Honk If You Loved Your Web Site Experience

When I decided to teach myself HTML in 1995, I did what many others did back then. We studied source code by copying and dismantling what someone else did. In those days, there was only one background color – gray. Creativity felt limited, but that didn’t last long.

Today, there’s no end to what web designers can do. If you can imagine it, someone is inventing a way to do it. The pace is fast. We call it things like Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. What excites me is that the quiet pioneers in emotional design (captology) are more visible these days. I’ve long felt we can do more than static, one dimensional web pages. Internet users rely on the ‘Net for so much that usage is an extension of our selves. Many people need the ‘Net and demand it to enrich their lives.

More and more people approach web sites expecting to feel something from the experience. This is where we’re going. This is what’s next with software application design and web page presentations.

Social media plays a part in our expectations and our interest in experiences that touch us. Video games, online video sharing and virtual Internet worlds also opened our eyes not only to what we can do to satisfy ourselves, but made us want more. Whether you noticed it or not, what you feel while using a web site matters. How you respond to it matters. You can vote. You can comment. You can recommend. You may find yourself loyal to certain web sites because of how you feel when you’re interacting with them. They may make you feel content. Happy. Safe. Included.

I think Flash is going to find itself in more and more web sites, and developers who teach themselves how to make Flash pages and scripts accessible will be setting the stage for greater adaptation of web site usage by a wider range of people. Personalization is going to become specialized and eventually, individualized based on, again, how we feel about our experience.

As content producers, some companies will want to cause experiences. They’ll learn to create reaction.

Influencing the customer experience through the internet by Mona Patel, executive director at Human Factors International, discusses emotion and trust, and how these influence our decisions and choices on the Web. She writes,

Whatever a site’s conversion goal, it is now more about people than product or services.

How do you design to reach out and touch someone? How do you test to see if you have done so? What types of web sites may want to explore emotional connections and trigger reactions that convert?

Health care sites, beauty (hair, skin, weight), dating, clothing, jewelry, non-profit charity organizations…are just a few. I like to take the ideas and apply them to harder situations, such as furniture sites, educational institutions or food. Anything we search for in a search engine can be found. But getting us to choose, commit, try, buy, recommend, or get in the car and drive to the store takes more than playing with color contrasts, table-less CSS and long shopping cart processes.

Do you make purchase decisions based on a certain “something” that’s kind of undefined but you know it when you feel it?

That’s what fascinates me. Designers and developers are learning how to inspire us.

Here’s another article that may inspire you…

Monday Inspiration: User Experience Of The Future

Below we present some of the outstanding recent developments in the field of user experience design. Most techniques may seem very futuristic, but they are reality. And in fact, they are extremely impressive. Keep in mind: they can become ubiquitous over the next years.

5 thoughts on “Honk If You Loved Your Web Site Experience”

  1. Flash has a long way to go before it is ready for everyday use. Yes a flash sections looks “cool.” The websites even function “cool.” The real test is load time, search engine optimization, standardization of usability, and most important working in everyone’s browser.

    If you want my opinion it is something of the past and hard to edit, manage, and a giant waste of time for something that is pretty.

    Flash “ain’t” the answer. Especially in a 6 second conversion world.

    Great Article though.

  2. While nearly everyone on the planet would agree with you, they do so because Flash developers rarely take the steps to optimize for SE’s, browsers and accessibility.

    This is unfortunate, esp. with Adobe’s CS3 Flash Pro now on the market, and their latest versions of Flash Player, which are being developed for those who use assistive technology to use the web.

    There’s a tendency to invent technologies and software that leap out ahead, intended to do something awesome and turn heads. And then, out of demand, requirements or even laws in some countries, they return to the drawing board to make it work for everybody or for broader uses.

    Adobe has started to do this with Flash.

  3. Kim, I think you’re right about the future of flash. Car companies know how to use flash with taste, style, and usefulness. They hire the best web designers in the business. I can’t even imagine how much they pay for that level of quality craftsmanship. Their sites are art must be produced by teams that include real artists.

  4. Flash can be used, with effort, to create very inviting user experiences that are also intelligent and data-based. However, most sites do not do this. The high-end sites, with expensive and successful products to sell, usually do it rather well, although some are still in the process of moving that way.

    More important, I want to agree with the theme of the article… we all would like to have a certain feeling when using a site, although the expectation is different for a retailer site than for a dedicated social networking site. As a Web developer I am still experimenting with how to get that feeling – as the author says, how do you get visitors not only to come to the site (done) but to comment, vote, share with friends, and come back again and again in the future.

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