I was talking to a prospective client last week about web design trends. We’ve gone from ‘selling’ where we simply promote our products and services online, to ‘telling’ where we share loads of information in the hope of getting found on search and convincing people we know what we’re talking about so they pay us some money.

So what’s next?

In my view, ‘gamification’ is the upcoming trend. Rather than a top-down communication, it’s more of an interaction through engagement and entertainment. Here are a few examples:

  • A client who works in contracts has created a free App, to add value and raise brand-awareness.
  • Kew Gardens has a ‘tweet and grow’ game where you choose a (virtual) plant, give it food, water and sunlight, and see whether it grows or dies. It’s a good fit with the brand and demonstrates their expertise while being a bit of fun.
  • A security company I spoke to thought they’d done all they could with their marketing. We discussed a game where site visitors have to place fire and burglar alarms on the floorplan of a warehouse, then press ‘go’. If they have protected the building properly, they win. If not, fires break out, burglars break in, and they get the message that perhaps the company knows more about security than they do.

Last week’s conversation ended with the suggestion of an online aquarium, where people have to equip the tank with the right heating and lighting, and look after their fish correctly to win points and discounts.

Admittedly, this approach is not right for all businesses (undertakers, for example). But what do you think – would you prefer to find a certain amount of entertainment on a website, as well as just information?

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