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Story Telling Tricks to Integrate in Your Web Design

Much like with a good book, a good website should be able to capture your attention from the first page and skillfully manage to maintain it throughout your entire visit.

The rules of story telling are simple and can easily be applied when creating and designing your website. All you have to keep in mind are the basic elements you unconsciously follow when recounting a funny experience to your friends or when sharing an interesting tale with your family.

Here are some of the main objectives you should keep in mind.

Hook Interest.

Some of the greatest books ever written can have the reader engaged and wanting more from the first sentence, because this first interaction is instantly memorable. Think of Tolkien’s The Hobbit with ‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit’, or of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan All children, except one, grow up.’ or even Jane Austen’s Pride and prejudice with ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.’ Naturally, the list could go on, but I think you get the gist of it.

Most people know these sentences without ever having read the book and here’s what you should do in order for people to know your website without ever having visited it: make your first page memorable. Use a grid style gallery with interesting pictures, choose a funny or charismatic mascot to welcome visitors or go for a cartoon theme that is engaging and amusing to interact with. Remember how important first impressions are and don’t let this chance go to waste.

1

Natural flow.

A good book has a swift pace and knows how to keep your interest piqued throughout its length. Think of how well Dan Brown’s books have been received on the international market, they are constantly throwing new information at you and they always keep you wanting more, but they do this in a smooth and seamless fashion.

Therefore, think through the flow of your website and make sure that there are no parts of it where your user might loose interest and check that the way one page relates to another is natural and easy to understand. One way to do this easily is by employing tools like parallax scrolling that help you make sure that the flow of information on your website is continuous and engaging.

2

Make it personal.

A very well know and very, very used trick among authors is to ‘write what you know’. Adding personal experiences can give your story that extra something that will help put it on the map. The way authors relate to their readers feels more intimate this way and they end up feeling more attached to the book.

In order to achieve this with your website, you have to give your visitors a way to relate to you. Give your website a face. Try to add a picture of you and your team if you have a business or showcase yourself while performing if you’re an artist. Let your visitors have a small insight into the values and mottos of your business or make a section with previous clients reviews. Truly, any little thing that can make your website a bit more relatable will go a long way.

3

Climactic points.

Cliffhangers. I cannot stress how important cliffhangers are. Take, for instance, Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, at the ending of one of the books, his main characters fall into hell, at the beginning of the next book he tells his writers: ‘To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really, HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys’. And the guy isn’t lying. The way he structured his books and his endings leaves his readers constantly wanting more. I mean, personally, I went online to preorder the next book the instant I read the last word of the previous one.

Keep this in mind when developing your website. Yes, you always have to make sure it’s interesting, but also choose some focal points that will draw your visitor’s attention and use them to communicate what you think is most important. However, don’t overuse them. If you set too many focus points in your website, your visitor’s attention will be divided and he’ll navigate away from your page feeling confused and without retaining any information.

4

Beginning to end structure.

Stories have a very clear structure: beginning, contents and ending. They give readers a full range of emotions throughout a whole journey.

Likewise, your website must be intelligently structured in order to give your visitors the sense of complete information. This is a tricky part when you think of your design, because you have to take into account the fact that users consume information differently and you have to be able to provide them with a structure that will fulfill their every need. Again, it is vital that you never let your visitors leave your website with a sense of confusion and incomplete information. Try your best to give every page complete information on the topic it presents, be it your portfolio, contact section or start page.

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In the end, even though storytelling and web design might seem two completely disjoint subjects, they do share some common points that concern capturing and maintaining reader’s attention. It’s useful for web designers and developers to learn some tricks from writers and try to use them as best they can when creating new websites. Always keep in mind that relating to your readers is vital and that writers have been at it for quite some time, so they know a thing or two about it.

Anamaria

I read, I write, I sleep.

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