Spice Your Website with Randomness

Random formation

The Appeal of Randomness

Constructing web and mobile applications with an element of randomness is known to attract users. People like to be surprised.

Such randomness is used in the hot BeReal mobile app, where users are asked at a random time during the day to take a picture and share it with their friends.

Chatroulette was a hugely popular web application where you are matched randomly with strangers for a video conference. Though today it is largely out of mode.

Apple Music lets you shuffle a playlist that, combined with a repeat option, creates a pleasant background music effect.

In the Amazon bookstore, you can electronically read parts of a book before buying it, with a *Surprise Me option to read some random section.

Randomness in Computer Games

Computer games have been using randomness for years in two primary forms.

  • 1. Input randomness in which a player is brought into a seemingly random landscape with other game actors appearing at random.
  • 2. Output randomness in which the player's actions have a non-deterministic random effect in the game world.

The above examples of randomness in applications are all instances of input randomness.

Introducing Randomness in a Web Application

Placing your users into the framework of your web application with random surprising elements would create pleasing stunning effects.

So we want to generate some input randomness without creating an astonishing game-like atmosphere that is not functional. You want your users to achieve some goals using the functions of your web application. Output randomness does not seem helpful, as people wish to have deterministic well-defined effects of their actions in any application you can think of.

Randomness Through Shuffling and Sampling

Generating random sampling or shuffling of your product images, your portfolio as a creator, or your blog posts might be good.

You still want to maintain rough chronological order of your blog or portfolio within months to display a logical correct evolution.

You might want to float some random sampling to the featured section.

In a product catalog, even within constraints of personalization and popularity statistics, a mix of a bit of randomness in the order would have engaging effects.

Testimonials and other forms of social proof can significantly benefit from some element of randomness.

Introducing randomness creates a non-routine and surprising feeling of your web application to repeat visitors. This will make the web application more interesting on each repeated visit and increase engagement.

Mixing Randomness In

To have a proper mixing of randomness needs, an algorithm that preserves some constraints. In a feed, such as a social feed, or blog, you need conditions of chronological order broken into weeks, months, or quarters.

Mixing randomness into a catalog should be within some clustering of personalization preferences based on first-party data collected by the site.

Floating popular products should observe popularity, with some mixing in a measured proportion of randomness.


Without lots of algorithms and mathematics, and with whatever tech stack your web application uses, you should be able to spice it with some randomness.

Yoram Kornatzky

Yoram Kornatzky