Websites are designed to fulfill a specific set of objectives. To do this, we add different features and functionalities that enable users to complete tasks such as listening to music, watching videos, purchasing items or submitting forms. All these features are made possible by website widgets.
What is a widget?
A widget for webs is a third-party application that is embedded into the website’s body. It is programmed for a specific functionality and comes in many forms. Some of the most common widgets include a website calendar widget which indicates the current date and time, a countdown widget for websites that are about to launch, a Facebook widget for website that enables users to share content or view a brand’s social media stream without having to visit the actual Facebook page.
Widgets expand the functionality of a website by providing new features without the need to write code. A website can be like the shell of a house, already designed with different sections (or rooms). A widget is like an appliance that makes a section more than just a container. It makes the section functional.
Widgets and User Experience
Free website widgets enhance the user experience by enabling visitors to run tasks online without the need for human interaction. Many widgets are programmed to simplify processes such as secure checkout, appointment reminders and reservations and customer support. Users are more likely to interact with your website when it is easy for them to complete tasks for which they visited your site. For instance, if you are a music producer, a typical visitor might want to listen to the tracks in your portfolio. Embedding a music player widget makes this possible.
In general, when people are able to do specific tasks and can easily access information on a given site, they tend to perceive the site as reliable and are more likely to come back for the same tasks in the future. Free websites widgets, in this regard, can enhance the user experience of a website.
Free widgets for websites with codes are also handy for website owners in that they do not need to have technical expertise in web development to build functional and feature-rich sites. By simply adding different plugins and widgets to their website, they are able to address user challenges and requirements. On Strikingly, for instance, it is fairly easy to add a website widget or plugin through the internal app store.
It’s important to note, however, that while widgets are generally lightweight, installing too many of these plugins on your site may weigh it down and affect user experience negatively. When a site has way too many widgets that a browser has to run, the website tends to load slowly. Carefully plan out what kind of features your site should have and only add important widgets.
Common widget examples
- Social media widgets - an Instagram widget for website may be designed to display your most recent posts on that platform. If you are tracking a brand- or service-related hashtag, you can also display a stream of posts that mention this hashtag on your site. Similarly, a Twitter widget for website may also display your most recent tweets or mentions of your Twitter handle on your website. This is a good way of displaying testimonials and live mentions to your site.
- Website calendar widget - a booking and calendar widget for website may come in handy for service-based sites or professional websites. It enables users to book reservations or appointments automatically. With a calendar widget, you may be able to display dates when you’re free to attend to customers or publish schedules for classes or online seminars that you may be offering.
- Countdown widgets - similar to calendar plugins, a countdown widget for websites may be useful for building hype for an upcoming event, product or service launch or even a new website. If you put a timer plugin on a limited time offer announcement on your site, users can feel a sense of urgency and may be more motivated to make a purchase.
- Customer support widgets - chatbots and email support widgets are also great in building and maintaining customer relationships.