The difference between a good designer and a brilliant designer is that the former is happy to create a user-friendly website that does its job and fulfils expectations; but the latter is determined to go further and introduce an element of delight.

In the context of web design delight is defined as any positive emotional effect a website or application may engender in the user. This doesn’t necessarily mean finding a way to get website visitors to clap, laugh or shout “fantastic!” when they’re using the website. A delightful website experience can be much more subtle, aimed at influencing the site visitors’ behaviour and opinions.

A great web designer wants to succeed at wooing the users, so that they are delighted enough to want to stick around on the site, engage with it, come back and visit it again, and literally fall in love with the company or individual behind the site, enough to remember the brand and want to embrace it.

In other words, the most delightful and profitable websites are those with the “wow factor”.

DESIGNING TO DELIGHT

The theory definitely makes sense, and undoubtedly you’d want a wow of a website for your business. But how can it be achieved? Too much of the fun factor and you could over-shadow functionality and the all-important user trust quotient that comes with providing familiar, traditional experiences.

When it comes to designing to delight, the idea is to step up the impact of the website by degrees. Firstly it should be designed in such a way as to offer the users the experiences they expect from a business website, without any frustrations or annoyances.

At the base level a proficient designer wants to ensure the website is functional, satisfies a need and is useful. Magnificent aesthetics and great gimmicks are meaningless unless the website works reliably, enabling visitors to discover and use its features without too much effort. This means clear calls to action, and concise, relevant information.

Getting the functionality, usability and reliability level in order is crucial because users tend to remember what’s bad more than what’s good about a website; trying to ice over faulty functionality with pleasurable delights won’t disguise the flopped cake beneath.

BELLS AND WHISTLES

With the basic site down pat, and the look and feel established, the designer can turn his/her attention to adding some of the bells and whistles that might add to the delight of the user. These can range from animations and videos to “skeuomorphisms” such as page-turning effects. There are dozens of elements at the designer’s disposal to make browsing a site a pleasurable personal experience, and artifices that can introduce hidden surprises to add fun and intrigue.

The art of great design is to gauge how many gimmicks and tricks to use, and which to use, so that they enhance rather than overwhelm the site’s basic purpose. There is always the danger of making a site appear tacky, which will damage its credibility and trustworthiness, and potentially damage the brand rather than add to its delightfulness.

Adding delight to a website is like giving users an unexpected treat. Designers need to be thoughtful and innovative when deciding to add little experiences to a website that will make users smile, and come back for more.

Dentons Digital has collected together a remarkable group of website designers and developers who instinctively know how to delight your targeted audience with a well-balanced website that works for you.

Call or email today to discuss how we can build you a website designed to delight.

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