For a while now, web designers have been aware of an emerging phenomenon in marketing and advertising. Since the rise of user-generated content and the prominence of video content online, advertisers, marketers, and web developers have been focusing on implementing storytelling in web design in order to reach consumers. Such tactics have been widely adopted by leading brands with resounding success. The nature of online activity and the ease and speed at which companies and individuals can share their ambitions and stories have given rise to a narrative-focused web design industry with a considerable shift in priorities. Pushing products is no longer the name of the game; instead, creating a narrative around your product and selling the experience, rather than the individual qualities, is what yields the best results in today’s visceral online marketplace.
So, how can implementing storytelling in web design help your online business grow? The primary benefit to your brand of adopting a narrative-first approach sits with the experience of your users. The internet has provided us with a wealth of emotionally stimulating content, so much so that it is often overwhelming. Nevertheless, it has changed the way we see companies and the way that businesses can communicate with potential customers.
Customers engage with emotional content. Social media analytics and behaviours can, and do, prove this. So, by having an emotionally resonant story behind your product, its conception, or the purpose of your product or service, will create a more visceral experience for browsing consumers. It’s the reason so many businesses are adopting 360 video and VR into their web design. As drivers of empathy and immersive storytelling, these new technologies offer an unprecedented method of presenting an emotional narrative to your consumers. Storytelling in web design aims to display your company’s goals and product/service in a way that goes beyond the boundaries of the product itself.
Take Shaun White’s official website for example, an excellent example of visual storytelling working its magic in web design. Scrolling through the images and subtle textual clues, a viewer is introduced to the snowboarder’s career history, work ethic, and personal brand tone within a couple of images.
Using storytelling in web design gives developers an enormous benefit, by inviting people in to see the story of the business behind the products and services you offer. When a consumer can see that you are transparent about your structure and goals, they can align these messages with their own personal beliefs, therefore making them far more likely to identify with your company and remain loyal customers. In this way, web designers can utilise storytelling to acquire higher quality consumers, those who swear by your brand and will follow your developments as a company. To capture the imaginations of your users in this way, it imperative that you keep them engrossed in the story your website is telling throughout your design.
We recently completed a website design for Roastworks Coffee. They needed their website to educate their coffee consumers on the importance of the sustainable coffee industry they are working towards. In threading this narrative, and the story of the company’s conception, throughout the site, we managed to create a platform for the appreciation of different growing and processing methods.
Maintaining your narrative and tone throughout your website will keep these ideas consistent and make for a much more powerful message. Creativity never disappoints in this area. The more story content you provide, the deeper your consumers are going to identify with your brand. This content can range from behind-the-scenes development diaries, which chart company progress and updates, to the integration of your product and business narrative into the promotion of offline launches and events.
Not only does the official Jack Daniel’s website offer a fantastic example of narrative in web design but they also bring this story back to the consumer throughout their site. Their ‘Recipe’ feature demonstrates this well; users can input their favourite bottle of Jack Daniel’s and the event they need a recipe for to generate a unique drink combination that is perfect for them.
Developing good storytelling in web design can take months, however, once you have yourself a consistent narrative that ties your product experience and business goals together, it can be a powerful force of consumer identification.