Humor is an important aspect of life. Researchers find that humor has many positive benefits.
Using your humorous side in your design can create a positive user experience. You want to develop positive relationships with your users and humor can help make that happen. Now how do you do it? That’s a good question. Thanks for asking it.
People, in general, enjoy humorous things every day. There are different humorous things shared every day. Whether it’s a funny meme, awkward photos, stories shared on social media or even quoting lines in movies that were funny. You can use humorous elements to add meaning like you might add an icon. Humor can set your website apart from others and help you build relationships with your users.
So what makes something funny?
Humor is extremely subjective. Some might think I’m very funny. I know I do! But something I laugh at, you may not think is funny. Or, you can make a joke in one setting that is funny but can be taken seriously in a different setting.
You need to understand the context in order to use humor appropriately. Researchers have identified different types of humor. You need to choose the type according to the situation to increase the likelihood of success.
When should you use your humorous side?
Use humor at the appropriate time and place. Remember that it can enhance your relationship with users. Mix in humor to build your brand and relate to users. For instance, if you have just completed a transfer of money from one account to another, you can use a humorous message about building their nest egg.
But if someone doesn’t have the funds to pay their bills, they probably won’t appreciate a humorous element that reminds them of their awful financial situation. Humor can also be too much of a good thing. It can be a distraction if used too much.
What about on your 404 page?
Many websites will have humorous 404 pages. This can help curb the frustration of users not finding what they are looking for when they encounter a humorous 404 page.
Good Old Games (GOG) has a great 404 page:
When should you not use it?
You can damage your brand if you use humor inappropriately or at inappropriate times. Don’t use it to extend your users time to complete a task. Most users want a quick and easy experience. For example, if you add something funny to a page-loading screen that’s fine, but if you make your users click through a knock-knock joke to access your information – that is not ok. Your humorous elements shouldn’t slow down progress for users that want to accomplish an important task quickly.
You also need to think about what type of company you have. If you are building a site that is a government agency, then humorous elements might not be a good idea on this site.
Just remember that you can do damage if you come across as condescending or insulting. Don’t prolong or distract your users from completing an important task. As with any design element, if using humor doesn’t improve user experience, then don’t use it.
So what do you think? Do you like seeing humorous things on websites?