If you’re looking for an effective way to highlight a particular aspect of your brand while simultaneously showing off your creativity, consider creating a microsite. These single-page sites are a great way to devote detailed information to a certain feature or event in a single location that’s easily accessible to your users.
Successful microsites provide concise information in an aesthetically pleasing, entertaining and interactive way. Many designers of microsites employ their coding and design skills through parallax sliding effects, dynamic transitions, vertical and horizontal sliding panels, among many other techniques. It’s important, though, to remember to focus on the purpose of a microsite: the goal it is attempting to reach, or the message it is attempting to send. Some common purposes for microsites include highlighting a particular product, service or event – providing more in-depth detail than the general information within the brand’s full website.
Even though microsites are most often interactive, they don’t have to be overly complex, as demonstrated in this landlord guide and this iPod capacity visualization. A more minimalistic approach can sometimes be more powerful and dramatic than overly complicated designs, as they can immediately send a message and be more clear in their navigation.
Here is a collection of successful microsites that strike a balance between aesthetic and interactive creativity and effectively serving their functional purpose. Use them as inspiration and wisdom to apply to your own work.
The eye-catching imagery on the landing spot of this page entices the user to click the side arrows to see more. By clicking through each section, you’re provided with an engaging look at the company and its work. The page also has a unique navigation system, with a convenient visual bar at the bottom to travel to chosen sections, as well as the option to view and click through larger images of the portfolio.
The grid-based layout of this page constantly has moving elements to keep the user interested. As the page scrolls, it highlights the main section that is visible to the viewer in order to draw you into its content. In addition, each box plays a miniature slideshow of all the elements that went into the project it represents. Hover over a box to find out the project’s name, and click on it to travel to its more detailed section.
The creative parallax scrolling design of this site compels the user to scroll through its entirety. With stylistic illustrations that fill each room of your “home” in a unique and interesting way, it’s not only entertaining, but also extremely informative and illustrative of the security elements the brand can provide.
This single-page site reveals a portfolio from a distinctive perspective. By enabling users to interact with each section, including the designer’s process, they are provided with a unique look at the workflow and technique of the designer. It’s an enlightening interaction with the design process, which helps viewers connect more personally with the finished work as they scroll through the page.
Upon entering this site, the user is greeted with a real-time cursor in the corner that encourages exploration through typing. The only way to find information is to type a question or the name of a menu item. You get immediate feedback with either an answer to your question, or the traveling to the menu section you have chosen. This is an innovative way to engage users with your site and make them want to keep finding out more.
And just for fun, you can type in a color and the background will change in response.
This simple portfolio reel can be filtered to a certain category in the menu on the side, or users can easily access other areas of the site from the navigation bar. But this page makes it clear that its main purpose is to show its work, which is extremely easy to find, zoom in and browse through.
As you can see, the creative possibilities for microsites are endless. Let these examples inspire you to create something beautiful, unique and engaging. But these pages also share common qualities that contribute to functionality and purpose that you should apply to your process as well. These include:
A focus on the point
Remove any extra “fluff” you might be tempted to add to your content, and make sure to stick to your goal or purpose. Since microsites only contain one page, all of their content is meant to be seen, so it is especially important to be concise and straightforward so that users understand your purpose without getting distracted, confused or bored.
While you may want to get creative with the way your microsite is meant to be navigated, it still needs to be clear – just like a full website. Guide users through your content in an exciting yet intuitive way so that they remain interested, and are still able to get a look at all of what you have to offer.
Just like creative navigation can keep your users’ interest, a great characteristic of microsites is their interactivity. They’re not meant to be static pages that viewers simply look at; engage visitors by encouraging (or even forcing) them to engage with the content or the design, and you’ll both be pleased with the experience your microsite provides.