Experience Design

The importance of sprinkles

Matt Bartlett

Here at Ridgeway we love cake, something that my ever-increasing waistline will most certainly vouch for. But what is it that attracts you to a particular cake? 

Donuts with sprinkles

The likelihood is you'll already have a desirable ingredient in mind… personally I love anything with cinnamon, but what if there's a dozen cakes that contain the all-important ingredient you're looking for?

Well, if you're anything like me you'll then spend time scrutinising which cake's appearance is most delectable. In the end, the cake with the best sprinkles is the one that truly stands out.  As the saying goes, "the first taste is with the eyes".

The same can sometimes be said for websites.

Why stand out from the other cakes on the shelf?

Google recently reiterated that a website has as little as 50 milliseconds to capture the interest of a potential new customer, and it is an appealing aesthetic that will entice and engage, as well as improve that all important brand credibility.

Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors.

"Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors" Dr. Gitte Lindgaard, Carlton University.

It goes without saying that at Ridgeway we take great pride in creating award-winning designs for our clients. As part of any project we take considerable care to craft the right structure, hierarchy, space and typography to convey your brand, products and services, whilst keeping the websites main purpose at the forefront.

But the appearance of the interface is merely the tip of the iceberg (or icing) of what can be done to enthral your audience and really create that all-important first and long-lasting impression. 

Perhaps add some sprinkles?

There are plenty of ways to apply additional visual interest and incorporate a 'wow' factor but it really must be well considered too.

In many instances, visitors may have a pre-formed judgement and perception of your brand and the associated values already, so it is vitally important to match this experientially in the digital space with the right level of tactile impact, whether this be crafted for memorable eye-catching immersion, an inspiring interface or perhaps finely tuned to glean purposeful data or technical specifications.

A few examples piqued our interest recently. Why? Because of their purposeful tuned functionality and the right balance of creative brand alignment:

BeoPlay Website


Bloomberg website


Nixon website


Melanie F website

Melanie F

So, choose your sprinkles wisely

Now I'm not for one second suggesting that incorporating every visual trick at your disposal will make your website more appealing, far from it (see Lings Cars). It's crucial that your website's interface focuses on what's important, and remains clear and understandable to the visitor. As Dieter Rams famously said, "Good design is as little design as possible".

However, by adding beautiful, unobtrusive, well-crafted interactive nuances, you can add an extra layer of tactile depth (a level of digital ‘Haptics’) and an aura of quality, finesse and flair that compliments the site’s functionality, and improves dwell time or the discoverability of your essential content.

The icing on the cake

Sprinkles clearly come at a cost. Nevertheless, we wholeheartedly feel that investing more into considering these interactive elements will pay dividends towards improving trust in your brand and the manner in which your products and services are perceived. Finding the right balance between solid functionality and a compelling user experience could be the difference between winning and losing a customer.

When finalising the budget for your new website ask yourself, “What level of investment should I make for some quality considered sprinkles that will surprise, delight and capture the attention of my visitors?”

Not only could they compel the potential customer to choose you ahead of your competitors, but also help reduce bounce rates, increase conversion and could give you a significant return on investment… now wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake!

Want to read more about web design? Why not check out our articles on designing for the modern page fold and Five deisgn trends for 2017