For as long as humans have been around, storytelling has been a part of our history – hell it’s how we learned about history before cave drawings and the Encyclopedia – and it’s still an integral tool for brands today. But this contributor, marketing consultant Gabriella Diesendorf, says it’s the first rule of thumb brands are often missing.
Storytelling is a primal form of communication and is a distinguishing factor that defines us as humans. Furthermore, over the centuries it proved to be an essential tool in web designer’s arsenal.
Story makes it easy to comprehend complex pieces of information, thus being a mighty medium between customers and a website that is looking to send them a message.
Our brains grasp content that explains the situation and a well-told story helps us create cognitive maps, thus providing order and meaning, making it more memorable. It can leave a lasting impression that will overshadow all others users have previously encountered.
In today’s day and age, people are time-limited and snap judgements have become a trend. “Never judge a book by its covers” has become everyone’s philosophy and it will take only 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion about your website.
First impressions are most commonly design-related and in order for it to be a complete package, all aspects of the design have to be perfectly interwoven.
The almighty written narrative
Half of all website visitors claim they want to see About Us page on a company website and more than 40 per cent claim they leave due to a lack of message. Proudly present your company’s timeline, all of the past, present, as well as future projects – from once upon a time to a happily ever after. State what you offer to the point and jargon-free.
Moreover, the story does not end at the macro-content. Aside from the main paragraphs, titles, headings, navigation labels, button texts and other forms of micro-content play an important role in completing a tale.
The power of visual
Telling a story with pictures has been an ever-present trend. From the earliest cave drawings to high quality pictures on our screens, powerful imagery has always, and will continue to captivate human race.
The fact is that people are visual beings and absorb 75 per cent more information from images than any other type of content. Breathtaking, image-heavy website can not only aid in presenting the history of the company, but also showcase product or services you offer.
Composing all of these elements into a single presentation is what means to have a whole-rounded web presentation. A perfect example of such complete story built upon simple, yet eye-catching elements is the process of building brand identity of Adjani by Toast Creative.
With simple and elegant black and white photography and minimalistic imagery, they managed to create appealing content that conveys the message.
Moreover, the two rising trends, parallax and video, help develop a deeper story. With user-friendly parallax scrolling you are able to create scenes for each chapter of your tale, whereas video enables you to film an entire documentary.
Flawless user experience
Nevertheless, top-quality images are useless if they overload the website and prolong the loading time. Around 40 per cent of users are ready to give up on a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. It is evident that people are not interested in hearing a story if one has difficulty telling it, regardless of the plot.
Incorporate several “teasers” in the form of interactive elements that will engage users and encourage to explore the website further. Features such as navigation bar and image slideshow on the homepage, as well as “Read more” links at the end of an introductory content will arouse interest that will interest readers in hearing the end of the story.
In the case of Sky Forest Rescue, you are provided with basic, yet enticing information that you cannot help but click and study further.
Design is the most powerful method of expression as it has the ability to communicate a visual message and a story, whether it is implied or clearly stated. Just like we expect the moral at the end of a story, we expect to find the purpose at the end of a website with a storytelling experience.
So if the path to the moral of the story is carefully paved to ensure a smooth ride, you can rest assured that users will gladly take it.