Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Much-Needed Factor for Websites: Social Interaction

The other day, I was checking my mail and I realized I had received an email from a very earnest person. I wish to share some of his concerns with you.
It went in this manner….
“I have a very talented design team who has used their creativity to come up with an excellent design for my product site. The website includes a display of all the products with details required by my consumers. It also contains a varied range! Yet, I feel that I do not have the right kind of response that I wish to generate for this website. Please have a look at my website and kindly let me know where the problem exists for the site.”
The first thing that struck me after reading this post was that if the website is good then why should he seek feedback a person who has never visited his website before? It would definitely make sense to talk to his visitors directly and check out their views and opinions. Well, still wearing a critique’s hat I surfed through this website to see what could be the issue.
My first impression was exactly how the mail stated; it was attractive and interesting to look at. I could view all the pages with ease. Yet, there was an element that seemed missing from the picture.
I saw everything seemed fine in terms of design. The missing piece seemed the lack of activity on the web page! The web pages and their product display played the function of attracting the users. The thing about the website was that it did not create any action for the user!
The website basically lacked a very important factor - creation of social interaction amongst users. This is why the website owner did not receive the desired results. One may wonder what the importance of social interaction is! The answer lies in the results which are seen after the use of social interaction!
What happened here was that due to lack of interaction with the consumer, the website owner had to resort to seeking my advice. This not only created a longer channel for the website owner, it did not give him the chance of knowing the consumer opinions!
The use of social interaction on the web pages would solve many things! This gives the website owner a chance to interact with the users online. Users can put forth their views. This gives better and faster results once the changes are implemented. These changes when implemented also make consumers feel that their suggestions are valued. It only generates loyal traffic for the website!
One can use many ways to interact with users. The use of a Presentation slide show that showcases the latest achievements of the week may garner more interest. This can make a user take active interest and watch the slide show of the products, either to submit comments or view those from other users.
The website users should also get a chance to interact with each other that helps them to discover more about the options being offered on a website. There could be an FAQ, which users refer to for information posted on a website. They can also ask their questions to which other users or a website owner can answer. In this manner, live chats, sharing of images or links can be utilized to make the whole experience socially interactive!
Implementing social interaction on a website helps users to interact amongst each other, which in turn proves to be useful for a website. Apart from creative presentations, a website that obtains feedback from users will get better results!
This is what I finally replied to the email I had received. I received a long email thereafter that thanked me for everything!


rizi said...

Interesting views. I am a web application developer myself and I rarely look into the web designing part of my projects to see if they are "interesting" to the user or not. Your explanation helped me understand this aspect a bit. But isn't the design supposed to follow the target-user needs? Not all people would like to have "actions" in their websites

Poonam said...

Well, when these actions are deliberately enforced, only then can it tend to interfere in the design and annoy users. When there is a tool that can be used without really hampering the whole website, then such 'action' may actually tempt users to interact better