Gone are the days when a static website was sufficient. And if your business still has such a site then you should seriously think about a revision taking into consideration the latest visual trends on the web.
Visual-oriented sites as well as responsive web design sites have gained popularity of late and the ideology behind the latter method is that emotions are aroused within the user, alluring him or her to react in certain ways.
Essentially, sleek and interesting designs allow users to interact with your site at a whole new level. In addition, sites are fast becoming highly creative, original and compelling works of art that are heavily invested in visual or interactive elements.
Here are 10 ways that the visual web is taking over and creating a truly magical experience for users:
1. Interactive Infographics
The static infographic is changing dramatically. Infographics are now becoming much more interactive and are built into websites using HTML5. Take The Evolution of the Web for example. This infographic lets you explore the evolution of the web in a timeline format according to important dates in the history of the web. Scroll from 1990 and trace the history of internet browsers and the dates when their updates were released.
Additionally, data compiled from the Australian Census is also displayed in a beautiful, interactive manner. This is an awesome initiative by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
2. Animation-Oriented Sites
Cheese Please is an interactive site home to the Cheese Please app available for download at the App Store. The site is complete with a trailer of the game and utilises compelling animated buttons as though you are actually playing the Cheese Please game itself. The alluring and somewhat addictive nature of this page encourages the user to buy the game directly from the page.
3. Interactive ‘Journey’ Websites
I’d like to call these moving HTML5 sites ‘Interactive Journey Websites’ because they have the intention of taking the user on a stimulating visual journey that allows him/her to interact with the screen in a completely different way to static websites.
Save The Arctic is an excellent example of a site that takes the user on an interactive journey. As you scroll down the arctic ‘landscape’ changes and you are taken on a very moving journey which demonstrates how the arctic as we know it is disappearing. The initiative states shocking facts in a compelling interactive manner that allows the user to almost become part of the campaign. An email subscription box on the right-hand side moves with the screen as you continue scrolling, thereby encouraging one to take action and support this worthy cause.
Jan Ploch’s website is another stunning example of a website that takes the user on a journey. Jan Ploch is a German web and graphic designer and uses his site to showcase his design work. The design is of a bottle and straw that becomes emptier and emptier as you scroll down thus conveying the idea of someone drinking from a straw. Inside the bottle are thumbnail examples of Jan’s work as a designer and this entire moving site is basically a visual portfolio that ends with his contact details and a compelling little envelope that reads, “Du Willst Mehr? Nimm Kontakt Auf!” – If you want to learn more, contact him.
summer.tnvacation.com is another ‘visual journey’ site that is particularly beautiful. A little parachutist makes his way from the top of the page where he 'jumps' out of a plane. And as the user scrolls down, the parachutist ‘jumps’ out of the plane towards a body of water where he ‘lands’.
4. 3D Effect Sites
Paris3D Saga is a website that allows you to explore Paris from a breathtakingly beautiful 3D perspective. You’ll learn about each place within the city that you select. Studying history and culture have never been easier!
Zygote Body lets you explore the human body and its intricacies in a completely new 3D way. You can zoom in on certain sections to explore the human body in detail and also learn about the different parts in layers.
5. Image-Oriented Sites
Arizona Guide is definitely the most incredible travel site I’ve ever come across. It offers useful information in a nostalgic and country-inspired design. Its visuals compel one to visit the Grand Canyon and explore this area in depth.
Visit Maine is also a travel site that is effectively designed. The focus on the homepage is on a scrolling banner as well as a video. The background featuring a landscape of Maine sets the scene and makes one feel as though one is already in the vicinity.
Matt Salik’s freelance design site is a stunning site that showcases Matt’s incredible talent as a designer and illustrator. It does this in a visual, Pinterest-inspired way that is no doubt captivating. If you click on each thumbnail image on the site, you’ll be taken to another page with a description of the work Matt has done as well as a link to that particular website he designed.
6. Image-Oriented Ecommerce Stores
Even ecommerce stores are becoming more visual and companies are realising the importance of compelling design and detailed product images. Mammut.ch is one such site that puts you in the sporting perspective immediately. With compelling extreme sports images on the homepage, this mountain and snow sports clothing company focuses on the landscape and the adventure and thrill it offers.
7. Visual Social Networks
Trippy is by far my favourite visually-oriented social network. The site works similarly to Pinterest and allows you to pin images of your favourite places in a scrapbook format. Numerous visually-oriented social networks have started to spring up over the last year and there is definitely a drive towards redesigning already established social media networks in order to make them more visual.
Take My Space for example. The new My Space site aims to be more visual and interactive in nature. Watch the video about the new design here:
8. Interactive Apps
Intel’s Museum of Me utilises your Facebook data to create a stunning video of your social life. It uses photos from your profile as well as other important information to generate a moving video that tells your own unique story.
9. Flash Sites
Flash sites are not new to the web at all but they can be extremely effective if the design is done in a professional, original and interesting manner. For example, We Choose The Moon is a flash site that celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The site makes you feel as though you were there when the launch took place. Watch the countdown to the launch. You’ll even be able to see the mission statuses, detailed information about the launch as well as a whole host of statistical data such as the distance from the earth and velocity of the space craft.
10. Data Visualisation / Data Presentation
Because of the overwhelming increase of information on the web, data visualisation is becoming increasingly important. Data visualisation allows one to view complex data in a more compelling and visual manner and not just as a list of statistics. Journalism has even seen a shift towards data visualisation and making use of statistics in this visual way.
How do you plan to effectively capitalise on the visual web? Tell us in the comment section below.