The future of content or even web design could possibly be interaction and engagement. With everybody trying to compete for the user’s attention, it’s becoming more important to find ways to engage your audience. Adding interaction was always a risky endeavor because there was a high possibility that users would abandon the website due to browser conflicts and loading issues. Interaction is no longer a problem because most browser are up to date and the majority of web users are on high speed internet.
This doesn’t mean that making your website completely interactive is the solution. You need to exercise balance and still keep the focus on great design. Everybody has seen examples of sites that went overboard and ending up losing their audience (and possibly a large chunk of their budget too). With that said, the idea of providing a unique and possibly entertaining experience to your users can really unleash your creativity and allow you to come up with something that results in tons of links, mentions, traffic, and customers.

Here are some key points to keep in mind as you design an interactive web page or site:

1. Create a visual hierarchy – If your content is the most important part of your page, you don’t want to create elements that draw attention away from it. At the same time, you want to make sure that your UI is easily distinguishable from your content and doesn’t blend in with something else on the page like your footer. Creating a visual hierarchy gives you bird’s eye view on how to design so that users engage with your site in an optimal matter.

2. Focus on UI and UX – When you make a page interactive, it’s almost like you have to treat that page like a UI. You want to make sure that the engagement elements are designed in a way that’s intuitive and structured. You also want to make sure that when users use that “UI,” they’re rewarded with a positive experience. This is one of the hardest parts of designing something interactive as it’s almost as complex as designing a smartphone app.

3. Keep your eye on the prize – You want to make sure that your design is laser focused on getting the user to where you want them to go. That means that you’ll have to eliminate distractions that helps the design look better at the expense of drawing attention away from the main interaction points. And of course, you want to design a focused path that delivers the user to a specific goal you have in mind.

4. Provide direction while providing freedom – You want to provide clear instructions on what clicking something will do for the user, so they know what to expect from their actions. At the same time, you want to ensure that they can engage without you enforcing actions. The perfect example would be a presentation where the user is prevented from right clicking or going back to the previous page.

5. Make interaction noticeable – Let the user know that their action means something. A click that results in a small blip isn’t really impactful for the user. Make sure that the reactive element is noticeable and impactful. This enriches the content, makes the user want to interact more (to fulfill his curiosity), and makes your message stronger.

By following these tips on interactive site design, you’ll make sure that your design efforts aren’t in vain. It’s vital to have structures and guidelines for designing interaction as you can really go off on a tangent and forget about the user or even worse, your main purpose.