Fictive Kin

Showstopper Modules

If workhorse modules are about nailing best practices, Showstoppers are about throwing caution to the wind. They’re where you can show off a little bit and highlight the best parts of your brand.

These modules are deeper, richer experiences and are very design-forward. We sometimes call them “Wow Moments” because they get the visitor to stop and savor the moment.

Because they require more time to implement, your showstoppers should highlight the most enduring and important parts of your business, organization, or products. That said, “Because it’s Cool” can be reason enough in the right circumstances.

Here are some examples of Showstoppers:

Stripe’s Interactive Globe

Stripes globe tells a story of global reach but does so in a way that shows off the team’s design and engineer chops. An easier, but less impactful solve would have been to just show an image or a gif of a globe.

Seed’s Home Page

National Geographic Timeline

For our work with the National Geographic Society we were tasked with creating a module that would immersively tell the story of the incredible history of their organization for their 130 year anniversary.

On your website, as in life, there can be too much of a good thing. Too many showstoppers will hurt, not help your metrics.

The downside of showstopper modules is that they can be expensive to produce and are quite brittle. If the underlying story changes, you typically need to throw the entire module away because it will resist modification. (Of course, this doesn’t stop organizations from trying).

Let’s revisit Seed’s website for a moment. The video above was taken about a year before we started writing this primer. In revisiting the site, we noticed that the product line has expanded to two products. As you can see below, this already starts to break the flow.

If down the line, they offer more products or change from a pill to medicated drops, it will become even tougher to make the experience work.

A Note on Showstoppers

As beautiful as they are, they are not strictly necessary. If you don’t have the time or budget initially to do one, don’t fret. You can always add it later.

In fact, a decent strategy is to launch without them and use data to identify what part of your story is most resonant with your customers and then subsequently add a showstopper to more deeply tell that more validated story.

Of course, if money is no object and you’re trying to make a huge splash with a new brand, by all means, go wild.