User interaction and retention is one tough job webmasters, site owners, bloggers and marketers has to face. To make all things work properly, you have to think out of the box and to adopt or invent new ways of gathering traffic to your website and then make them stick to your website for any reason. In order to make all these things happen, gamifying your website is also a good option. While not new in the market, gamifying any website is still one the best tricks to capture and hold your website traffic. So, are you in to gamify your website?
According to a report released by the Entertainment Software Association in 2015, 42% of people living in the U.S. play video games at least three hours every week. Michael D. Gallagher, the president and CEO of ESA, added that:
Video games are ingrained in our culture. Driven by some of the most innovative minds in the tech sector, our industry’s unprecedented leaps in software and hardware engages and inspires our diverse global audience.
OK, so it’s important to take note of that statistic since it means that nearly half of all people are already well-acquainted with gameplay. If you drill down even further into the ESA’s research, you’ll find more information on who exactly these game players are. For example, the average gamer’s age is 35 and there’s a fairly even split between the sexes (56% male, 44% female).
Gamification can be fun, educational, drive loyalty, boost brand recognition, and do a whole lot more for a WordPress website. It’s just important not to overdo it. Gamification needs to be memorable for the value it adds, and not just because you created a diversion someone can use for a couple minutes before getting back to work.
With that said, let’s talk about some practical ways you can add gamification features to your own website.
One of the benefits in playing videos games is the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals as they explore the same landscape and universe as you. Some games even allow you to join forces and form your own virtual team, despite never having met one another in real life. If your website has a large community that would benefit from collaboration and communication, forming a membership service and community would be a great way to encourage that same team-like atmosphere.
If you’re interested in creating a community, check out BuddyPress, a free social networking plugin for WordPress.
With the right animation, you can keep visitors engaged as they wait for a page to load. Those same type of transitional animations work really well for gamification. Obviously, no one wants to sit and wait for a game (or website) to buffer, but with a short and entertaining enough animation, you may increase the likelihood that visitors stick around longer.
Check out PACE for free automatic page load process bar themes.
Further building on that idea of creating a community, if you want to take it an extra step and reward members with points, you can use a plugin like myCRED to do so. For the most part, this plugin focuses on helping users devise points systems and manage visitors’ points accumulation on their WordPress website. Purchase rewards, badges, games, and other related features are available through this tool as well.
Most video games will usually give you a quick overview of how to use the controller in order to navigate your way through the game. Think of tooltips in the same way. While your goal should always be to create an intuitive pathway from entry to conversion, sometimes it’s helpful to add quick tips to keep your visitors moving along.
Now, if what you’re looking for is a wholly comprehensive membership rewards gamification tool, then Captain Up is what you’ll want. This tool comes chock-full of gamification features like badges, levels, trophies, points, currencies, and rewards. You can also use this to manage communication with your community and to promote and reward visitors for engaging with your brand on social media.
Want to follow in the footsteps of websites like BuzzFeed and provide visitors with additional entertainment or educational value? Create quizzes, polls, and surveys to keep them engaged and give you an opportunity to gain additional insights about what more they’d like to see from you. Check out Opinion Stage’s 4-in-1 plugin solution for this.
There are millions of websites live on the internet, and you must be one proud web site owner. But due to the very similar look web sites having these days, the original look of any website is lost somewhere and there are very few things you can actually do to make them unique or let’s say make them stand out of the league. Adding illustrated web designs is definitely one on the list of those few things which can actually help you in giving your site that out of the league look.
Today, I’d like to share with you ten unique, fantastic websites that incorporate illustrated images into the design to make them most illustrated web designs. Some do this with simple PNG and JPEG files, while others use Flash in order to make the page interactive. I hope you enjoy the list.
Hugs For Monsters is the homepage of designer and illustrator Joe Lifrier. The top of each page has a unique colorful drawing that showcases his unique style of illustrations.
The Great Bearded Reef is a sharp design that was created for the self-proclaimed “bearded one” Josh Willis in order to apply for the position of “Island Caretaker” in Australia.
At the bottom of the Pieoneers design is an illustrated ice cream character smiling on the moon while sitting aboard a spaceship with a fruit-filled pie on top. I have no idea what the connection is between space and ice cream, but the design highly creative and definitely unique.
Arguably the cutest website on the web, Meomi has an interactive design that will make anyone smile. Whenever you scroll over the outside of the design (that is powered by Flash), something happens. For example, the little animal on the right side of the page will play his banjo, and the nearby piano will play piano music.
This is one of the most original personal websites I have ever seen. Every area of the website can be viewed by interacting with the objects on the home page. Alternatively, you can navigate the site by clicking on the AB logo at the top left corner of the design to make a traditional navigation menu appear. From the clock on the wall that tells the actual time to the music player that lets you play around with beats and sounds, Alex Buga’s website is a fun website to visit and a great example of what he can do.
Platin features a colorful, interactive Flash-based illustration that was used to promote a new apartment block. The transitions from one section to another are beautiful.
The K4 Lab website has been featured on many design lists over the last few years (and rightly so). It remains as a great example of how Flash can complement a website design rather than hinder it.
A hilarious website that looks at the many faces of Lenonardo Dicaprio, the Goonies, John Cusack, and Alan Rickman. Each section contains a large illustration in the header, as well as illustrated images throughout the content area.
A fantastic illustration of three designers sitting under a pear tree.
Deborah Cavenaugh’s homepage looks more like a painting than a web design. The colorful aspects blend into the content area, most notably with the painted search button in the top right corner.
Every day many websites are going live with as many design concepts, we encounter some of the best designs we have ever seen and on the other the hand, sometimes we come across so silly designed websites that prove to be a coffin for that website. Any new visitor coming to that particular website will found himself lost and will abandon the website with that kind of design. So, now the big question is how should we design our website or what are the most common web design mistakes web designers make?
Building a website can be daunting but the real challenge lies in making it usable. The problem is most web designers forget that the website wasn’t created for themselves but to solve the users’ needs. They give creativity priority over practicality and usability.
Let’s see some,
Out of many mistakes that we may or may not have seen, we are going to talk out the most blunderous mistake web designers do.
The web is like an archive of information. Whether it’s a corporate website or merely a blog, a search box is essential. The visitor might be looking for something that is hidden within the website, with the search box, chances are, visitors will get what they want.
Suggestions: Google Custom Search is a neat, simple and effective way to get started. It enables visitors to search your site in an efficient manner. Just copy the HTML code from the control panel and paste it into your website and that’s it, you’ve got a search function right on your website.
This is a crucial element of web design. Of course, a good interface design will grab the users’ attention but users have to read the text to be able to grasp the information they desire. Some websites use the most bizarre font styles and sizes that make reading a pain.
Suggestions: Fortunately, there are simple ways that you can do to improve the users’ reading experience on your website.
A website’s content is what drives traffic to it. How the content is structured is what will make it a success or a failure. Users do not read unless absolutely necessary but scan through information and pick out points of interest on a web page. Some designers just put a block of text on the web page and totally neglect headings, sub-headings, bullets, keywords, paragraphs, etc.
Use an appropriate page title for each web page so users know exactly where they are. Some designers even forget to name the web page.
Overall, the worst in this category will be putting inaccurate, inaccessible, insignificant or out-of-date content on your website. The content must coincide with the overall theme of the website and be useful. If a page is under construction, why bother putting it up? If a designer really must, then it is only temporary and 3 weeks will no longer be deemed temporary.
Suggestions: Organize content on your website using HTML and CSS should be used when creating the design of your pages.
Navigation within a website should be seamless. Users should be able to find their way around easily. While there is no standard for navigation within a website, especially now as more new web development technologies emerge, it is imperative to understand that navigation must be intuitive and consistent.
If the text is used as navigation, it should be concise. Visual metaphors should not be re-invented. If hyperlinks are used, then they should stand out from the body of the text. Dead links should have no place on any web page whatsoever. This increases user confusion and wastes time. And one that is even just as worse is having a link on the homepage that links to the homepage.
Remember, if users can’t find what they want in less than 3 clicks, most will leave immediately.
Excessive creativity can be just that. Excessive! Some designers take it to another level when creating websites by creating different designs for every web page within a website. This is by no means confusing to the user. And utterly annoying. No matter how outstanding and attractive a website is, if the overall look and feel is not consistent, users cannot relate to it and feel less in control. Thus, leaving as soon as they arrived.
I’m sure we’ve visited websites where you have to scroll horizontally. This is an absolute no-no in modern web design. A good designer will develop websites that fit on most screen sizes. The currently optimized layout for websites currently is 1024 x 768 pixels.
Suggestions: It’s hard and almost impossible to cater the design to fit every resolution especially when visitors are now surfing from mobile phones and netbooks, but we can get a rough idea what are the generally used screen resolutions with these following ways:
Registration forms are tricky. How much information do you require from the user? Gone are the days where a user had to enter a zillion details to register to your website. Some websites make most registration fields mandatory and validate the fields to the extent where the user is frustrated after a few tries. Remember, users, visit a website to acquire information. Not the other way round.
Someecard‘s simple form makes registration painless.
Suggestions: Compare registration forms across communities on the web and understand what basic information is required of the user during the registration process.
More: 9 Common Usability Mistakes In Web Design – This post on Smashing Magazine takes an in-depth look at registration forms amongst other usability mistakes.
Too many images on a web page is a huge turn-off. Images can be used to capture users’ attention but it can also be a distraction or just plain aggravating. Images should be used to illustrate and guide the user where appropriate.
Animations are awesome and a powerful medium. Especially when used appropriately. When it’s a cycle or just too much on a web page, it gets on the users’ nerves. Users don’t have the patience, time or resources so designers must offer alternatives or better yet, the skip button if it’s a full page animation.
More: Flash: 99% Bad – Use Flash appropriately. It’s been almost 10 years since Jakob Nielsen published this article but it’s still relevant in terms of Flash usability especially the Breaks Web Fundamentals piece.
Too many designers forget about whitespace and its importance. They are so engulfed in their own design creativity that they forget that it’s not about them. Thus, they try to cram as much as they can onto a single page. End result? A busy, cluttered and unreadable page.
kylestanding make good use of whitespace in their design.
Here are few articles to give you a good idea of the importance of whitespace in web design:
Users don’t want cool, they seek efficiency. And yes, 99 percent don’t care about the music on your website. Some designers make it worse by putting different background music on every web page.
Suggestions: Don’t use background music, but if you must, create a frame for the code and user controls. That way, the music loops continuously, instead of changing each time a new page is loaded within the website. And the user can stop or pause whenever.
K.I.S.S is the bottom line, oh I meant Keep It Simple, Stupid. And that is actually what people are liking most in a website, if it is simple, it’s easily usable.
Hope you have gained much of insight on common web design mistakes.