Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
I actually wanted to hire someone to do this for BCC but shot the downloadable version of the product in the head instead, which largely solved this problem.
This page was written back in ~2006. It has probably consumed five hours of my life since then, answering just one particular query. The customer complaint was "I can't find the Purchase Now! menu that you tell me to click on." Guess why.
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"On macs the menu bar is at the top of the screen, not in the application window, like it is in screenshots of Windows applications. Many people cannot abstractly reason that if they are looking for a menu bar and menu bars are on the top of the screen in macs then the thing they are looking for should be at the top of the screen. They also routinely do not understand that either a) they are looking at a Windows application (you do, but you're freakish in your ability to understand that the consistent UI guidelines give you important hints like the window control buttons) or b) Windows and Macs are not the same or c) Windows and Macs exist."
If a consulting client told me they were worried about poor rankings because of low keyword recurrence on their landing pages I'd tell them that on-page factors wouldn't make a difference for head-of-the-distribution terms either way and you don't need re-occurrence to rank for tail terms, so that is probably not a terribly big worry. Having insufficient text on a page to rank for anything is a bit of a worry. If you're trying to satisfy the competing imperatives "Conversion rate/user happiness goes up when we take text off" and "Rankings go up when we add text" the solution I'd recommend pretty quickly is "Put the text below the fold, where only Googlebot and the sliver of humans who actually enjoy reading will see it."
User experience testing can go a long way, but a lot of things are not going to be evident until it's been field tested, especially since the people working on it have been staring at it for months (I'm thinking of the classic "Why do I select 'start' to shutdown the computer?" story, for which a link evades me at this moment). The best thing to do here is not be married to your design or flow and know that you're going to have to tweak or refactor it, and do so purposefully.
I started getting customer support requests complaining that the "Download window could not be clicked on and was stuck to the web page".
Turns out users thought that the explanatory screenshots were the ACTUAL download dialogs and they were trying to click the images in the web page. Oops.
Turns out I needed to resize the screenshots and discolor them slightly so it was obvious they were the REAL buttons to click.
FWIW, some savvy folks I know suggest rotating them such that the screenshot appears to me at an angle to the monitor (hold your right hand up such that it is parallel to your screen, now rotate your writst back an inch -- like that), which apparently cuts down on this misconception quite a bit.
I guess Dropbox users are probably on average a little bit more knowledgeable about how browsers work than that... I hope.
If you distribute software to non-programmers, check your stats for # of downloads started vs. # of applications started (or new users). My guess is that they are way off:
Most computer users do not know what a "Downloads" folder is.
I just downloaded/saved something, why do I have to spend time "re-finding it" if I want to access it in another context?
It is still not optimal, but at least my mom is able to do it now...
With the install badge you could also detect if it was already installed, and launch rather than download.
It would shock you how many people would download and install an app every time they wanted to run it.
There is no wonder why something like the app store on iOS is used by so many non techy people and so popular. Especially when you think you could install apps on phones before this...
I see this as more of a no-brainer for a software download than a standout example of brilliant UX.
Also, it seems like a "no brainer" now, but during the development it's easy for these no brainer things to either be ignored or written off as a waste of valuable engineering time.
I haven't had a single request for additional instructions, ever.
Sometimes it's something ever so slight that makes the difference between a conversion and a bounce.
I learned today that one of my friends (up until this past summer) thought that the internet was something on her computer.
I hold this person in high regard as one of the most intelligent people I know, she just doesn't know computers.
In the best case, it solves the niggling inconvenience of having to click on the correct browser extension to install.
In the worst (and far more prevalent case), poorly coded browser-specific behavior stops me from accessing websites at all if my user-agent doesn't match something on the server's limited whitelist, or nags me continuously to download a "modern" browser while I am, in fact, running the latest build of Chrome or Firefox, simply due to a poorly configured regex.
The second biggest problem is actually with software like Dropbox that's cross-platform, and the download page automatically chooses the version I want. Dropbox itself actually gets this right, by presenting small links to each specific platform right under the main download button, but I'm always running into sites that make it hard or impossible to get at a specific platform's version different from the one identified in my useragent string.
Maybe it'd be better to highlight the correct option for people who don't bother to read the text?