Design and UX March 3, 2020

Why are there so many emojis on indie websites?

Vahe Hovhannisyan @vhpoet

I started noticing it on Pieter Levels projects a few years ago and now it's everywhere. It seems like a big chunk of indie hackers are using emojis (for UI components) on their websites these days.

IMHO these emojis are usually not pleasing and give the website a scrappy look. I'm sure I'm missing something here, and I'm interested to hear your take on this.

Thanks!

  1. 3

    Used as a way to show they're not too corporate/try and inject some personality into it and be more friendly etc.
    I do hate it when emoji's are used to replace words, but just writing that makes me feel like an old man

  2. 3

    I think it's a deliberate choice to use them. Just because it's not your cup of tea doesn't mean it isn't someone elses!

    I'm sure there are articles and tests done on this* but in my opinion emojis make things seem a lot friendlier and less button-up/stiff. So many people use emojis everyday, so its a) something that the designers and content strategies may actually use on their own, thus to consumers it says "we speak your language" and b) it sets up the site as a trusted friend

    I definitely agree that there's a time and place for them and that people can take it too far - but that can be said about anything. At the end of the day if they tested the site with their audience, they've done their job.

    *edit: a quick search tells me there are a ton of articles on this:
    https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/emojis

    1. 1

      emojis make things seem a lot friendlier and less button-up/stiff
      to consumers it says "we speak your language"
      it sets up the site as a trusted friend

      Yep, all of these make sense.

      Thanks for the article, reading it now.

  3. 3

    yeah I agree and personally can't wait for it to go away
    but i think it's people following along with something that worked for a notable indie hacker

    it started out as a good way to add visual aid to a website and grab attention on tweets but now I just find it annoying

    the quickest way to get me to close a landing page is to greet me with:
    Hi 👋👋 This app was made with 💞 love. Let me know if you have questions, I don't bite 😈 check it 👇👇

    (literally scrolled down indie hacker twitter for a couple to grab some examples!)

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      Hi 👋👋 This app was made with 💞 love. Let me know if you have questions, I don't bite 😈 check it 👇👇

      This is genius! 🤣🤣🤣

    2. 1

      haha yea I see what you mean. Another distinct thing I noticed is the lack of padding. Everything's usually pretty dense with small fonts. On the other hand, as I mentioned in a comment above, a good thing about identifying with certain recognized aesthetics is giving the user an instant context and culture behind the website.

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        I'm not much of a designer so the other stuff probably gets lost on me but to your point about culture/context - I find that I assume this is a product made by an indie hacker looking to market to other indie hackers, not a broader marker

        can't say for sure why I make this connection but it's interesting to think about

        at the end of the day, if someone uses a ton of emojis and it works for their business, then all the power to them

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          I find that I assume this is a product made by an indie hacker looking to market to other indie hackers, not a broader marker.

          Yep, I had the same thinking.

  4. 2

    It's part of the indie aesthetic, perhaps inspired by @levelsio, whose designs have been very influential. I'm not sure who inspired him. I think Product Hunt? And they're also big on emojis.

    Ultimately, emojis can be a friendly way to communicate and get a message across. It's not the worst thing in the world to have a scrappy website. In fact, depending on your target customers, it could be better, especially in the early days when you're looking for early adopter enthusiasts.

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      In fact, depending on your target customers, it could be better.

      This makes sense. Even tho I don't necessarily like the UI, I recognize the style right away, which gives me an initial context on the personality/culture behind the website.

  5. 2

    I think that it is a signal that this website doesn't have content strategists and UX teams behind it. I agree it can go both ways.

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      I have a feeling that people deliberately use a lot of emojis but I don't know the context behind this.

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        It is the indie cred / culture. :D

  6. 1
    1. Emojis are a universally understood language 🌍

    2. Use of emojis makes your marketing/communication/messaging simple, friendly and saves screen/page real estate. All these 3 attributes help to reduce cognitive load and increase chances to convert a generic visitor ✔️

    3. Perhaps even more importantly, in the era of swiping and skipping (due to an infinite amount of digital content/noise), use of emojis allows to save time on reading, writing and reacting (emoticons). Time became the ultimate currency and humans tend to adopt any techniques/services/tools that allow to save time ⏳

  7. 1

    I am going to blame Slack for this!

    1. 1

      Hmm now that I think about it, Slack also uses some emojis, which I never realized before reading your comment...