Creating Websites that Connect

There is something sterile and safe about the gray, square “Next” button. It does everything it needs to do in order to fulfill its duties in the User Interface. It indicates what it does, it provides the metaphor of a button to indicate it is an actionable item, and it certainly does navigate the user to the next step or page. The ever dependent, diligent, dry, drab, dull “Next” button. cools your jets trying to get to information it doesn’t have yet, but in a really disarming way.

What a waste of possible user interaction, though! I think we can do better than that in this age of heightened user expectations from their web experience. More and more, the best designed websites and applications take into account an emotional connection – be it humor, whimsy, or even merely a conversational tone. is an oft-cited example of emotional design done just right. Not just “Learn More,” but “Need Convincing?” Not just “Features” but, “We’ve got tons of features.” There is a multitude of ways, from graphics to copy, that opens up to its users.

What if instead of “Next” that button said something more personable, like “To the Next Step” or perhaps something with even more character like “Ok, Now What?” with an arrow icon? The Devil of great User Interface design is in the details. After the basic functions of a user interface are established, it’s time to break out the polish and really look at how you can better engage customers through emotional design.

Of course, there is always a risk with emotive design. If you didn’t do a good job in pinning down the target audience in

Skype’s little easter egg lets you know that it is displeased with your typeface choice.

the discovery phase of the web’s development, you could wind up playing on the wrong emotions of the wrong audience. But the rewards are tangible. Decreased bounce rates and better retention because users want to explore and engage the site. Convincing stockholders in the website’s design that exposing the image of the client to a little risk is a monumental task, but in a world where we expose our own personalities

to the public through social media outlets every day, it’s not crazy to expect our websites to expose some personality too. If you’re interested, you can read more about Emotional Interface Design complete with great examples here at Smashing Magazine and here at Think Vitamin