Optimizing user interactions is a never ending quest in software development. Fortunately in our time and age innovative ideas are rapidly incorporated and improved by other developers.

In that mindset I present today jQuery Engage, a plugin that helps you optimize user interaction with blogs & articles. This plugin adds a social toolbar when the reader finishes reading an article. This toolbar contains customizable zones (comments, subscribe newsletter & share social) that help better convert your readers.

You can test the plugin by scrolling down this page! There is currently 3 content zones on this page. That’s a bit crowded and create quite a lot of noise but that’s customizable and you can have 2 zones instead if you like that better.

The idea

One of the first to incorporate this kind of toolbar was The New York Times. They show a small box at the bottom right of the screen with related content to the article. Not a lot of readers will finish an article and it usually means an interest in the content, at that moment he will likely quit the page or search for more content, the perfect time to show sharing options & related content to keep it interesting.

People are lazy and unfortunately a reader will rarely interact by himself if not pushed a little. That is exactly what this plugin aims at, pushing readers a little.

Make it more personal

jQuery-Engage gives you options to customize the texts depending of the period of the day. Better connecting with a user is one of the tools to optimize your conversion rate, for example talking about coffee in the morning, helps connecting with readers as they take a coffee, that’s the kind of thinking you want.

Highly customizable

The plugin has been created with the idea that there is a lot more content types that could be used in there. The architecture enables you to easily add your own content type into the toolbar. See the github readme for more information on this subject.

The unfortunate ugly

Like when using an infinite scroll the footer is rarely seen by the users. I added an option to close the popup but that is only going to help a bit. Personally, I don’t consider blog footers good converters and I much prefer using my plugin. But nonetheless you should be aware of this limitation.

The future

Related articles, ads, there is much more content types that could be integrated and I hope to add one from time to time.

13 thoughts on “jQuery Engage, a plugin taking a stab at better engaging blog readers

    1. Good one. But I suggest you can have a minimize button too similar to close. Close button is closing whole social toolbar and there is no way to bring it back unless you reload the page. Also I notice when I click reply to any comment it reloads the page I guess you have hidden #respond.
      #respond can be placed in the social toolbar and when someone clicks reply the social toolbar can be maximized

      1. Oops! I wanted to reply in the main thread. So I guess this needs further modification as user will not be knowing whom he is replying to as after clicking reply to anyone’s thread it just reloads the page without giving any hint of the current active thread where reply will be posted. I guess maximizing the toolbar on clicking reply without reloading the whole page would be better

  1. The overlay of your jquery plugin hides the bottommost, current comments.
    Apart from that, very nice looking plugin!

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