Adding interactive graphics (IG) to websites delivers an extremely valuable persuasion tool equal or superior to plain old content, according to researchers from Penn State University. Visitors are particularly drawn to IG that is intuitive and easy to use. It does a better job persuading visitors to embrace the message, spend more time on the site (and thus boost site ranking data) and, if there’s a product to sell, close the deal.
IG and Interactive Design Personalize the User Experience
Marketers and bloggers have long understood personalizing content is key to getting it noticed. Infographics have almost surpassed traditional content in terms of SEO importance, with Google now prioritizing infographics in search engine results, according to Search Engine Journal. People who click on an image also spend more time on the page. Interactive graphics take this a step further. Quizzes, contests, interactive maps and surveys all encourage users to spend time on the website, find valuable information or have a fun experience. For example, Dish provides a Netflix binge-watching quiz that interacts with its customers in a fun way.
Users Work With Interactive Design to Get Good Results
Users are becoming accustomed to responsive and adaptive systems that create cycles that are self-perpetuating. Responsive design reacts to the size of the screen being used, while adaptive design detects the screen size and loads data in the most appropriate layout.
It’s entirely possible that the mobile market has helped users become more open to “working” to see content by taking active steps to get there. Several interactive elements that are particularly effective involve some sort of agreement from the user, such as:
- Push notifications
- Micro interactions like app notification tones
- Parallax scrolling, which creates a kind of 3-D effect when the user scrolls down a page
- Transition actions like pulling to refresh a screen and opening and closing boxes or lists by clicking on an X or +
Navigation Boosts Effective Interactive Design
Navigation is key to successful design. Four patterns that boost the user experience, according to UX experts at Awwwards, are:
- A vertical menu puts a spin on the usual horizontal menu. It retains the simplicity of the horizontal approach while giving the page a more distinct look.
- Long scrolling prompted by a “scroll down” message takes users to a new screen.
- Single option home page permits the user one option but serves as an eye-catching entry page.
- Full screen navigation employs images users click on to reach a specific page. It’s more user-driven than long scrolling and a single option home page.
Best Practices to Use in Interactive Design
UX and interface designers Tania Schlatter and Deborah Levinson recommend these essential best practices for interactive design and graphics in their textbook on visual usability:
- Keep interactions as simple as possible.
- Use controls that are familiar to the audience; this can vary in different cultures and countries.
- Provide “highly visual feedback” or users will assume the graphic isn’t working.
- Allow users to return to the default page to start again or try the graphic with different responses.