Blog Insights
Design Series: Creating Continuous Engagement

This is the third in a four-part blog series, Building Trust and Credibility Through Design, based on a webinar led by Forum One’s Vice President of Design. Watch the webinar

Fostering ongoing engagement is essential for building a community of passionate supporters and advocates. After understanding audience needs and employing design tools that build credibility and trust, let’s explore how design can maintain engagement and develop a sense of community and loyalty among your audience.

Think like a musician

Those who have played music in a band or orchestra or sang in a choir understand the profound impact of an engaged and participatory audience. Musicians feed off the responses of their audiences, and this can make or break a performance. As someone who participated in band, chorus, and musical theater growing up, I can attest to the impact of that participation. 

In turn, audiences, once they’re engaged and trust in the performers to deliver the experiences they signed up for, are converted into fans. Fans continue to not only buy tickets and go to concerts, but they’re spreading the word: telling everyone else about how awesome that band or performer was.

Similar to performances, designs weave stories. So how do we ensure that the end users turn into those fans who come back to re-engage with your products, time and again?

Design Strategies for Long-Term Trust

One powerful strategy is to create immersive and interactive experiences that invite participation and collaboration. From engaging social media campaigns to interactive website features, every touchpoint should provide value and foster a sense of belonging.

User-Centric Design

One thing that a good band gets is the need to make the experience for their audiences easy and fun at the same time. Design your digital platforms with the same user experience in mind. Ensuring that your user interface navigation is intuitive, that your content is easily accessible, and that interacting with your products are seamless will go a long way in encouraging visitors to explore more and engage with your organization.

For example, Forum One worked with the Oregon Zoo to redesign their site as part of a strategic effort to deliver an inspiring guest experience and better convey the Zoo’s offerings and impact. The Zoo needed their site’s design to incorporate their new brand while also focusing on the mobile experience that many of their visitors rely on to plan their trips and navigate their journeys. We worked with the Zoo team to build an accessible, multilingual, and mobile-first digital experience. We balanced this responsive design with delightful interactive features like load animations, hover effects, and striking photography to highlight the Zoo’s impact. Starting with a focus on creating a user-friendly interface made all the difference.

Regular Updates and Fresh Content

Just as new releases engage music fans, you can design for your experiences to support fresh and relevant content. New information, stories, and updates about your mission and activities will encourage repeat visits and ongoing engagement from your audience.

Interactive Content

Designing your experiences to be interactive will make them feel more engaging and dynamic. Like a good ask-me-anything session with your favorite artist, these bits of interactivity boost engagement. Consider adding interactive elements like quizzes, polls, and interactive infographics into your content. These types of features encourage your audience to actively participate, keeping them engaged and invested in your mission.

Of course, these should be aligned with your goals and mission. They should be balanced with the rest of your content overall. So if you’re a smaller non-profit, you may only need to consider focusing the interactivity on your site into one or two areas. Look at data to understand where folks tend to interact most to see if you can enhance that experience and increase engagement by adding interactivity.

Compelling Visual Storytelling

Use visual storytelling techniques to communicate your mission and impact effectively. Compelling imagery, videos, and animations can evoke emotions and inspire action, keeping your audience connected to your cause.

Forum One recently partnered with the Smithsonian Institution to develop an immersive, multimedia storytelling experience, narrated by actress Rosario Dawson, that focused on highlighting women’s contributions to history which are often missing from America’s historical record. 

The first challenge we encountered was how to tell a visual story about missing content without accompanying assets. Our team created original illustrations and crafted a digital storytelling approach featuring immersive scrolling animations accompanied by audio and curator interviews to bring these stories to life. 

Assessing the access to assets early on in the project helped us understand the focus for creating new illustrations and animations later on. These were key to creating that immersive experience.


Consider tailoring your content and messaging to meet the interests and preferences of your audience. You can also use data analytics and user segmentation to deliver personalized experiences that resonate with individuals on a deeper level.

Next: The final part of our design series focuses on accessibility–after all your work to design products that are responsive to audience needs, build trust and engagement, you want to ensure you’ve created digital experiences that welcome and respect all users.  

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