“Juicy Web” — The 2023 business website standard
Static websites have been around since HTML was invented in 1990.
They consisted of display of text, rudimentary styling, some navigation to subpages and links.
Basically a written text with the most simple interactive layer.
If it weren’t for global competition over customers, employees and investors we would still be in that era.
But are we, really?
Do we still fuel up with leaded gasoline and insulate walls with asbestos?
Fast forward 32 years later, our lives connected to the internet are elevated and have completely intercepted our day-to-day lives.
Websites are far from what they used to be and “we” — the users — have expectations on how things should be in order for us to be able to navigate.
We have aesthetic expectations which, if not met, will have us not trust a brand or company.
Our rising aesthetic expectations bring forward the necessity to elaborate on what is called the Juicy Web.
Origin of “Juicy”
“Juicy” is a term from the video game industry that describes the process of applying aesthetic, animated, interactive and behavioral improvements to change the experiential quality of a game without necessarily altering the functionality of a game.
The exact same principles can be applied to websites, where Juiciness can be added to improve the experience without changing the contents or functional purpose of a website.
The Juicy Web on the rise
Patrick Collins, Founder and CEO of Stripe famously said “Make your website your most important marketing asset.” And that’s exactly what Stripe is doing. Hundreds of startups have since copied them as their benchmark.
Today, certain companies are about to disrupt the global economy with hyper growth speed and pour millions into their online marketing and branding.
A substantial part goes into making their website the most important marketing asset.
They’re the benchmark.
They show, not tell.
They know that 95% of the first impression of a website is based on looks, not information.
They know that visitors have an ever-shrinking attention span.
They need to grow as fast as they can.
Those companies see growth of >300% CAGR, have hundreds of millions in funding and set the bar for business website experiences higher than ever.
They sell their SaaS products, solutions, life style products, apps, services and technologies via online channels and attract millions of potential customers every month, measure their behavior, session time, dropout rates and conversion rates.
They feed all the learnings and data into suggestions of how an already excellent experience can further be improved.
Chances are, there’s a leader in your industry, paving the path towards tomorrow and you’re sitting there wondering why you’re not converting as good, why your potential buyers aren’t as convinced, why trust isn’t established or why the top employees aren’t as willing to come work for you.
Here’s why static website owners lose
There is an ongoing trend from static websites to The Juicy Web.
The Juicy Web is full of life, but not in an overwhelming way.
Its websites are incredibly intelligently designed experiences with tons of beauty and entertainment. They compel by having one of the most important values shine through: Doing things high quality, thorough and with attention to detail.
If your brands public appearance looks unhealthy, it means one thing:
You hand them a red flag not to do business with you.
Visitors get a good indication of what to expect.
Case Study: Scale AI
In the last decade of commercial activity I noticed one thing more than anything else. For some reason many of my clients believed an experience is about knowledge transfer.
If we were purely rational creatures that would be true. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s take one of the most extreme examples: Scale.com
What you can objectively observe is a technical representation of an animated 3D geometric sphere morphing into an icosahedron and back with the material surface of an oil spill.
At its core, the company scale.com receives video, image and lidar databases from its customers to then label and annotate the data for it to be returned to the customers so that they can build their self-driving car software, robotics picking software solution and many more.
How much relevance in terms of knowledge transfer does this colorful artifact have?
What Scales sales leaders, marketers and designers deeply understand is there’s true value in entertainment. It’s flawless execution.
Each website visitor is gifted value in form of aesthetic entertainment. In return, the quality and beauty of the execution builds a mental connection between the users dopamine triggered neural receptors and the brand Scale.com.
They invented a for its industry unique kind of visual language to communicate abstract concepts using reflective geometrical artifacts to build a bridge to complex and intransparent processes, allowing the user to derive meaning via the visual language as a substitute from having to understand how it actually works.
Why can they pull this off?
Scale.coms industry is hardly understood by anyone who’s not an AI engineer or with similar profession from the space – even for their customers a hardly understood topic.
For scale.com it’s not even within the range of possibilities to try and explain the underlying technology to their buyers in the short attention span for their marketing website.
Therefore Scale focuses on surface-level entertainment and exploration which pays off a hundredfold.
Scale went from its launch in 2016 to over $120M in funding only 3 years after launch. Today the startup is worth more than $7.3Bn (2021) and secured more than $600M in funding.
Scale wasn’t the only one to discover the unmet demand in the industry at the time they were starting out.
There were 100s of competitors trying to win in the same category.
Many of which had smarter engineers, more substantial technology developed, 10 times better products, more diverse team setups etc…
It didn’t matter.
The winner takes it all.
The winner is the one who entertains.
Life is a stage.
It’s all about show.
It’s all about capturing attention.
And there’s hardly a better place to invest efforts and resources than making sure the company and sales website experience is outstanding and magical.
Nowadays you can’t really get away with garbage marketing & sales assets if you want to achieve a thriving business.
8 billion humans collaborating as a global society allows for diverse thinking and skillsets applied across all professions. It means good sales gets the support of good design, which gets the support of good marketing and development and so on.
Ideally everyone’s good at what they do (talented, experienced and motivated) while well informed about the needs and requirements of their dependent counterparts.
A part of that means that designers have the capabilities to create the Juicy Web for their clients/employers.
The other part means clients and managers of designers have the knowledge of the business value they can leverage if they achieve Juicy Web outcomes.
Web technologies provide a plethora of creative potential
The average bandwidth increases exponentially according to Moore’s Law.
After 2005 video content started to elevate custom web experiences with a permanent trade-off for low-bandwidth visitors who wouldn’t be able to access content that would drain too much data.
One big benefit of code based web experiences to creating motion is they don’t need to rely on frame-based pixel sequences (sigh… even video/images are pure code on some level, but let’s keep it simple here) but rather use a compressed sub-set of web accessible code vocabulary as a framework and system to recreate a creators thoughts visually, interactively and in motion and can thus provide extremely low-bandwidth-draining content of highly entertaining impact.
The argument for low-bandwidth code based animation technologies doesn’t mean video content is not less engaging or interesting. Video is still and will be a central component in Juicy Web.
Analytics give more insights than ever
More than just tracking average session times, user locations and cookies, for an in-depth understanding of user journeys you can get perfect recordings of user sessions using tools like Hotjar.
Hotjar and many other analytics tools allow to understand how users use your product very detailed and gain insight whether an experimental section of your website might perform well or not, allowing you to build, deploy, test, validate and optimize in very little time.
Positioning the Juicy Web as a trend
“Cloud Computing” became a thing around 2008 and was regarded as a novelty for the majority of the public. In reality, it’s just an evolutionary process that has reached a point where a set of rules could be defined as a category of already existing infrastructural commodities.
Much like how Larry Elisson comments on the novelty “The Cloud”:
When coining the term Juicy Web the intention is not to define a new category, rather label an era of an evolutionary process.
Juicy Web experiences are nothing new, but grow in significance until they’re a standard without which a website is not going to be able exist.
The history of the internet categorized the 1990 web 1.0 with custom hand crafted websites hosted on servers in your own garage.
Then the 2004 web 2.0 came along, allowing any human being to create their own profile in a social network, essentially providing tools to build a personal website within minutes, with notable examples being MySpace and most importantly Facebook. The real breakthrough moment of no-code (=hundreds of millions of non technical people were able to create their own websites without having to program anything).
Since 2019 the term Web3.0 has been generating a lot of hype — Web3.0 was originally coined by one of the Ethereum Founders in 2014. Its core characteristics is having overhead blockchain technologies forced onto online business models that don’t actually need them and don’t provide any value-add to the end user. The hype will go away eventually, maybe taking the name Web3.0 into its grave and demanding Web4.0 to be instated sooner than we think.
From a pure value perspective, No Code and Juicy Web have actual business value to offer for the internet economy and thus will inevitably make anyone become acquainted with them.
The Juicy Web is the counterpart to the no code web.
The no code web stands for automation and inclusion for builders on the web. While the no code web allows for increasingly higher productivity and enables non coders to create online businesses and web experiences in low time and money investment with tools like Shopify and Webflow, the Juicy Web is applied in places of highest competition and traffic where every bit of additional aesthetic quality, uniqueness and effectiveness results in significant revenues. These places can afford to build custom to hit additional percentages in effectiveness.
The Juicy Web will inevitably produce new standards which feed into the automated generation processes of both the no code web and standard creation processes of traditional web software development.
An example of that would be the expanded dropdown menu navigation on desktop websites, which has been around for 20 years, but has become a commodity UX solution for modern websites only after 2020.
Professionalization = Specialization
Whenever an industry professionalizes, it increases more opportunities for specialization. This doesn’t mean, jobs are replaced, it means additional jobs are added because a single professional cannot become an expert of the entire field anymore.
The amount of demand in an industry justifies the extreme in specialization and focus on ever more narrow categories. For the simple web (web app products excluded), the amounts of job specializations related to design in the web has multiplied, coherent with engineering which has seen an even more extreme increase in specializations.
- There is clear business value and hardly any risk involved in adopting more Juicy Web for your business, given the business intends to grow or sustain size. Consider budget reallocations and higher relative investment into Juicy Web experiences.
- The Juicy Web is utilized by the best funded, fastest growing companies with the best teams in the world. A lot can simply be copied or used as close inspiration for your own purpose requiring no R&D costs other than finding what you want to apply and then adjusting it to meet your purposes.
- Early investments in The Juicy Web have a high return. Late investments have the risk of losing market share and destroying your own business.
- Juicy Web is being built with technologies, frameworks and libraries that satisfy the requirements to reach wide audiences regarding sustainability, browser compatibility, user experience expectations, bandwidth requirements and security standards.
- If your business is in a competitive market with promising future potential, even double and triple rates for specialized design and development teams to achieve excellent Juicy Web experiences are nothing compared to the potential opportunity to be seized.