Immersive UI: Delivering a Authentic Digital Experience
There is little doubt that because designers today are deeply committed to advocating for user needs, that User Experience is paramount in the quest for the ideal digital environment. For a brand to make a truly authentic connection to a user, it must extend many aspects of its persona throughout the digital experience. From initial perceptions to emotions and behavioral responses – the more connective the experience is, the deeper the loyalty between and brand and user will be. Forging these connections through a screen can be a challenge, even more so as mobile usage continues to rise. Its now more important than ever to deliver an interface design that captures the true experience of the brand it represents.
By using a combination of visual, contextual, graphic and textual elements – a brand can make digital connections like never before.
Leveraging new developments in interactivity and design technique, a website can now be an immersive experience – leading users to faster conversion and higher engagement. Interactivity and animation will take visuals to the next level of engagement. When the user is entertained they are much more likely to listen and want to learn more. An interactive site means anything and everything from contests to displaying products in a way that encourages or even requires visitors to click on certain categories. By displaying products in an interactive way rather than just pictures, you are more likely to engage visitors. A great example of this method is parallax scrolling.
With the addition of video features, users can immediately feel they have ‘jumped into’ the content. Analytics show that the presence of a video as opposed to static image or text alone can increase engagement by at least 200 percent. Moving visuals are retained by the long term memory because of connection. If that connection is made with the user, they are more likely to retain and engage on a long term basis.
Visual storytelling, when implemented well, can attract users in a powerful way and creates a level of connection and intrigue that no other technique can achieve. Visual stories, as opposed to static content, are interactive and get people to commit themselves to a brand. The imagery and content used, however, must be highly curated and well crafted – stock imagery and bad copywriting will always fail. There are several effective platforms to apply visual storytelling in the digital environment such as typography, sound, video and interactivity.
For an immediate infusion of experience, the implementation of oversized images (often called mega images) on the main page of a site provide an immersive experience to the user. These images, when placed and curated properly, create an instant connection to the information on the page and illuminate the content. Even static, still images that are oversized have a life-like, immersive quality. Choosing an image that is relevant to the brand or illuminates the lifestyle it creates is critical to ensuring a user connection.
Delivering a personalized experience is perhaps one of the most sustainable approaches to experiential branding/marketing. This is best achieved through a deep understanding of the site’s user. As much as personalization is a data driven activity, understanding the core user can provide insight into the content, visuals and calls to action that are the most useful and intuitive for the user.
Overall, an organization or brand must work closely with their designer to communicate their core values. The content and design teams are tasked with illuminating this information into visual communication methods that delivers the needed information to the user and allows them the opportunity to feel as if they are a part of the organization.1