Somewhere in 2013/2014 I came across a music video I really liked. The video featured a couple of well clad men behaving like jackasses, and the music was calm and sophisticated. A universe full of contrasts. And most of all, the video footage was really beautiful. I’m talking about Graceless by The National

This post isn’t about The National, though, but about the web unvierse of a videographer I really admire: Sophia Peer.

After having seen the video, I searched around the web in order to find more information about the director, and found my way to Sophia Peers website. And what an experience!

At first sight, the site seemed very simple. It almost looked self-made. It was basically just a logo, navigation, a list of references/projects and the possibility to see one video at a time.

Screendump of sophiapeer.com from jan 01, 2014 – from The Wayback Machine

Navigating through the site, I noticed that each time I hovered over a link, the background color on the entire site changed. To begin with, it was a bit of surprise, but it quickly turned into delight: It basically meant that each visit to the site would be a unique experience, because the colors were generated randomly based on the users interactions.

And this is what creating a memorable user experience is all about: Making delightful surprises for the user. Aaron Walters delves further into the concept of surprise and delight in his book Designing for Emotion. Have a look at that one, if You’re interested in the topic;-)

So, a couple of days ago, I visited sophiapeer.com again. Ufortunately, the site had been redesigned during the last couple of years. The aesthetics remained more or less the same, though. But what about the surprise and delight moment?

Screendump af Sophiapeer.com, februar 2019
Screendump of sophiapeer.com, february 2019

Well, the new site is even better than the old one! When scrolling down the list of videos/projects, the background color changes randomly when hovering over a video. And the video is animated randomly also: To the right, left, up or down, or even rotated around one of its corners. So there’s even more surprise and delight.

Screendump af Sophiapeer.com, februar 2019 - videoerne tilter, når man kører musen hen over dem
Screendump af sophiapeer.com, februar 2019. Læg mærke til “suprise and delight” elementet.

Its a small and simple solution, but it works wonders. At least for me. A big high five from me:0)

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