Humour can have countless great perks in store - even for your next web design project. It can alleviate stress, boost your psychological health and ensure a positive user experience. This means that you can use humour in your web design to create positive relationships with your potential customers. When it is done right, it can give your brand an advantage with your target market and help you to build your brand further. For example, many times visitors to your website can end up becoming frustrated because they have to complete numerous forms. Although it is at times unavoidable, asking your visitors to complete a complicated form remains one of the common user experience web design mistakes, but by adding a dash of humour to your web design, you will find that your visitors might just be more forgiving.
That being said, whenever your funny pop-up or humorous content is interpreted by your visitors as disrespectful or patronising, it will have the opposite effect and your brand will only suffer. In short, just like with any other web design feature, if it will not boost the user experience - do not include it. So, to see to it that you include humour successfully, here are some situations of when it can work and when it is rather best to avoid it.
When should you include Humour in your Web Design?
You do not need to provide funny services or products to be able to include humour. Though, just like with everything else in life - moderation is key! If you want to include humour in your web design, avoid using slapstick humour or using it too often as it will then only end up distracting your visitors. It is best to include humour only in situations that are not serious such as when a food order has been placed or an email has been sent successfully.
Here are some examples of when it is a good idea to include humour in your web design:
The "About Us" Page
An engaging "About Us" page is one of the key elements of best website design practice. Your customers will turn to your "About Us" page to find out more about the culture of your business. When your visitors read your "About Us" page, they will get a better idea of the kind of employees that they will be interacting with. So, if it is suitable, you can use this page to emphasise your sense of humour. For example, you can let your staff members use props in their profile pictures. This could also be an icebreaker when a customer meets one of your employees for the first time face-to-face.
To Communicate Important Details
Let us be honest, who actually has time to read product updates or licence agreements really? Well, with the help of humour, you could possibly get your users to read that boring, yet important, documentation. Yes, you might not be able to change the wording of the end-user licence agreement, but your web design could include images that could make it less of a bore to read.
In A Chatbot
The use of chatbots in web design has become increasingly popular. Though, it is not good enough just to include a chatbot - it needs to have a human-like personality too! If you want your chatbot to be a hit, it needs to boast a warm personality. So, be sure to include some humour so that it is able to sustain a human-like conversation with your website's visitors.
On A 404 Error Page
Ideally your website visitors should always be able to find the web pages that they are looking for. Though, not even the digital world is perfect. So, in an attempt to try and alleviate your users' frustration when they cannot access the web page that they were searching for, you can use funny animation or images on your 404 error page. This is also a golden opportunity to create a link to existing website content so that your visitors will quickly be redirected to a web page that will possibly be able to answer their questions.
When Should You Not Use Humour?
As mentioned before always keep user experience at the heart of your web development and therefore including humour in your website is not always appropriate. For example, if a user has just been informed that he/she has insufficient funds in his/her account, humour is probably not the best element to include in your web design.
Also, the majority of your visitors want to complete tasks in a flash. Therefore, you must guard against including humour in your web design which will extend the time that is required to complete a task. Users will welcome witty comments while a page loads, but if you ask them to click on a joke when all they want to do is access their account it will be beyond a joke.
To Complete An Important Task
Most of the time users want to be able to complete critical tasks fast. So, avoid using humour when an important task (such as submitting payment info) must be completed as it can slow down the process or even lead to confusion.
When It Offers Inaccurate Info
Your visitors turn to your website for correct info. If you fail to incorporate humour successfully in your web design they will only start to trust your brand and service/product less. For example, it is best to avoid any April Fool's Day jokes completely as these too often have the opposite effect.
Whenever you are still unsure whether or not it is a good idea to include a dash of humour, you can test your website copy with users before going live. By first testing it, you will boost your chances that the use of humour will meet the expectations of your website's visitors. Alternatively, you can simply enlist the services of an experienced copywriter from the start!