Storytelling in web design?
Designing a website has been changing through the years. Ever since the technology began to change, a design was following the process. A design was always a follower. For whatever is changing design process is adapting. And the change is constant. Really the only constant in everything. Ever.
So, what does this have to do with storytelling? That is exactly the beginning of the story we are trying to tell you. As humans, we are naturally driven to stories. We remember something if it makes sense and if it’s shown in a context. We don’t remember if it’s just a non-connected bunch of words or numbers. It needs to have a meaning, a story behind it. And if it’s also interesting, we’re certain that we’ll remember it for a long time.
We use websites as information holders but also as a marketing tool. Even some say that social networks are replacing websites, we don’t think they’ll ever be replaced entirely. You can’t really show your style or your passion just with something like a Facebook page. They all look the same, only the content is different. Most users won’t read everything you post so they can get to know you or what you do. On the other hand, if you have a website that amazes users just on the entrance, they are most likely to stay on the page a little longer. If you also keep them interested in a story you’re trying to tell them they are most likely to stay until the end and remember it later.
There comes the point of our story now. Even all websites should have stories to tell or show, what we are trying to accomplish is focus on the point behind the website.
The reason we made it and why we think it’s the best thing we can offer the users. We want a website to have all the information user has come to see but also a real presentation of the website owner, or project he’s presenting. We want the website to have a soul. Not to be just another WordPress theme. So we include storyline, characters and movement controlled by the viewer. We make it interactive animation.
So, now that we know what we are trying to accomplish, all we need is to get that information from our clients and make magic. That’s where it gets tricky. Even if it seems easy and banal it becomes pretty complicated understanding what the client wants and, even more important, what he needs.
Working on a different project we had an opportunity to see so many different kinds of requests and problems. Also, we couldn’t always see the best-fitting solution right away, so we needed to dig deeper. Depending on a client communication it was not always easy to catch the point. Not all the clients know their reasons for wanting something. Sometimes they think they know but really are focusing on wrong ones, especially when we are talking about design modifications. So, explaining design thinking to clients really makes a big difference in building their story. Because of that, making sure the client knows his story is number one step in designing the solution we’ll present to the audience.
After we know all the main information, we have to establish basic points of the story line. Then we create some ideas for its visual presentation, create storyboards in a few different ways and develop ideas as we go. After that, we focus on maintaining the client’s style and brand. We try to establish a color palette, typography, and main characters look. Add textual content if needed and design the movement.
Doing websites this way makes it more interesting for everyone. It’s fun and it’s completely customized. It’s almost like someone made a movie about you. Just shorter, and much simpler.
Even this approach is most commonly used by something similar to portfolio pages or project overview pages that can fit one-page, you can also include it in much bigger ones. For example, tell a story on the home page, but put a web shop on the other one. It allows customers to have a view of who you are so they can trust you more but you also don’t lose the massive functionality you need.
Even if including animation in your web page not seems like the best approach, thinking about design that tells a story makes every user experience better. And that is really what everybody is trying to achieve.