The Web in 2014: How to Maximize User Engagement

Posted / 10 September, 2014

Author / Enginess

A website that is mostly text will usually come with a very high bounce rate, as users quickly burn out. But there’s no need to avoid making your website richer and more engaging. Here we’ll go over a few ways to leverage modern web technologies and assets to make the user experience more engaging.

Web technologies have improved to the point where visiting a website is no longer just about reading static text on a page. In fact, a website that is mostly text will usually come with a very high bounce rate, as users quickly burn out. Modern web users demand more from their browsing experience, and there’s no need to avoid making your website richer and more engaging given that the technology is here to support it. Here we’ll go over a few ways to leverage modern web technologies and assets to make the user experience more engaging.  

Video

Reading streams of copy can be laborious, solitary and draining. Supplement some of the information with multimedia, such as embedded videos, to break the monotony and keep your user interested. As an example, HackerYou features a short video on the top right hand corner of its sidebar which provides a great overview of the institution to supplement the text on the page. Be creative with it – HTML5 videos can even be used for full, moving backgrounds or headers to make the page come alive. Also, check out Spotify for a great example of how to utilize simple looping videos to make the content come alive.  

Interactive Elements

HTML5 Canvas, jQuery and CSS3 – though these development languages may not mean anything to you, they are powerful tools used to bring modern design experiences to life. In essence, they allow the user to really interact with the websites they visit. User interaction is a great way to keep visitors interested and actively paying attention with the content on your website. Rollovers, cursor-movement triggered animations, and changing displays are all great ways to provide a tactile, responsive experience for users on your website. Check out Real Heroines, a super cool initiative showcasing great female figures in various professional fields, presented in an intuitive, interactive way with user actions smoothly changing the website’s appearance with little animations and transitions. Real Heroines Another great, functional example of this point is Huron’s Virtual Tour section of their website (developed by Moveable Online), which takes input from the user and incorporates it into a map application linked to videos and 360° views that take users around a tour of the campus. Huron Virtual Tour    

Social Media

A social media presence is what differentiates a web presence in isolation and a website extending to every corner of the internet. Web 2.0 brought with it an ecosystem of tools and services broadening reach and conversation, allowing user commenting, sharing, and engagement with media, brands and ideas like never before – not just on one website, but on virtually any device connecting to the internet. If your website has social media integration, your users can share what they love about it with their friends in real time with a click of a button on their own social media accounts, and the amount of people “liking” or “following” your brand can give an instant impression of how well your brand is doing. Check out MahiFX and their trading faces campaign to see a creative use of social media in not only engaging with their brand regulars, but also friends of their users, bringing in potentially new interest in their business. MahiFX Trading Faces  

Real-Time Information

With sites like Twitter and Facebook’s status messages becoming embeddable and updatable instantly via portable devices, it’s easier than ever before to share things in real time. This brings amazing functionality for the web and for users to be updated with a stream of new media and information as it happens. This is the crux of new media, and a good chunk of what separates it from how generations before us have received their information. There are no more waiting times. Embedded feeds of instantly updating statuses, tweets, links or article headlines on a site’s sidebar is an easy and functional way to keep users engaged and informed. Take, for instance, the below example of the content feed from Apple’s live iPhone 6 event yesterday: apple content feed Or, another example: DCP is a collaborative photography project that has its Twitter feed front and center for new users to be instantly engaged in new camera locations, new status updates, and various goings-on with the project. DCPNow that you've seen our list, would your website benefit from any of these interactive features?  

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