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Why Web Design is Just Like Storytelling

May 3, 2019

It doesn’t matter which part of the world you come from; we’re willing to bet a good amount of money that you’ve had stories narrated to you since you were a child. You see, storytelling happens to be a part of almost every culture on the planet. Things change with time, but storytelling is something that’s likely to stay with us till the very end of existence as we know it.

Stories have been an intrinsic part of human life since we first showed up on this planet. There’s a reason why the practice has never ended. You see, stories are the most effective way in which messages are conveyed to an audience.

So, it’s only natural that we incorporate this practice into our communication strategies. But how do we do this? Well, according to Louis Sullivan, a 20th century architect, form follows function. It is necessary to establish a framework upon which the narrative is built. This leads to a clearer vision and makes it easier to develop the other elements of the story.

This way the best websites work – there’s a story being told through the design. The various elements of a website come together to enhance the message, which is, pretty much, how things work in a traditional story. When and if this occurs, the core idea gets reflected in the user’s experience.

By incorporating storytelling into a website’s design, you can offer a coordinated and smooth user experience.

Let’s look at a few ways in which you can apply the elements of storytelling in web design.

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Segment Your Design

A story is often divided into sections. Typically, there’s a beginning, middle, and end. If we broke it down further, we’d find that there’s an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion.

You can repeat this with your website too. Your introduction is your homepage. It’s probably the first thing that a visitor will see. Your homepage influences the thought process of the visitor in that it lets him/her decision whether or not they should move ahead.

The rising action is every element that leads the visitor to the climax and the further on to the falling action and conclusion.

As you can see, the first few elements have to be extremely engaging to convince the visitor to move forward. The visitor must be persuaded to find out what the final act is. His/her interest must be held.

So, when creating those first few elements, try adding information that may be new to the visitor. This could be unique points about your brand, organization, and product/service. For instance, if you’re selling a drink, talk about how it came into existence. What was the driving factor? Did it happen by accident or did your “founder” or organization have a specific goal?

These interesting story-like elements will go a long way in getting visitors interested.

Divide into Chapters for Simpler Navigation

You have chapters in a book or novel because they help break the story down into smaller and “easy to digest” parts. They also help indicate that the story is moving into newer realms. Navigation serves the same purpose for a website. It allows visitors to understand content easier instead of being overwhelmed by it all at once. The visitor can skip parts and move onto more relevant topics.

So, to deliver the best through navigation, make sure it is streamlined. Don’t give out too many options and let each page offer its own distinct path. However, each page must lead to the ultimate climax or action. The action here can be filling out a contact form or simply buying the product.

A CTA or “Call to Action” plays an important role here.

Use Mascots

Mascots have been used to represent brands since forever. They serve an interesting purpose in that they personify the brand and bring it to life. If your brand has a mascot, we suggest you make the most of it. Nothing like a brand mascot to tell your story.

An excellent example of this would be what Axure Software Solutions does on its website. The brand uses its mascot to narrate its stories. The mascot, known as UX Man, shows up at multiple points on the screen and offers extra bits of information humorously and engagingly.

In fact, on the company website’s homepage, the mascot plays the role of the protagonist in a short story that highlights the importance of user experience design.

Connect Words and Visuals

Visuals are a significant part of web design. In this day and age, you just cannot survive with textual content only. Visual content is of the utmost importance. Having said that, you need to learn to do more with the visual content you use.

One important thing is to connect your images with words to deliver a clearer picture. Visuals can be exploited in many ways, creatively speaking. They offer a whole lot more opportunities for creative expression than just text

Add high-quality images wherever appropriate and necessary. Choose images that are relevant to what you’re saying. As stated earlier, there needs to be a connection. Place the images or videos in a way that corresponds to the position of the textual content.

For instance, you can add images of all the founders in the “About Us” page. Highlight each one of them against their description. Let the audience be aware of who they are and how they contribute to the organization.

Develop a Personality

Every brand has a personality. If you don’t have one, you need to develop. But make sure this personality goes with your brand. Ideally, your brand persona should be relatable to your audience and even mimic them.

The goal is for visitors to connect with the brand and see a bit of themselves in it. So, take the time to develop personas for your audience and website. Then, come up with a story that matches. The tone and the voice of your story must go with the persona.

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