There’s no place for flat or static content — today, consumers expect exciting digital experiences, making the question “what is interactive content?” an important one to consider.
With fast-evolving tech and oversaturation of content, the bar has been set high for the quality of digital content. Interactivity can give good content that ‘wow’ factor, and stick in the mind of your audience long after they’ve left your site. What’s more, once a user becomes an active participant, they’re more likely to come away with a positive impression about your brand.
What is Interactive Content?
Interactive content is content that requires user participation. While ‘traditional’ content has always been static – things like standard blog posts and infographics – interactive content requires users to actively interact or engage with it, creating a two-way dialogue between you and your audience.
Interactive content responds to the user’s actions, so consumers are able to personalize their experience. Because interactive content requires active participation from users, not just passive consumption, it becomes both more engaging and more memorable.
These facts are two of the reasons why interactive content has rocketed in popularity over the past few years. There’s so much content online right now that audiences have become far more selective about what they’re willing to consume – which means that if brands want to drive and convert leads, they need to look for new, innovative ways for their own content to stand out.
Highly-visual, interactive content has become the hallmark of the modern digital experience. It doesn’t just keep audiences engaged, it also helps brands foster a deeper and more meaningful connection with their audience.
Design Techniques for Stunning Interactive Content
If you’re looking to create beautiful and dynamic interactive content, there are lots of ways you can go about it. Different design techniques are suited to different types of content, so whether you’re telling a long-form visual story and want to keep the reader hooked, or you’re hoping to build more engagement into your landing page, there are a variety of design components you can use.
The good news is that some of the best interactive design techniques – ones that will instantly elevate your content – can be easily added to your content using Vev. These include:
Image Comparison Slider
If you’re telling a visual story that contains a ‘before vs after’ feature, an image comparison slider is a great way to show the difference between the pictures, while adding a fun interactive element. Not only will this make your content look slicker, it’ll also make it more effective; when two images are placed side by side, the human eye is drawn to the second, which means features of the first image are often missed. Adding an image comparison slider ensures both images get equal attention.
Clickable Image Hotspots
Clickable image hotspots allow you to add layers of interactivity to your content, and turn static images into engaging interactive content. When the user clicks a hotspot, pop-up windows containing additional information, images, or links to other pages are revealed. They’re good ways to add further content without obstructing the image, and work well on maps, diagrams, and product photos.
Carousels allow you to display graphics, text, images, or videos in one interactive element. They can help you break up text-heavy content, and mean you can include multiple images without using up bandwidth. You can use image carousels, video carousels, or even 3D carousels, which are a more dynamic take. Carousels also add an element of autonomy, and allow users to explore at their own pace.
Another subtle but effective way to add interactivity is with a show/hide add-on. These micro-interactions reveal previously hidden information, images, and video, but only when the target element is clicked. This lets you strategically place hidden content throughout your page or site, and lets the user decide whether to reveal it. Just like carousels, this means they can explore in their own way – and you save space, too.
Hover and Scroll Animations
Hover and scroll animations are popular design techniques for interactive content, as they add movement and create a personalized experience. Scroll-triggered animations spring into life as the user scrolls down your content, and can complement the accompanying text. Hover animations create a fun experience for users, as hovering over an animated element can cause it to change color, rotate, grow, or shrink – or a combination of these.
Six Examples of Interactive Content
Now we’re familiar with some of the best interactive design techniques that can elevate your content – and ones that are easily added using Vev – let’s take a look at some of them in action.
The Hidden Value in Urban Mining
Political news organization POLITICO used Vev to create their interactive infographic, The Hidden Value in Urban Mining. There are several different elements of interactivity in this infographic, from animated graphics to horizontal scrolling, but the standout interactive design technique used is clickable hotspots.
The content itself dives deep into the topic of urban mining, and why it’s so essential to reclaim valuable materials and make the building process greener. In order to explain the importance of urban mining, and impart vital facts about construction and demolition waste, large amounts of text are needed. Yet too much text can seem overwhelming and put readers off.
POLITICO sidestepped that problem by creating a colorful and engaging infographic that’s dotted through with clickable hotspots. While there are some sections dedicated to written content, the use of hotspots means there are no chunky walls of text. It also keeps the infographic looking clean, and allows the readers to focus on the animations.
Clicking the hotspots adds interaction, and means the reader can learn about the issues in greater detail at their own pace. Not only does this make data-driven content look more visually exciting, it also allows the reader to choose what they want to click on and explore, and ensures this detailed content remains easily digestible and engaging.
We used Vev to create this microsite recreation of Splaaashes by LS Graphics, in order to showcase some of our most beautiful and creative design features. The microsite highlights the different Splaaashes illustrations that are available to use, and because it's a microsite, we wanted to keep the focus clear, and avoid the user feeling overwhelmed.
We used hover animations to bring the microsite to life and add an eye-catching element of interactivity. As the reader scrolls, the dreamlike swirls of the illustrations are revealed, and when the user hovers over each abstraction, they rotate, bringing movement into what would otherwise be a static design. It may be a micro-interaction, but sometimes subtle techniques work best.
One of the most exciting and unique examples of interactive content can be seen on the dual-state NFT art website Mirrows, which was also made entirely in Vev. Mirrows took a big gamble on shunning vertical scroll altogether and opting for a solely horizontal scroll site, but this creative choice pays off, and the end result is an interactive website unlike any other.
The interactive experience begins immediately, as users are asked to ‘click to continue’, and once they do, the page shifts and evolves. Next, the user is again asked to control their own experience, as the real journey only begins when they ‘scroll to continue’.
As the reader begins scrolling horizontally, the website leaps into life, with different micro-interactions springing up, and striking visuals and typography flicking across the screen. Scroll animations are used exceptionally throughout the site, with ballerina toys rotating, records spinning, and marquees of text unfurling as the reader scrolls.
While there’s a lot going on, Mirrows have cleverly stuck to a black and white color scheme to stop the site looking overdone. Plus, letting the reader scroll at their own pace doesn’t just give them control of this visual journey, but gives them the necessary time to soak up all the different interactive elements.
Vev Year in Review 2022
Adding elements of interactivity to annual reports is a seriously effective way to turn what could be a stale and uninspiring piece of content into something exciting and educational – something that people actually look forward to reading.
While there are many examples of stunning annual reports that use interactive content, we’re going to plug our own 2022 annual report in this instance – as it definitely has that ‘wow’ factor (if we do say so ourselves!). We kept the cover pretty clean, with the focus being on the animated numbers. However, clickable ‘sun’ and ‘moon’ hotspots allow the reader to change the color scheme, which instantly tells them that this is going to be a fun and personalized experience.
Scrolling down triggers multiple colorful scroll and hover animations, which adds life and movement to the report, and shows the reader how easy it is to design creatively when you’re using Vev. Clickable image hotspots are used in our 3D globe animation, letting readers find out more about our globally-dispersed team, and adding a more personal touch to our brand.
We’ve even included a compilation of our favorite user-created designs – and if the reader is intrigued by the interactivity and eye-catching animations of our featured projects, they can click through and check out the site for themselves.
Another example of an annual report that uses interactivity to take it to another level is Norwegian content agency Partnerstudio’s 2022 report. This report showcases scrollytelling at its finest, and because it gives the reader control of how they move through the content, it lets them take as much time as they like to soak up the story.
Animated number counters add movement, and scroll animations rush horizontally across the page as the user works their way down the report. Clickable hotspots are also used to great effect, in this case on a map of Norway; when the reader clicks on the different colored regions, pop-up percentages inform them of how many Partnerstudio’s readers are from there.
Both hover and scroll animations are also used, shining a light on some of Partnerstudio’s best pieces of content, and the use of colorful scrollytelling images as well as image carousels showcases the innovative visual journalism that Partnerstudio are known for. If a particular piece of content piques the reader’s interest, they can click out and read the full story for themselves.
The report also features a unique twist on image comparison sliders. In a section on Partnerstudio’s Samsung campaign, users are asked to compare two photos – one taken with night mode, and one taken without. Instead of sliding, readers can click to reveal the second photo, perfectly highlighting the effectiveness of night mode, and adding a fun interactive element. There’s even an interactive donation button, where users can type in an amount they’d like to give.
Dagens Næringsliv – also called DN – is a Norwegian newspaper that specializes in business news. They used Vev to create an interactive feature about the different ways people exercise and train, and what that says about their personalities and professional lives.
It’s a fun and vibrant example of visual storytelling, and it uses both animated images as well as scrollytelling images and videos to keep the reader engaged. As the reader scrolls, the different personalities are revealed, accompanied by animated illustrations.
The quirky illustrations keep the reader entertained, and the animations add movement and life, making it more visually impressive. There are several ‘read more here’ buttons throughout the content, allowing the reader to choose whether they want to find out more. At the end, readers are asked whether they liked the content, and asked to click ‘yes’ or ‘no’; this adds one final element of interactivity while also providing DN with valuable feedback about the type of content their readers enjoy.
Want To Make Your Own Interactive Content?
The examples above are all super impressive. They’re also all made in Vev, which means they’re much easier to make than you might think! With Vev, you can drag and drop pre-coded interactive components into your content, and then publish online, wherever and whenever you’re ready. Create a free account now to start creating your own interactive content.