An involvement device is a component of marketing, advertising or even SEO that is designed to create a level of user involvement through inviting them to perform an action.
One very simple example where an involvement device is used, is with charity boxes. The most obvious of these is usually found in McDonalds restaurants and the bit just past supermarket check-outs. I’m sure most people will have seen the two foot high charity boxes where you drop a coin in the side and it spirals around the curved surface before dropping down the hole in the middle. Simple enough, but think about the number of children who hassle their parents to give them a coin to drop in.
The theory is that by creating this higher level of involvement people are more receptive to what you are offering. There is no doubt a deep psychological explanation for this, but it probably boils down to the fact that by being involved in something (even just a simple action) people feel more invested in the process and are more likely to develop an affinity with the product or service.
Well, there are many different kinds of involvement device that extend beyond a single action. They basically encompass anything that allows a user to become more invested in the process through some level of interaction. And the internet is all about interaction.
What are Website Involvement Devices?
You’ll definitely have come across some form of involvement device at some point while browsing online and you may have not even noticed.
One of the most common involvement devices online is found in the form of adverts. Nobody really likes these spammy animated ads, yet you still feel compelled to either ‘shoot the duck to win an iPhone’ or ‘hit the target to enter a prize draw’. These are a bad example of an involvement device and you certainly don’t want them on your site but they do provide an excellent example of how a little interaction can really draw someone in.
Shopping online is a big deal. It has grown rapidly alongside the speed and capabilities of the internet, allowing businesses to provide some quite comprehensive stores with some really cool functionality. As a result some of the best online shops have invested serious time and effort into bringing their customers closer through involvement devices as well as complex Website Design. This is a far better example of how to use involvement devices as they often allow users to design a t-shirt or a logo and cast their vote on others designs.
This level of involvement invests a sense of loyalty or even pride in the company from a user and as a result makes them more likely to make a purchase again and again.
Loading and Quirky
Involvement devices don’t have to be complex or intuitive. Just something that can provide some kind of interaction for your users and make your site stand out from others. Nobody likes waiting for items on the site to load for instance, so many sites utilize an alternative loading screen, often some kind of creative animation. This is only a small measure but instantly makes your site more interesting and memorable than countless others. Other quirky little additions like “interesting quotes” or links to funny videos show that there is personality to the site.
But how can I apply this to my Website?
There are many other forms of involvement device. In fact it is almost limitless the number of ways through which you can connect with a visitor through your website.
Social Media has swept over the internet like a tsunami, except instead of mass destruction it’s brought Facebook and Twitter and only now are people seeing it’s potential benefits for Search Engine Optimisation, marketing and connecting with potential clients and customers. Social media is one of the easiest methods available to promote interaction with your site and as such is an invaluable involvement device. Having a Facebook feature built into your site can allow your users to ‘like’ your site and spread it out into the Facebook community. By regularly posting on Facebook you can get some real interaction going with you customers making you more than just a faceless business.
You can also create comment or review sections or even a blog on your site allowing users to feel more a part of the sites make-up with more control and integration.
Interactive content is definitely the way forward as website design becomes more complex and the capabilities of the internet allow it to be faster and more powerful. Java applets, flash animations and functions and the impending evolution of HTML5 will allow you to develop cool new interactive methods to bring users into your site and allow them to get far more deeply involved.
Using animation that is interactive and intelligently designed can make your site stand out from the crowd as well as allowing your visitors to interact in many simple ways.
Whether it’s a more evolved navigation bar or an element to allow shoppers to put an outfit together online; the technology is there, all it requires is a little ingenuity.
This is the most important factor in engaging with your audience. If you want your site to rank well, provide unique original content. If you want it to be a success with visitors, make it interesting. Providing something unusual, whether it’s a cool feature or function or just something quirky, visitors are far more likely to respond to a site that takes the time to really engage them in a unique way.