Storytelling has been an art form for millennia. Now, you can use the best storytelling techniques to amp up your web design. By following a few simple rules, you can revolutionize your site design and captivate visitors. Add a little keyword optimization, and you have the makings of an outstanding website!
Why You Should Tell a Story With Your Site
Why tell a story at all? It’s a great question. The answer is that we are all interested in hearing a good story.
From the time we are born, we are told stories. Simple stories. Complex stories. Stories about people like us and stories about people who are different. Our brains are trained to absorb stories, and that’s exactly why your web design should follow a storytelling storyboard.
Create Your Story’s Journey With Storyboarding
Storyboarding is a process whereby you can map out your story’s journey. Think of it as making an outline, but in visual form.
Get out some paper and write down the answer to these questions:
- What is the story I want my site to tell? There may be several.
- Why is my audience going to care about this story? How can it make their lives better, more interesting, or richer?
- What are the elements of my story I need to focus on? These could be your unique selling proposition, the way your business helps others, the products you offer, the services you deliver, etc.
- How can I make sure my web visitors want to get to the end of the story before leaving my site?
As you look at your answers, you may start to see stories emerging. These should help you as you continue your storyboarding process by designing your home page and subsequent pages.
Flesh out Your Site Design Layout
At this point, it’s time to begin to generate concepts for your site, always considering the stories you want to tell. Some of the elements you should consider during this process include:
- What kind of navigation is necessary to tell the stories? Where should the navigation bar/tabs be placed?
- How can pictures, imagery, and colors enhance the overall effectiveness of my storytelling? Are they going to be used for illustrative purposes, or to actually move the story along?
- How will content be used? Is the page going to have a lot of content, or is the story going to be driven by photos and other images?
- What kind of web design framework is most suitable for my stories? Is a parallax, textual website framework better than a flat web design without layered effects?
These prompts will help you explore possibilities and allow your web design to take shape. When you have an idea of the overall look and feel to your web design, you can move on to the next aspect of storyboarding and storytelling.
As you can see if you look at the website for Katharine Beecher candy and confectionary products, the company’s story is first explored on the homepage. This helps build a connection with users, encouraging them to find out more.
How to Keep the Plot Flowing
Exceptional storytellers grab their audiences at the beginning of their stories and keep them rapt until the final word. How? They are able to weave a plot that’s logical, persuasive, and entertaining and/or educational.
As a web designer, you can do this, too. The key is to think like your visitor. When you get to a landing page, what is the first thing you see? In other words, where does the story start? Is it with an image, a headline, a video? The more you can control your visitors’ journeys through your website using storytelling web design techniques, the better their experience will be.
During the story you share with visitors, be certain to add touchpoints and calls-to-action. For instance, you may request their information so you can send them a downloadable PDF or put them on your email list. You could ask them to chat with a customer service member, or encourage them to make a purchase. Touchpoints and calls-to-action should be woven through the story and develop as users move through the site.
Picture Your Web Design Duties in a New Light
Does it take a little more energy to think of storytelling rather than pure, technical web designing? Absolutely. But you’ll find that building a story through your site design will culminate in a more integrated, intuitive site where visitors feel welcomed.