Remember when mom always told you to eat your vegetables? Little did you know she was giving you fantastic advice for managing your Web strategy. In these days of Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs and more, it can be tempting to skip over the basics and dive headfirst into an oh-so-tempting dish of social media or SEO "tricks."
As a designer, have you ever had to work on a project such as an annual report, brochure or even a blog post that contained a lot of data?
Many designers are handed documents which contain tables of snore-inducing information with the expectation that they shine it up a bit—something akin to Extreme Makeover: Data Edition. The solution is to visualize this information in an attractive format by employing charts and graphs.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about strategies for engaging your visitors. In it, I expanded on four different techniques to keep visitors to your website engaged and active. One of the strategies was using virtual rewards and status — also known as game mechanics (or funware) — to increase website engagement.
Websites and applications like FourSquare, StackOverflow and Farmville all use game mechanics to attract and retain users. Even not-so-obvious websites like eBay and Yelp! have aspects of game mechanics baked in to the functionality.
Social media distinguishes itself from less versatile interactive mediums of the past like print and traditional advertising by giving life to the Intelligent User.
This modern distinction is often misunderstood by web developers and under-appreciated by users because the power of choice is a novel distinction.
It didn’t exist in previous mediums. In marketing, for example, consumers are used to the old paradigm where they listen passively and marketers tell them what to think. The interaction only moves in one direction.
Engaging your visitors (audience, community, users, members, customers, or whichever term you prefer) should be your top priority. Plain and simple. Engagement is all about maximizing the value of your audience – increasing the frequency they return to the site, the tendency to tell their friends and the probability of them making a purchase.
In other words, you need to be creating value for as many visitors as possible.
The About page—just about every single website has one. The About page is where site users go to learn more about the site they’re on. If you want to convert visitors to users, capture opportunities to work with people, and give your regular users a deeper appreciation of what your site does, a well written About page is your ticket.