couple of lines of code. We are recommending it for user who beginners and wants to avoid too much coding.

One Last Word…

ugly

Whenever you are adding banners, animation on your site do not overdo it ! Make it simple, attractive and user-friendly. Crowding with too much interactivity, flashy items can drive readers away instead of drawing them. You should consider providing better usability and easy browsing experience for your viewers. Last but not least know what can drive your visitor away and in what way you can ruin your website.

Interactions makes web pages exciting, unique and memorable! If you haven’t yet added these to your website, it’s high time for you embrace new ideas and have some interactive elements in your website.

Edited by: Kawsar Ali


Author:

Poonam works as Product Manager at Harbinger Group and is responsible for the overall technology architecture of TeemingPod. She also looks after Raptivity Web Expert, software to make websites interactive without programming. She holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Engineering and is an active blogger.


  • http://www.johnfront.com Ivan Tsankov

    Thanks for the info!

    By the way, the last site was too ugly to look at. ;)
    Great fun!

  • http://gawed.wordpress.com gawed

    hi, how does this interactivity affects search spiders (SEO)? I was told that java and images and such are not read by Google and other search engines. do these tips take that in account or are you sacrificing ranking for visuals?

    • Kawsar Ali

      It advised too not overdo flash. However, Javascript is does not harm your seo because its all in text. But “Java” might be bad for seo. It depends how you are using java. If you have your meta and keywords correctly then you should be fine.

  • Kawsar Ali

    Poonam is an expert in her field. So no doubt some very useful tips here