What Are Interstitial Pages and Should I Be Using Them?

Paul Schetelich

Lead Designer

Interstitial space is becoming more important for web designers who have to decide what to do with the space they have. Each second on a website matters for the user, and it can make or break their experience with the brand. Between advertisements, bits of information, and forms to fill out, the interstitial experience is a vital part of the design process and should not be underestimated.

The problem that web designers have is how to make the best use out of interstitial space. If they don’t play their cards right, the experience can leave visitors annoyed or frustrated. How many websites have you visited that have plagued you with too many pop-ups?

Since you don’t want your visitors to be in the same boat, it’s important that your web designers understand how to use interstitial space effectively.

What is Interstitial Space?

Interstitial spaces are small web pages that appear in between other web pages. The pages are small and take up only a small portion of the overall territory. Many forms of interstitial placements are delivered by an ad server as an advertising space.

The purpose of these pages is to provide a small piece of information or request an action without taking the user to another page. More websites are using interstitial pages as promotional tools to encourage visitors to sign up for a mailing list or answer a question. These pop ups can appear at various times or frequencies depending on how often a visitor visits a site or how long they stay on the site.

Placement of Interstitial Pages

Interstitial pages can be placed just about anywhere on the framework. They are commonly used:

  • Over the full screen of a website

  • Over the main website design

  • As an alert or dialogue

  • Over the full screen of a mobile site

The pages take on many forms. They don’t always have to be a solid block over the web page. They can also appear as static web pages, videos, audio, animation, sliders and other types of effects. Basically anything that grabs the user’s attention and appears in between other web pages is sufficient.

Purpose of Interstitial Pages

Interstitial pages are similar to landing pages in that they are straightforward and direct. They include a call to action, a simple form to fill out and basic information about what the customer can expect. If the person isn’t interested, all they have to do is exit out. Because these pages are small, the visitor can exit out of the ad and continue on the website.

Interstitial pages can be used to accomplish many different goals. Some of the most common uses include:

  • Advertising

  • Email signups

  • Age or login verification

  • Related content for frequent visitors

  • Errors or related queries

  • Free vs paid apps

Should You Be Using Them?

It may seem like interstitial pages are just fancy words for pop-ups and advertisements. In a way, they are. So is it really necessary to take advantage of interstitial space on your website? Absolutely! Let’s explore some elements of good design for interstitial pages.

Consistency

It’s important that the interstitial elements on your email signups, login verification window or error screens match the tone of your site. They should carry the same color, font and messaging of the rest of your pages. If they don’t associate with your brand, visitors will look at them as being ads or pop-ups from a third party, and you don’t want this.

Direct Communication

Your interstitial pages should offer a good experience, and part of this experience will come from clear, concise communication. In just a glance, users should be able to tell exactly what you’re asking from them and what they can get out of it. It takes just seconds for a user to make up their mind. Anything that is vague or wordy will just confuse the user.

Clear Action

Many interstitial pages include an action of some type such as requesting a user to fill out their email address or answer a question. But not all of them have to be this way. Some pop-ups are clearly for informational purposes and include a fun fact or interesting statistic. The only thing here: make sure that the page is easy to click out of so that users can proceed without feeling like they have to complete the action.

Space Used Wisely

Remember that you are working on a small space that is competing for attention. You need to use the space wisely if you want to accomplish your goals. Each interstitial page should include one dominant image, one small block of text (about 100 words) and a button to click to complete the action. Also included in this space should be consistent branding and the ability to exit out of the page.

Valuable Information

A final point to think about is the type of information that is provided. Is it valuable to the user? If you want visitors to sign up for your monthly newsletter for tips and tricks, your newsletter should be worth signing up for. Or if you have something meaningful to share, make sure that others visiting your page would think so, too. Also be sure that when you present the interstitial page, it’s done at the right time. If it’s not appropriate, it won’t feel natural.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that interstitial pages are not just ads. They are an opportunity to promote your brand and help users navigate, shop or explore your website. The best experiences are always natural to users and help bridge the gap from one page to the next. When the experience is obvious, it helps site managers collect the right information at the right time.

 

About the Author: Paul Schetelich

Since the days of sidewalk chalk and finger paints, Paul has been creatively crafting the art of design. With a B.A. in Graphic Design from Monmouth University and a Masters from the Califano School of Art - Paul quickly moved up the ranks at SEMGeeks from Junior Designer to the Lead Designer. With 4+ years of experience in web design Paul is ready to conquer the digital atmosphere.

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