Experiential websites are an adventure for the human senses. They go beyond the typical transactional website to deliver a delight for the visitor — whether that’s through sight, sound, or not too far in the future, scent. The overarching function for these sites, though, is exactly what you think it is — an experience. In this article, we’re going to explore exactly what it is that makes a website experiential, why it matters, and explore a few examples of this fun, off-the-beaten-path approach to website design.
What is an Experiential Website?
An experiential website is an online property designed to allow visitors to experience the brand, its services, or its products, rather than just reading about or viewing them through text, images, or video. The website may use parallax, 3D content, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), or artificial intelligence (AI) to create the experience of what it would be like to interact with the products or services through storytelling and interactive design.
Why Experiential Matters for Website Design
When you want to transcend the look and feel of a traditional website, experiential design can take your visitors to new places. Instead of focusing solely on increasing orders or generating new leads, experiential websites bring the audience closer to the brand by offering a more engaging experience through visuals, sound, and user controls (like the insanely fun game on this page that definitely keeps visitors on the page longer) that are unexpected, surprising, and wonderful.
Where it benefits brands is the opportunity to increase buyer confidence. Think how much more likely someone is to buy eyeglasses when they can use the AR technology to “try them on” from their computer or apply the same technology to see how new furniture would look in one of their rooms. Similarly, check out the storytelling approach this well-known apparel brand uses to help visitors imagine the excitement and suspense of an outdoor adventure, while subtly incorporating its products from the sidelines.
Examples of Awesome Experiential Websites
Now for the fun part. Here are some examples of experiential websites that may give you some ideas of what’s possible with extraordinary design elements and technologies.
You might think there’s no way to turn a website of sinkware products into a fun experience and make someone want to buy a new sink immediately. But when it comes to Titan Sinkware, you would be incorrect. That’s because the Australian-based company has created an experiential website that gives you the feeling of being as close as possible to the product without actually touching the product. The website delivers a sense of effortless movement as you scroll through some seriously attractive kitchen hardware.
Stanley Kubrick Experience
You don’t have to be marketing products or services to make a website feel like an event. The Stanley Kubrick Experience takes you on a trip through the life and work of the American-born filmmaker in a fully immersive way. Even if you’re not a fan of the artist, you can still have a lot of good fun scrolling through this site.
It’s no surprise the luxury fashion brand went all out on an experiential design for its website. But where the previous examples utilize a scrolling and parallax design (where background images move slower than images placed in front of it), the Gucci site applies a highly interactive environment where users choose where to go next. In particular, check out the holiday gift giving guide, which is presented as an office setting where you can virtually shop products by clicking various areas of the workspace.
Considering Experiential Website Design
If you’re thinking about ways to make your brand’s website stand out, maintain the visitor’s attention, and get them to respond, then experiential design could be the path forward. Consider your audience, your purpose, and your goals in order to determine if creating an experience online will help you tell a story in a way that’s meaningful and exciting for the end user.
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