Web design improves at a rapid pace. More and more new ideas and solutions are available every year. Therefore, as a designer, you should truly take your time to learn the features each type of design offers. One of the more exciting ways of making websites is implementing interactive web design. It offers the user the full digital experience and engages him or her to connect on a more personal level. However, as with everything else, there are two sides to this story. So before you decide to apply this approach, make sure that you first understand the pros and cons of interactive web design.
Web Design Technologies and Strategies
Website development requires a lot of different technologies and strategies. When building websites or apps, there are two main approaches you can take – human-centered design and UX centered design. Nevertheless, whichever approach you decide to take, you can always make them static and interactive.
The static environment represents a website that allows the user to browse its content in a well-known pattern whereas with an interactive environment, you are actually engaging the user with the website. There are plenty of beautifully-made interactive websites. Some examples of this include APPS, Webflow, and Cyclemon websites. Hence, if you ever need some inspiration on how to create an interactive website, be sure to check them out!
The Pros of Interactive Web Design
You will notice that many advantages of interactive web design can be implemented using the static approach. However, they create a completely different experience for the user. Interactive web design is more often used for educational, business, and entertainment purposes. As such, it can offer valuable data.
1) It engages the customer
Interactive web design keeps your customers occupied and engaged with the website. It allows for a higher form of communication, where the customer must do more than just browse your website. On top of that, customers can leave comments to let you know how their experience was. By analyzing this data, you can use it as a means to work on necessary improvements.
2) The experience is more personal
When a user is asked a few simple personal questions, that web experience reaches a whole other level. It creates a feeling of someone actually being there on the other side and communicating with you. That differs a lot from static websites, where you can just browse the content that is pretty much always the same.
3) It allows you to better target your audience
When you are creating a website, think about your targeted audience. Even though you are shifting your focus towards a specific sector, not all clients will be interested in the same things. What’s great about an interactive approach is that it allows you to make that selection process even more specific and shows clients only a narrow field of their interest.
4) An improvement in the gaming industry
Another benefit of interactive web design is that you can create games that can be played online. It allows your customers to not only connect with you but with their friends as well.
5) It allows for a fantastic learning experience
Interactive websites are excellent for learning. They increase your concentration and focus, and as such, they make your learning experience better. This is especially important for young students. Essentially, interactive websites enable kids to learn how to communicate with digital technology.
6) Online shopping development
Online shops are one of the major components of 90% of websites today. The interactive web design makes online shopping much easier as it provides more options to your customers.
7) Interactive websites are easy to update
If you have a static website made from scratch, you must rely on your programmer to make the changes you want to see. However, with interactive technology, you can easily make updates yourself, even without any knowledge of IT.
8) It allows a multitude of options
Having a website that operates on a server-client and client-server side creates opportunities. It allows a multitude of options that a static website generally lacks. By using databases, you can provide both a finer digital experience for your customers while also collecting data from these users.
Know When to Use Interactive Web Design
Although interactive web design may look nice, you should only use it when you really need it. Some of the examples where you can definitely implement interactive web design include:
That’s where it really shows its usability.
The Cons of interactive web design
I am sure that at this point, interactive web design may seem like such a fantastic idea to you. However, let’s look at some of the reasons why you should have second thoughts when considering this approach.
1) It uses flash
The majority of interactive websites uses flash technology. Even though the options you get with flash may sound convincing, the truth is that it is slowly becoming obsolete. A study has showed that flash technology had web usage of over 80%. About ten years ago you would likely find it on almost any website. However, nowadays its usage has dropped below 17%.
As a result, Google decided to make it obsolete and remove flash completely from Google Chrome by the end of the year 2020. With that in mind, all interactive websites that are based on flash technology will no longer work in the years to come. Hence, you will have to find a different approach.
2) It is complicated, and it costs more
Creating interactive websites is an exciting task, but it requires a lot more time and effort than people expect. Most of all, it is expensive. Today, you can have a nice-looking static website for just under $100. Thus, if you are on a short budget, interactive web designs may not be the optimal choice.
3) Users’ negative comments can harm your reputation
Keep in mind that when you allow users to interact and communicate with you by leaving comments on your website, this can have both positive and negative impacts on your business. While you can surely use that feedback to improve your website’s features, it can also play a role in harming your online reputation since those comments will be visible for everyone to see.
4) Interactive websites can glitch
Once you have a finalized product, everything will look good. However, the road until you reach that point can be quite rocky. An interactive website allows your users to make inputs, which can sometimes lead to errors if not done correctly. Since there is no fixed number of pages, this can cause unforeseen issues that will need be dealt with before your website can properly function again.
5) Interactive websites take more time to load
A static website loads much faster. The benefit of having a fixed number of pages is that it always loads in the same timeframe. However, as an interactive website is full of animations, this will delay loading and your users might be frustrated with that.
6) Re-design becomes much more complicated
If you decide to re-design or change your website, this will be harder on so many levels. Depending on what you wish to update or remove, the process might be exponentially harder. Also, keep in mind that in order to successfully update your website, you will need someone with a lot of skills and experience in reading and analyzing complicated codes.
7) Optimization for the mobile environment
Today it is a standard that every website is optimized for a mobile environment. When it comes to static websites, that is a piece of cake. Responsive design makes everything easier, and the code is much simpler to work with.
However, with interactive web design, you must think carefully about the usability. Not all options will look and be used the same way on PC and on mobile. With that in mind, some of the options that require more space will have to be removed or completely changed in order to adapt to the smaller size of mobile screens.
Static websites only have server-to-client communication, and they don’t use database connectivity. On the other hand, interactive websites are the complete opposite. For this reason, security might be compromised.
Furthermore, they also use a lot of queries when communicating with databases. Server-side programming like PHP, JSP, Asp.NET, etc. allows for great versatility, but it also comes with its share of disadvantages as well.
Do you need an interactive web design?
Ask yourself if you really need an interactive web design. Bear in mind that you are essentially creating a digital experience for your users. Although it may look amazing and can provide many options, if you don’t really need it, it can simply be a waste of time, money, and space.
Your users might get frustrated when interacting with the website, especially if it doesn’t really get them anything that they otherwise wouldn’t have received from a static website.
The Pros and Cons of Interactive Web Design Made Easy
There are many ups and downs when it comes to the application of this approach. Personally, I like interactive web designs, but as a programmer, I know the level of skills and knowledge it requires to successfully implement it. So, to sum it all up:
- You can target the audience more easily
- Interactive websites provide valuable feedback, but can also be harmful for your online reputation
- Users are provided with more engaging options, however the creation process is complicated and costly
- User experience is enhanced, but the load time and browsing will require more time
- Server-side programming allows for more features, but this simultaneously creates security issues
- Flash technology is being removed from the online experience
Hopefully, you now have achieved better understanding of the pros and cons of interactive web design.