Interactive websites are sites that utilize a number of different features to create a more interactive experience for users. While these interactive features can be fairly simple, since most websites include some type of interactivity, many of these features allow users to customize the site or create a more dynamic experience. These interactive aspects of a website often include the basic layout, any background images, and even the type of information displayed. Interactive websites can be more difficult to create than simpler sites, but they can also create greater user interest and long-term loyalty.
Though most pages on the Internet are interactive by their very nature, most interactive websites go beyond simple functionality and provide more options. A website that allows a user to check his or her email from a particular service, for example, is interactive simply by allowing the user to read an email and choose to delete it. Truly interactive websites, however, offer greater options and functionality. An email service that is more interactive might allow the user to create folders to organize email he or she wishes to keep or to search for email based on subject or sender.
Interactive websites can be developed in a number of different ways, and may provide a wide range of functions for users. Search engine sites, for example, can have a fairly clean and simple layout. These sites can be made more interactive, however, by allowing a user to choose the background image displayed on the site, by using background images to generate new possible search results, or by allowing users to quickly view a preview of a result through the search engine itself.
Websites used to play various types of media can also be made more interactive in different ways. This usually involves allowing users to create accounts and then set preferences. Users can select videos or audio clips as favorites to view more easily, alter the way in which the basic page appears, and even search for local content. Similarly, interactive websites used for weather reports often allow users to customize the site to display information that is more relevant to their needs or interests.
Interactive websites typically require more work, time, and money to create, but they can also be more memorable for users. Two websites, for example, might display the top news posts found on a number of different news sites. If one of those two pages, however, provides interactive features that allow users to customize the lists displayed, then users are likely to become more invested in that site. Interactive websites allow users to feel a greater sense of control or ownership over the sites they visit, which can create user communities and help users find useful information more quickly.