Editor’s note: Anastasia talks about the behind-the-scenes part of user experience design – interactive design – and explains why it’s vital to your website’s success. If you are looking for a reliable vendor to implement interactive design as part of UX, be sure to consider ScienceSoft’s offer in UX design services and web design services.
Despite being a large part of user experience, interactivity should remain unperceived by users. By and large, your website’s interactive design was done right only when your users don’t acknowledge meticulously worked-out interactive processes navigating their actions.
As you might expect, designing something so vital but elusive is a challenging job. In this article, I help you understand the processes and goals of an interactive designer as well as give you the reasons why you should hire one for your web design project.
Interactive design vs. User experience design
Interactive design focuses on the moments of your user’s direct and active engagement – one that involves tapping, clicking, dragging, typing, etc. – with your website. Meanwhile, user experience (UX) design has a wider perspective and considers even moments of passive use – like reading a text on your website’s page – to be interaction.
As such, interactive website design is a part of UX website design that aims at incentivizing and facilitating the moments of a user’s active engagement. Some UX professionals prefer to zero in on this aspect of UX design and hone to perfection the skills of implementing interaction patterns. At ScienceSoft, we always put such focused specialists on highly interactive web design projects to ensure the quality of interactive design.
Interactive design elements
Interactive design processes break every moment of interaction into 5 elements. Most of these elements apply to all types of interactions, but some can be optional at times. The user experience specialist’s job is to define what elements are necessary for each interaction instance to make it feel natural and seamless.
Here’s the list of all 5 elements:
- Text – A text or a symbol that indicates the possibility of interaction and focuses on its expected results - not the action itself. Think a line ‘Play’ or a triangle symbol that signifies the same intention.
- Visual Form – Some interactive elements, like buttons or fields for text input, should have distinctly visible margins to specify the interactive zone. You certainly don’t want your potential buyer to take pains in finding the input zone when they’re filling in a shipping address for their purchase, for instance.
- Medium/Platform – With interactions requiring different actions on different devices, an interactive design expert should ensure that the choice of interaction-inducing actions is predictable on all platforms.
- Time – Certain interactions require time for processing input data and your website should always keep users informed about the state of this data processing. Otherwise, users may consider the website unresponsive and leave without waiting for the result.
- Feedback – To give a user the feeling of accomplishment, your website should present a clear result of any interaction. For instance, show the ‘Success!’ notice after a user shares an article from your website to social networks.
The roles of each of these elements seem to be evident and choosing the necessary ones to assemble a smooth interaction flow appears to be a trivial task. Still, I’m sure that just like me, you’ve encountered plenty of web designs with broken interaction flows that puzzled you at one point or another or confused you enough to make you leave. The purpose of professional interactive website design is to avoid any confusion from the user’s side and eliminate all possible risks to your business.
Merits of quality interactive design
Just like the negative consequences of bad interactive website design can be grave, the positive effects of quality interactive design can be impressive. Let’s look at just a few of them.
Lower support costs and increased support quality
If users don’t experience any troubles when interacting with your website, they have fewer reasons to turn to your support, which leads to minimized support costs. Thus, by ensuring that every interaction instance on your website is properly designed, you shield your support specialists from such trivial issues, and they can focus on complex and unprecedented cases, thus enhancing support quality.
Decreased bounce rate
More often than turn to support, visitors who experience a confusing interaction simply bounce and never return. Professionally designed and tested interactive design minimizes the chances of users’ frustrations with your website and prevents a high bounce rate.
Whether your website’s revenue comes from clicks or purchases, it is tightly tied to the processes of interaction. By allowing users to gain a satisfying experience from engaging with your website, you motivate them to engage more often, thus bringing you more revenue.
Increased competitiveness and loyalty
There’s a caveat to what I said at the very start about good interactive design being natural enough to not attract any attention to itself at all. If you draw your users’ attention to interactive elements by adding some feel of freshness and creativity to them – the way our B2B and B2C ecommerce demos do it, for instance – you can stand out among the competitors and make a lasting impression on your visitors, strengthening their wish to do business with you.
Benefit from the comfort of your users
A user interacting with your website is a client communicating with your business. Just as you wouldn’t want your business communication to appear confusing and unproductive, you shouldn’t let these qualities define the interactive design of your website. Whether you need to prevent interactive design issues in your future website or want to fix them in the existing one, don’t hesitate to turn to ScienceSoft’s team for assistance.