We use Google every day, many times a day and even a single search every hour. Facebook has more views, more engagement and more users. The reason of their ultimate user engagement is far greater than a normal Facebook or Google user knows. These web apps had turned to be an anticipatory tool for their users.
Again searched on Google and found the definition of Anticipatory:
Happening, performed, or felt in anticipation of something.The Google and Facebook are two most popular websites visited today, top two ranked by Alexa and with most users in the world. A simple search bar is not enough for being at first, or ideas like Facebook wasn't new, many social networks were their before Facebook. Even I read on a Magazine that a university student made first Social Networking site with most basic features like news feed, chatting etc but failed at a stage.
Instead what's going on right now, lets discuss how to reach there.
KISS (Keep it simple stupid)
Anticipatory word has a deep meaning in sense of developing an art of code.A user just clicks on a search bar of Google and many times he never types a word but suggestions helps him out. Every keyword embraces the user towards every search. Then with every keyword typed, user sees a bunch of results live which helps him understand what is going on here. This whole process tells us about rule of KISS.
To engage a user towards a blog, content is king but not the only reason to run a blog. Mashable is one the top news blog listed in my feed reader. If you read Mashable on web or mobile app you will find that you are more engaged with the content. The reason behind is that blog should be content oriented, when user is able to read the content more finely.
What matters is the color scheme, font family and font size that is being used. Keeping the color scheme eye friendly and simple helps the most. A good font family is that doesn't need a eye focus to understand and good font size is to have a proper ratio of font size with respect to the screen size.
The sidebar should be simple enough that doesn't overcomes the content. If the width of sidebar with respect to content is greater than 40% in a desktop screen, then there is a problem I guess because then probability of user getting distracted by sidebar are more. Often blogs have right sidebar but some have left sidebar too, to let user attract towards the content instead of sidebar, make the sidebar relatively small than content.
Parallax effects never attracts a user but a designer only. The bad relation of scrolling towards bottom while background moving upwards distracts too much. User become more engaged in watching the background instead the content in between. Simple background colors are best in these scenarios. While have a large portion of screen animating also distracts users (in some cases).
The idea of KISS is not new, designers are following them for years. However designs are still not following the rule,user never engaged with a mobile site due to lots of ads and less or no content to read above the fold. A good app is when user never have to scroll it on load.
A blog can follow KISS in many ways:
- Content is not enough, be content oriented.
- Sidebar with relatively less width than content.
- Simple, readable and visible combination of font and colors.
- Keep the content above fold.
- Ads makes the party over before 11, so use them on specific areas only.
Idea of great sidebar
Don't use HTML to define how your content looks like, use it to define what is your content about.The <aside> tag defines some content aside from the content it is placed in. Aside tag could contain ads, popular posts, email subscription, social integration etc. However, I think the side should be more productive than we think today. Every post displays sidebar, we should be able to give reader something other than the content.
Today Mashable shows recent posts to its sidebar. If user is done with reading article or completed the purpose on the page, then give him a reason to stay and read more. Often people are interested in recent publishes by the blog, show them what you got.
The user interaction with sidebar becomes more great if the user never sees the blank or end of sidebar. The sidebar content might end-up at some point due to more height of content than sidebar.
The greater the user will see advertistment, greater the chances the ad will be clicked. Similar action will be witnessed with any widget you stick on scroll.