Great lifestyle websites are more than just your generic site. In addition to being informative, they have the ability to spark motivation and push readers into taking action. Lifestyle-themed online stores also offer some of the most highly-priced items such as cars, homes, gadgets, and sports equipment.
With products that can reflect a person’s ambitions and lifestyle aspirations, you need a design that’s tailored more than just to inform. You need a design that incorporates emotion, inspiration, and ultimately, action.
Remember that the ultimate goal of lifestyle websites is to have a lasting impact in the lives of the audience. Unlike most sites that offer an experience similar to reading a textbook, you need a site that focuses on the journey of your audience – from where they are now to their life onwards. That consists of all the human emotions that can be substantiated with the visual elements of your site.
The Basics of Emotional Design
“Emotional design” is nothing new in the world of web development. It’s all about crafting a memorable and relatable web experience that fully engages the reader and prepares them for the main sales pitch – if there’s any.
For starters, your web content must focus on evoking emotions such as fulfilment, attention, humor, pleasure, and utter joy.
You may also consider negative emotions if a particular content focuses on pressing concerns in your target community. The key here is to know your target audience and identify which emotions relate to their situation. Aside from this, you need to provide the right medium for communicating these emotions.
For example, if you’re targeting the fitness crowd, then pictures of well-toned people will be the bread and butter of your design. Take a look at LIVESTRONG’s visual content from their Sports and Fitness section:
For each content, the models express key emotions that relate to the particular topic. In LIVESTRONG’s case, these emotions include fulfilment, determination, and stress (third photo in the right panel). These emotions help amplify the thoughts in each article and therefore promotes focus and learning.
Parents, on the other hand, can be appeased with images of babies. By instinct, their attention is easily drawn towards photos of toddlers and their emotions. They may also feel the need to replicate any positive emotion expressed in the photos – inspiring them to take the necessary actions. For example, take a look at the site below by Totspot:
Notice how the family feels overjoyed while the toddler fits in a new pair of jeans. From the audience’s perspective, it would seem like a fashionable lifestyle can help them experience a similar scenario from the one being described in the photo.
Finally, remember that emotional design works in all levels. For example, Watchman.org’s The Way International incorporates a visual element that inspires gratification through reading:
Watchman.org may be for people with religious lifestyles, but the practice of using emotional design to induce learning can be applied to most other niches as well. For example, emotionally-driven infographics are powerful tools for conveying meaningful information. They could be actionable, mind-opening, or simply captivating. For example, this particular infographic from Lifehack.org induces the emotion of fear:
Things to Remember
For lifestyle websites, remember that it’s important to focus on emotions that can mirror the lifestyle preferences of your target audience. If you aim to sell through your site, make sure you focus on the lifestyle implications of your services or products.
For example, a photo of a happy family is a good fit for a real estate website that’s trying to sell upscale living. Although you still need to include actual photos of the properties, your target audience will respond more positively if your design highlights the emotions they want to achieve. Remember that something as simple as a smile can have a welcoming effect to your readers, encouraging them to learn more about your brand.
Another thing to remember when implementing emotional design is that you can always fit humor in any situation. It is probably the most relatable human emotion of all, and it does a good job in creating a memorable experience for your readers
Lastly, it’s also a good idea to offer the emotion of exclusivity, which exacerbates other emotions like anticipation and pleasure. A good example is to offer exclusive infomercial products such as eBooks and subscription-based courses. Of course, you can amplify this exclusivity using emotionally-driven content.