When creating a website you need to find a balance between conveying information and providing an experience.
With a more informational website you rely on simple navigation and structure to help users find what they need. With a more experiential website, users are often guided in certain directions and presented with a framed story or argument, often in the form of rich content such as video, photography, and animations.
Experiential websites can be exciting and visually striking, but they’re only effective if all the rich content helps to accomplish a business goal. With the following 2 examples, we see websites that are not only well design and full of engaging animations, but also have an obvious goal that’s reached through the user experience.
This website, built to tell stories of social and cultural improvements in New Orleans’ post-Katrina communities, is rich with video, looping images and audio journalism that make the experience feel more like a documentary than a website. But unlike a real documentary, this website allows viewers to move through at their own pace and pick specific content sections to focus on. This type of digital experience is the perfect choice for a business or organization that wants to tell multiple, multi-layered stories all in one space.
This website is proof that we’re living in a truly innovative time for advertising. The Dutch banking institution ING wanted to promote themselves as an innovative institution that uses data to improve the way people bank. What did they do to convey this mission? They gathered enough data to enable a machine to remake a famous Rembrandt painting, then they made an interactive website to promote the effort, followed by a mini-documentary as a case study for the campaign. Those are three major attention grabbers and examples of immersive content all conveying the same message: ING innovates through data.
There’s a range of content that can be used to create an experience for your audience as well as different ways to string it together.
As always, there needs to be a balance between engaging features and useful information. A boring website won’t encourage users to dig for more information, and an overdone, complex website won’t allow for users to get the information they need. The purpose of your website will dictate what kind of mix you need.