Has PETA Accidentally Promoted Domestic Violence as well as Veganism?
Models Now Shine on the Catwalk and on Social Media Networks
The Importance of Beautiful Interactive Anchors.
23 Feb 2012
The web can be a wondrous but wandering place at times. In a spiralling carousel of business like the one we are a part of, beauty changes. Beauty gets better, and what was once beautiful becomes dull, disengaging and flat. Users merely expect the beauty of old now, which makes creating modern beauty more challenging. The beauty must now be met with a strong and precise rationale that isn't as fluffy as perhaps we used to get away with.
The web can be a wondrous but wandering place at times. In a spiralling carousel of business like the one we are a part of, beauty changes. Beauty gets better, and what was once beautiful becomes dull, disengaging and flat. Users merely expect the beauty of old now, which makes creating modern beauty more challenging. The beauty must now be met with a strong and precise rationale that isn't as fluffy as perhaps we used to get away with. In this post, which is the first of a series, I will examine an element of online design which I believe to be of particular importance when attempting to create engagement with a user. For this post, I will discuss hover and active states of links and CTAs. For readers who don't really know what I'm babbling on about, a hover state is the state of a button upon rolling over it. The active state is when the button is pressed. Luckily in my first job three years ago, I was taught to use hover states on all buttons, and later on, active states were forcefully implemented upon all preceding buttons on our web builds. I say lucky because it is an often overlooked element of building a website which had been drummed in to me like a 3mm bleed on a brochure from the absolute outset. With some websites, you get one agency designing it and one agency building it so an integral relationship is broken. Who was meant to design these button states? The thing is, I can understand why they are sometimes forgotten. Obviously a lot of the time, the result you'll see is an underline when hovering over a link but personally I don't think it's enough. Normally that means it is simply text in the first place without a line, in which case it is not absolutely obvious that it is a button. Buttons need to look like buttons. Up until recently my rationale was merely to 'make them look nice'. From a project point of view, that is a waste of time. Everyone wants things to look nice but if it doesn't serve an end purpose, you don't really have much of a leg to stand on to create the time needed to create such. However, since being at Epiphany and learning quite a lot more about the SEO value of pieces, conversion has beamed as the practical reason for creating interactive, and dare I say, 'responsive' buttons. I find this highly ironic, given that most raved about 'responsive' sites don't have well-responding buttons. Hover states to me are as important as braille is to a blind person - nobody has any time anymore and they need to know what they're able to interact with. As purveyors of the web, we have to make absolutely sure a user instantly understands what is going on. An active state gives comfort to a user that something is happening. Too often you see users click a site and nothing appears to happen so they click it again. Unfortunately much to their peril, they're actually making the process a whole lot longer than it should be whilst getting irritated at the website and ultimately, the brand. Giving a clear active state, which implies it has been pressed, gives the user the assurance that they have done something. You know how it is when you're on a laptop - sometimes you just don't know if it's done anything. With the snowballing effects we are now capable of executing with modern web technologies, I feel we have an opportunity to bring new and innovative ways of approaching active states because they seem a bit of a dying breed and I'm a little lost as to why. They are important. These two combined create a much better environment for a user, to browse through content and enjoy the experience. They're subtle, very subtle in fact. But I honestly believe they strongly contribute to both time spent on a website, and ultimately, conversion rates. Beauty can be a subtle thing, and this is one of the finest examples I can think of in the entirety of digital marketing. FEATURE: Sites of the month From this month onwards, my blog posts are going to include a little regular feature: my personal favourite pieces of digital work from the past month of viewing. This month, I would like to pay huge credit to three sites which took my breath away: http://captaindash.com/ http://www.underarmour.com http://annasafroncik.it/ Absolutely fantastic work. Enjoy! Please leave your thoughts below or on Twitter - @WengersToyBus