Web design is a fast growing discipline, so it seems like it should be all about pushing boundaries, and making use of new technologies to create original effects. So why is it that so many websites that are otherwise beautifully designed and executed still stick to old, tired techniques? The collaborative and creative possibilities that a few really forward-thinking sites have on offer make any other website feel outdated and stagnant. And not only are they compelling because they're more innovative, but they also are successful because the new types of interactivity encourage a level of audience participation that engages users in ways a static website could never hope to achieve.
Scrolling with Animation
One of the most adaptable ways to add interactivity to any microsite is to create interesting transitions that trigger as the user scrolls down a page. It's a particularly effective method for encouraging a feeling of continuity, so it works well for sites that have a narrative of some sort. But this method can also be adapted to a score of other objectives; it calls for a minimal amount of user participation but ekes out a maximal amount of user satisfaction.
Simplisafe Layered Defense Guide: A perfect example of the type of site that structures compelling information in an easily digestible format through its animation technique.
My Asset Tag microsite: This infographic shows how information displays such as bar graphs are made particularly intriguing by adding even the simplest of animations into the mix.
Quechua Lookbook: This fashion retailer's lookbook shows that parallax and animation techniques can look just as great with photography as they do with illustration.
Probably the best way to up the ante on interactivity is to make a site feel like it's an experience that has been customized to each user. This approach doesn't fit the majority of topics, but it's immensely popular for those that can make it work. And although the pinnacle of this type of site is attained when it is responsive to some kind of input, there are ways to imitate this interaction and still make a site feel like it's tailored to the user.
You vs. John Paulson: A perfect example of how fascinating a site can be when it responds to user input, this interesting infographic puts anyone's income into perspective through a variety of different comparisons with a wealthy foreign trader.
Simply Business CRO Guide: This flowchart employs the aforementioned trick of implied customization, making it feel like a guided journey through the pitfalls of CRO practices. By letting the user choose their path along the page, the site creates a very similar feeling of personal connection, despite the difference in execution.
Sometimes one of the best ways to present information is to let the user make their own choices and go at their own pace. Especially fitting for topics with a lot of data to present, this strategy promotes a sense of investigation that people love to dive into.
The Enlightened Happy Hour: In a spin on this theme that also incorporates elements of the personalization techniques mentioned above, this infographic allows users to explore their drinks of choice from a variety of different criteria.
Deep Time: Another great one-page graphic, rollovers allow users to contextualize their place in time by means of interacting with a clock that shows the span of each age and major evolutionary event on a cosmic scale.
Less easy to pinpoint, but no less popular and intriguing for it, some creative campaigns use interactivity to realize a one-off concept. These sites are less of a learning experience and more of a fun pause in your day, which is a great alternative for an audience or product that is striving for a fun or offbeat online presence.
Concert Hotels iPod visualization: As you can see, interactivity is a great tool for putting concepts that are difficult to visualize into perspective. But you don't have to have an elaborate setup to make this work: one quick click and this site makes its point crystal clear.
Bank of Imagination: A more complex execution, this site acts as a virtual graffiti wall with added sound effects and animations, making it interesting to watch even if you don't explore the messages further.
By allowing users to engage with content on a deeper and more meaningful level, these groundbreaking websites have been able to generate quite enough traffic to justify the added overhead of their clever campaigns. Furthermore, many of the best concepts are evergreen, and continue to generate interest long after their release.