The online world is no longer viewed as a stagnant source of information. People don’t log on to find information and simply leave to go on with the rest of their days. Instead, the Internet has become a place to connect, to converse and to learn from what’s going on in the lives of others. It has no boundaries, it has no limits; instead, it has become a hub of dynamic connections based on conversations.

It’s also much more than that. Conversations don’t spark on their own; they’re based on something more, something deeper. Some would argue that emotion is the driving force behind many online conversations, and they could be right. Emotions spark action, and many times, that action is a conversation, whether between individuals, between brands or a combination of the two. With this in mind, what have you been doing lately to start conversations? Check out a few of the ideas below to use design to incite emotion for starting valuable conversations.

Minimalists Go Far

For far too long, web design trends focused on the extreme, on busy web designs that put everything a visitor could hope to find in one place. The problem? These designs were too complex. Instead of sparking conversations, they led to frustration.

Enter minimalism. This trend has been taking over the Internet with good reason. Minimalist-like designs touch on single emotions, guiding online visitors to a specific action or to notice a specific page item. Doing so makes more of an impact while empowering your audience instead of confusing or frustrating them. If you’re looking to spark a single emotion, think minimally and design accordingly.

Create Connections

Yes, bonds can be formed online without even seeing a photo of another person; as humans, we are able to connect on multiple levels. However, the process can be expedited when images of others are a part of it.

High resolution portraits and photographs throughout your website can incite emotion based on connection, which is optimal for starting conversations. While we can interface with computers, most of us prefer to envision who we’re talking to. A photo can demonstrate a personality, an attitude or other individual traits that separate one person from another. Take it up a notch by including video, and the emotional response will not be a question, it will be a given.  But as we all know, sometimes it doesn’t take a human’s touch to incite emotion.  Instead it take’s a paw’s touch.  To see this in action, I find few brands do this better than Havahart. Their social networks (marketing for engagement) are covered in images allowing their users to connect and reminisce on memories of their beloved pets.

Havahart Critter Show

Be Outright

If you’re looking for a specific emotion, use common sense to incite it. If you’re looking for a humorous reaction, add something comical. If you want a visitor to feel surprise or anger, use statistics and images that could lead in no other direction.

The design you use, the images you choose and your overall layout has the potential to stir emotions in the same way a news story, a conversation with a friend or any other real life interaction could. Use your personality and the personality of your brand in your design to spark specific emotions.

Start a Conversation With Your Design

If you want your visitors to connect with you, to understand what you’re all about and to want to converse – make it simple. By including design elements like quotes, calls to actions or contact boxes, you’re leading them toward your own end goal. Incorporate actual conversational elements into your design to spark emotions and start conversations; it’s that simple.

Trigger Memories

It’s a proven fact that many human interactions are based on memories, conversations of times in the past or a spark that brings back some long lost event or feeling. Your web design can do the same.

With images relating to a throwback product, you’re reaching deep. This picture can bring back positive memories for your target demographic. A background song that’s a part of the collective memory of a specific generation can do the same. Design elements that spark memories tug at something deep within and lead to a sense of connection, which leads to a likely conversation.

Never underestimate the power of emotion in design and the power it has to start conversations. Whether you’re looking to bring together a specific community, to connect in a new way or for some other form of interaction or action, emotions can spark conversations. Use your design to get the process started.