The essential functions of any website are static. In fact, the best performance comes from having streamlined and simple commands to run every website feature. A good website is built from machine pieces that fit together seamlessly, the same way every time. The UX, on the other hand, is all about responsiveness. Interactive features and UI elements are what bring a website to life for the client. Websites that respond to mouse movements and adapt to user choices create a feedback loop between the site and the client. Not only can they make use of tools and services on your website, but they will immediately feel as though your site is a place that cares about their input - because the site itself responds.
For WordPress website owners, adding interactive features is simple. All you need is the right plugin and an idea of the experience you want to provide. With the help of expert WordPress developers, you can hone each interactive feature option into a uniquely rewarding online experience for customers and leads.
Let's take a closer look at the types of interactive plugin features you can install into your website user experience.
10 Types of Interactive WordPress Plugins to Bring Your Website to Life
1. Interactive Map Plugins
One of the most popular interactive features is an interactive map. Any business with a location has a reason to install one to help customers find their way. Today, a static view of your region is no longer enough for online leads. Heat mapping will show that users now automatically click, scroll, and attempt to drag any map seen online. The assumption is that the map will be interactive, so why disappoint?
It doesn't take much time to install one of the many interactive map plugins and configure it for your business address. If you have multiple locations, a responsive map becomes even more important. The right plugin can allow you to detect visitor location and present the nearest storefront or show all the nearby locations to choose from. Then users can drag, zoom, and route to help make their choice.
2. Live Forms and Surveys
Data collection has taken a front-runner position in website design. You and the clients benefit when you better understand their needs. While background analytics have their power, interactive forms make quick survey questions easy to ask. The right user interface can even make your questions fun to answer, which will win more willing responses and a greater collection of data.
The same methods are popular for necessary form-filling. Online medical exams, for example, now often feature responsive and visually rewarding pre-exam paperwork methods to remove the traditional clip-board tedium.
We encourage you to explore multiple styles of live forms and interactive surveys. Some deliver through the chat window, some function like pop-ups, some appear as part of a scrolling page, while other send through on-site messenger.
3. Voice Command and Response
Brands getting ahead of the curve are experimenting with voice-responsiveness through their WordPress website program. Websites, mobile apps, and smart home skills are quickly approaching a singularity and clever brands are preparing for that ahead of time. There are a few WordPress plugins available that can help your brand get a jump on the competition in terms of website voice responsiveness.
Not only does a voice plugin put your WordPress site on-track for smart home skills, it also allows you to up your disabled-user accessibility game as well. Build voice commands and responsive features into your website now and you'll be by the time your competitors are getting into the game.
4. Interactive Booking and Calendars
If your business offers consultations, appointments, or scheduled services; then a live calendar is a natural upgrade. Interactive booking features allow your online clients to explore availability and even test your appointment feature on their own time. There are several ways to represent a live calendar, and your brand may help define the best style and interactive features for your website.
For example, your default calendar view might show a grid of the entire month, or half-hour slots for the next five days. You will likely want to detail what happens after a user clicks on an available time or date, including the UI they see and the interactive options available. It's always best to include appointment management side-by-side with an interactive booking tool. This allows your users to make, reschedule, cancel, and re-make appointments experimentally and according to the fickle demands of modern life.
5. Adaptive Themes & Backgrounds
Dark mode has taken the internet by storm, as many users switch almost entirely to a white-on-gray browsing style. There are styles that reduce blue light and those that enrich colours. Many websites are going avant guarde with unique new palettes, freed from the conventions of the classic black-on-white website design. The right use of colour for your website depends on your brand and ideal user experience, and you can expand that with responsive themes to enhance each user's personal experience of the brand.
There are several WordPress plugins available that make adaptive themes available. Choose from a neutral selection or hand-tailor alternate themes to best reflect your brand colours in a new light. Create an attractive dark-mode in which your brand colours pop from the charcoal background, or let your users tailor their individual colour signature throughout the website with personal themes.
6. 360 Viewer Walkthrough
The single most immersive interactive feature today is the 360 viewer, available through a variety of current WordPress plugins and extensions. The 360 degree viewer allows users to "walk" through a virtual environment and look around at their surroundings. There are two ways to make use of a viewer - with 3D rendered virtual environments or with 360 photography and film.
In both cases, users can move from point to point, then click-drag their viewer to look above and around them. This takes your users directly into the virtual environment, whether you are selling a home, renting a venue, or creating a digital space for virtual events.
7. Animated Images & Infographics
Animated web pages and graphics have become all the rage. They are among the most lightweight ways to add responsiveness and charm to your website design. Small animations of simple vector graphics can literally bring your web page to life. It may have started with rolling stats and self-filling bar graphs, but today we can see many types of animated web pages and graphics.
Infographics are among the best examples for animated graphic use. Each stat in an animated infographic can demonstrate the point being made. The depiction of figures taking action, boxes moving, data flowing, and more can help viewers better understand what is being conveyed.
8. Floating Photo Galleries
Websites looking for simplicity and subtlety in their responsive features often favour the floating photo gallery. Galleries are essential for many business models, from architects to charity groups to pastry chefs. The photo gallery shows clients the results of your previous work, whatever that may be. Galleries can turn leads into customers, and customers, into sources of new wonderful photos.
The responsiveness of the gallery can be understated or blatant, Images change size and appear to float into focus as the user's mouse scrolls over them. Clicked images may visually float above and scale larger than the others for full view, then file themselves back into the row when dismissed. Live photo galleries with floating animation draw users into the viewing experience without overtaking the content itself.
9. Interactive Social Walls
Social media has spread like the suburbs into websites and brands across the internet. Rather than staying limited to the giants like Facebook and Twitter, we've found that users enjoy forming individual social media groups on smaller platforms as well. Brands with user membership, profiles, and messaging can benefit from adding an interactive social wall.
Social walls function like social media platforms, allowing users to publish posts and comment or respond to each other's posts. A social wall enhances the power of any online community because it gives your users a method and inspiration to come together. Like many page-style features, a WordPress plugin can be found and configured to create a brand-unique social wall experience fo your users.
10. Live Chat with Humans or Chatbots
Live chat has been a rising star for about 5 years, having emerged from the cutting edge to become an industry standard. If your page does not yet have live chat, it's time to upgrade. There are many approaches to live chat, but the best is to always have an interface ready to talk. Whether you have a live team of associates or a savvy chatbot, make sure that someone is there to greet new users and answer questions. You can also mesh your live chat feature with an interactive form - helping users to ask and answer questions or book a consultation on their own.
Good live chat automation can give users a self-service portal hand-in-hand with a direct route to human assistance. Combine this with a UI that responds every time they type or send a message and it's clear why this feature has become so widespread with a rich variety of use-styles.
The Right Interactive Plugins for Your Website
Every interaction with a client is unique. Your brand and clientele define the best way to build an interactive website as your online venue. With a toolkit like this available, you can pick from the best selection of plugins for your site, then have them configured to perfectly reflect your brand and ideal user flow. Contact us today for more on tailoring interactive plugins to upgrade your WordPress site.