Anti-Usability for Digital Engagement

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Digital engagement is vital when communicating with your customers online. They have the power to tune out your messages, so the aim is to provide a memorable and positive experience. The heart of successful digital engagement.

Following the launch of our new website, we noticed something rather interesting about the bounce rate on analytics. It had pretty much stopped bouncing.

Our new site features fewer pages, but we’ve introduced a fun feature whereby particles bounce around the screen. When clicked on, these particles lead the visitor to ‘hidden’ content with a different story behind each one.

As part of our Christmas campaign, we expanded this feature to include a festive themed update featuring our global staff.

Traditionally the focus has been on providing the user with easy access to the principal journeys you wish your customers to follow and obviously this is still the primary goal. Through clear navigation and calls to action, helping the visitor to complete either their or your tasks will lead to a positive interaction with your brand for existing or new customers.

But can we use an almost anti-usable design to achieve the same thing?

Whilst we don’t necessarily recommend the particle approach for everyone, encouraging the visitor to explore on their own to discover unexpected or bonus content can be a rewarding experience for the visitor.

Through the use of either subtle or obscured (or bouncing!) links (graphical, textual or illustrative), we can invite visitors to discover content for themselves providing a feeling of accomplishment and positivity.

In practice this could be a mysterious, caption-less image or illustration or an apparently un-clickable piece of text. There is certainly a fine line between making the link obvious, yet not too obvious.

As well as quantitative data from Google Analytics, we have received some great feedback from our site visitors who tell us that they spent a considerable amount of time ‘collecting’ the dots to reveal what lies beneath each.

The trick is to balance core content with bonus content so that those visitors in a rush can easily find what they want, but that there exists a secondary layer for those who wish to delve deeper. These features can be flagged on social media or on other marketing channels to encourage exploration. As with our own website, a well-signposted notice of content updates to come, will help to gain return visits.

At Crowd, we always use the right techniques to achieve our client’s digital engagement goals; using just the right mix of marketing, creativity and technology. It’s always nice to discover new ones though, through our continual program of discovery, experimentation and research.