How to Connecting With Users: Incorporating Humor In Web Design

Joan is applying for a small loan on all-online-loanzzz.com. She’s becoming frustrated with the number of financial-disclosure forms she has to fill out. She’s thinking about visiting her local bank to ask for a loan instead.

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While waiting for a page to load, the application presents a cartoon image of a person wearing a business suit sitting in a jail cell. The image caption says, “Hey, everyone hates disclosures. We know you do, too. We’re doing our best to keep everyone out of jail. Please bear with us for a few more clicks. You won’t regret it, and our loan officers will stay out of jail.” Joan smirks at the image. She might not appreciate the number of forms she has to complete, but she understands the serious nature of applying for a loan.

Humor is an important aspect of life. Researchers find humor has many positive benefits. It can reduce stress, increase psychological well being and increase tolerance for pain. Most of us have had experiences in which we’ve used humor to lighten a mood or cheer someone up. Humor is integral and inherent to human relationships.

We can use humor to enhance our users’ experience. (Image: Brandon Sax) (View large version)

You can use humor in your design (both in the process and the product) to create a positive user experience. We want to develop positive relationships with our users — humor can help make that happen.

But how do I do this?, you might ask. Do I need to be a comedian? Should I format all of my FAQs as knock-knock jokes? The answer is no to both of those questions. You can incorporate humor in your design, maintain your brand identity and not look like you are trying too hard in the process.

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