4 Key Interactive Content Design Principles from the Pros

Ty Nilsson
Sr. Director of Demand Generation at Tiled
October 12, 2021

Static content used to be far more effective than it is today. We’re well into the digital age at this point, and as time passes, things get reinvented and reimagined. Content is one of those things. Your words of wisdom and insight are only useful to the extent you can get your audience to interact and engage with them. 

Adding interactive content gives visitors something to engage with while consuming information. It makes the experience more like a game than a research session, giving them little mental rewards each time they discover a new element. 

Tips for Designing Interactive Content

Of course, interactive content only really works if the interface is properly set up. 

When you’re designing a new website or microapp, knowing how to create immersive and powerful interactive content design is critical. Making sure color schemes and fonts match across the board is important, but neither will matter if you aren’t applying these basic, essential interactive content platform design principles. 

1. Make It Intuitive

The last thing you want to do is make a user work too hard to figure out how to engage with your content. Really, you don’t want them to have to think at all. Functions of your platform should be intuitive, meaning visitors don’t have to consciously think about what they’re doing when they’re using your interface. Before you start brainstorming interactive content ideas, map out how the interface will work, and then build upon that. 

Less Is More

If you start adding too many elements to a platform, especially before you’ve even figured out its functionality, things can get a bit overwhelming and disorganized. There are few things that people click out of or close faster than a page that immediately overwhelms them. 

Keep It Clean

Before you decide what you’ll be adding, figure out how the interactions are going to work and make sure you’re basing the usability off of domains that already exist.

If you want to make a quiz or a questionnaire to gather data and prospect information, keep it simple and clean. You don’t need to add chaotic designs or elements for the sake of standing out. Users can handle slight differentiation, but to keep the design intuitive, base the interface on other well-known domains that the average user has experience using. 

2. Add Visual Signifiers 

Once your interface is intuitive, you’ll want to ensure people know that they have the ability to engage with your interactive content. A visitor isn’t going to click on something if they don’t even realize it’s an option. 

Adding signifiers to your interactive design helps guide users through the experience. Once they’ve hovered over an image and seen a bubble pop up with an additional content nugget, they know to expect the same thing to happen in the image next to it. 

Consistency Is Crucial

When you’re engineering a high-performing interactive content platform, adding signifiers into the design gives a hint to the visitor that there’s more to do on that page than just stare into the blue light. Examples of signifiers are:

  • Buttons to click for a poll
  • Hovering title boxes that reveal information 
  • Different textures for downloadable assets like eBooks

When you add visual signifiers, make sure they’re consistent and not used in non-interactive circumstances. If you nail your signifiers and create an interactive experience, you can win visitors over without having to lift a finger. 

3. Ensure Usability

Your designers can work relentlessly for weeks or months ensuring the visual aspects of your site are on-brand, but if the functionality of the site isn’t on the same page, it’ll be for nothing.

Yes, color schemes are important, as is making sure the text for headers and interactive elements suits the design. But if the back end of the site isn’t functioning properly—in any way—it won’t really matter. 

Remember to not underdeliver on interactivity either. If people are trying to click around on an infographic that looks interactive but is actually static, the design isn’t living up to user expectations. 

Bring in Outside Testers

Your team can be super confident of functionality and overlook problems because they’re too close to the project. Testers from outside the project should gauge the usability of your newly created page or microapp. Their feedback will indicate whether users clearly know what to interact with. Finding errors in the test period is ideal so you can fix them fully before anything goes live and becomes an even larger issue to resolve. 

4. Include Easy Undo Options

Users don’t always click the button they intended to—especially on touchscreen devices. If a user accidentally taps one answer to a quiz when they meant to tap the one below, they need an easy way to undo that action and correct it. If the process to correct a user error is not intuitive and quick, they might just abandon ship altogether. 

The reality is that well-designed interactive content assumes that users sometimes change their minds or input the wrong information. 

Don’t Punish User Curiosity  

Just because they tapped the wrong option on a quiz or wanted to learn more about something they clicked on doesn’t mean the user should be punished for it. You want them to interact and engage with all your content; you don’t want them to get stuck because they can’t figure out how to get back to where they started.

Correctional options you should consider using include:

  • Back arrows for returning to previous content
  • Undo buttons to correct mischosen answers
  • Confirmation buttons or popups at key checkpoints

Go Interactive with Tiled

How do you make content interactive? Utilizing Tiled is a good place to start. With interactive tools that can be customized to your needs, Tiled can help turn a one-dimensional website into a traffic-driving machine, and level up your email blasts with interactive content marketing that promotes engagement. 

Tiled can be used to create engaging content for job candidates, customers, prospective clients, and employees. For all of your website and microapp needs, use Tiled to help your business connect with your target audience and get the job done.

Design Thinking
Ty Nilsson
Sr. Director of Demand Generation at Tiled