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Ideas on how to improve customer conversion and ease of use (goodui.org)
555 points by florian95 on July 5, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 146 comments



Meanwhile a distracting footer covers >25% of the page, and clicking the intuitive "down arrow"-looking thing does nothing, nor is there an obvious close button. You close it with that ├╝ber-readable burnt-orange-on-charcoal link "Ok, enough already. Hide the footer." Either they assume the user scans for "Ok," when wanting to close something, or that they skim sentences from the inside-out. If you do close it and click it again, which usually means "reopen", you instead get scrolled down to the bottom of the page.

Do you trust any advice they have about user interfaces?


NoScript wins again. I didn't even know there was a problem until I went back and deliberately turned on scripting for the domain.

(I mention this just because in the periodic NoScript debates that show up here, I think people don't believe me when I say for every site it hurts, there's another site it silently improves.)


I agree completely, people always tell me that NoScript is too much of a hassle to use. But then two sentences later they'll complain about how ads cover content and distracting UI elements make it hard to navigate. I'd say 75% of the time I'm much happier with the NoScript version of websites.


I agree on the footer, but I'd go ahead and assume it's 100% intentional.

If I had to guess, it's to entice people to scroll down. I don't think it's done perfectly, but I do think the execution of this idea is better on http://goodui.org/howtoabtest.html

The fact that there is something there, and it's kind of hidden (at least on my screen) then there is this natural curiosity built up..

It's important to have good content to draw people downwards, but when you combine good content with small psychological tricks-- it might just pay off. The guy has 17K email subscribers and that is a lot of people who do trust him


Ugh. It felt extremely weird to read an entire article with that thing obscuring such a huge part of the bottom of the page. The best description of the feeling that I can think of is that it kind of felt like I was reading it by shoulder-surfing somebody else's browsing session on the train.

That, and the general focus of the content itself, put across a message of conversion-centric design rather than human-centric design. Ignoring the way a person feels while interacting your design just to increase signup conversions. Not nice.


Agreed, horrible interface - I didn't work out how to hide the banner. And the banner combined with the large font and big separation on the page made my reading feel really restricted - couldn't read it easily.


The footer is completely broken on the iPad

As I scroll, it keeps reappearing right in the middle of the content, then flashes away after 2 seconds

When I got to the end, it was nigh impossible to actually get the footer to show (or whatever the sign up box was) I finally got to enter my name but then going to [Next] on iPad just made the whole thing disappear and I couldnt get it back.

I like their ideas, really dislike their execution, that was a frustrating experience.


Totally agree with this, although they didn't invent the tips they're giving out, so there is still some value to the content.


And for me on my desktop the footer was so un-noticeable that I had to go back to the page to even see what it was that you had an issue with.


^ The x percent (of people still browsing the web on massive monitors) represent! (really? come on... surely not everyone's watching on laptops and tablets and phones at home?)


Don't be so hard - I think their page looks really nice and the suggestions make sense. I'll be using them when we update our landing page.


Not when their second advice is ... give a gift? What's that got to do with UI?

Edit: It's a good idea, great marketing idea, in fact. But when you're advertising ideas to improve UI, I will be quicker to judge...


Yeah, this is marketing/ad advice, not UI advice.


Their mobile experience is crummy. Words stacked up on one side, footer covers either part of the first page or part of the second.


The footer isn't so bad on a rMBP, but that's still not a very good excuse for why it's so big on lower resolution machines. I did find the information on the page quite helpful.


This is a trend I've noticed on a lot of sites that is unavoidable but still makes life harder for some. Now that everyone has high-resolution displays web elements tend to be built at larger sizes to get the same effective size on the newer screens. However, for people like me that spend half their time on a 1366x768 laptop, the elements just look huge and little meaningful content fits on the page. This is true of sites from The Verge to the new Google+ layout to even the text size on Medium.


Huh? All browsers on my rMBP upscales images( and css font-size specified in pixels )to match what the dimensions would be if the resolution were that of a standard 72-100dpi monitor.

Are there browsers where virtual pixels are not automatically scaled on retina displays?


What resolution are your running your rMBP at? I'm on 1920. When I change my settings, to the default resolution, things get worse.


I'm currently using a Dell U2410 display with a resolution of 1920x1200 and the banner was abnormally large.


I couldn't even see the "close" link because my font was too big and there was nothing that indicated that something was hidden.


I have to agree ... the footer is pretty stupid. I didn't even see a way to close it until I read your comment.


oooh! so _thats_ how you hide it :)

I actually didn't see the footer at all, shows how my brain learned to keep me sane.


And completely broken on iPhone.


I agree. Footer is annoying


I can certainly see some valid points. It's a bit unfair to judge fair points on the (poor) design choices the website made.


If your domain name is goodui.org and you lead with "A Good User Interface ... is easy to use." you'd better be damned serious about user interfaces. That's my take.


You are really harping on the footer.. I don't think that because you have 1 simple disagreement in his UI makes him "not dammed serious about user interfaces". The guy makes his life with UI.


Then it's a case of do as I say, not as I do. It's not just him who has a problem with, I did as well. And so did a bunch of others who had half their devices covered in landscape and almost 1/4 on their tablets in landscape.


Dear HN, just because someone makes a blog post about good UI elements, doesn't mean you need to shit on details big or small about the specific site (e.g. the big footer).

For most people, this is a great way to understand the possibilities for different UIs to test. Instead of just copying others, you can think more abstractly about the UI ideas.


It's not just people's desire to shit on something in order to feel superior (although that's likely quite a bit of it).

It's the fact that if you have a website dedicated to good user interface, and you want to be known as an authority on good user interfaces, and the site on which you intend to launch or grow this authority has a completely FUBARed user interface... I think it's fair to point that out.

Orange text on dark background? Whatever, it's perfectly readable unless you have poor eyesight. Footer taking up a full third of the page with no quickly discernable way to close it? Definite problem and cause for concern regarding your purported authority on that very issue.


Have you seen his conversion statistics?

Good ideas often seem bad. You can't know until you've tried it and measured it. At least he's trying it.


A decision than increases metric X is not necessarily a good decision. Consider companies that jack up prices of gasoline and chainsaws after natural disasters. They make a boatload of money doing it, but they also accrue customer bad will.

I'm sure he gets a great sign-up rate from that highly-visible form, but if readers are irritated by it, what negative impact is it having for him?


False comparison. The biggest problem with your example is not lost customer good will but that you're breaking the law and risk getting fined/shut down.

No one says you don't have to be smart in picking the metrics you measure.


what negative impact is it having for him?

That is a good question. Assuming there is some goal beyond signups (retention?), then if you cannot or are not measuring it, then that is the biggest problem.


If his goal is sign-ups, why does it matter how irritated those who don't sign up may be?


Typically sign-ups are not an end goal, but rather a means to get money or involvement. How has Experts Exchange been doing on that front?

Focusing on metrics and simple minute behaviours while disregarding the big picture lead to evil user interfaces.


It's possible there's no immediately apparent close button because the lack of one forces you to read through the copy to figure out how to close the box, which is probably better for conversion rates. I know I wouldn't have even known there was an option to subscribe otherwise, because I would've headed reflexively straight for a close button in the upper right.

Whether that's ultimately a good UI choice I can't really say. Is not being able to find a close button quickly enough so alienating an experience that it would cause many users to turn away or never come back?


I agree with everything you said, but would like to add that apart from having very poor contrast, which does affect readability, orange text on a dark background is also quite tacky. Halloween colors.


Hadn't even thought of the Halloween bit! That's a good point.


The HN header has never spooked me.


I read the page at 1920x1200 and I didn't even notice the footer until I started reading the comments in this thread. Once I saw it, it did feel odd though.

Only after this did I realise that one must pay attention to smaller screens too while thinking of UI design. (I am just a developer and almost never did any UI design I must admit - but it was an observation that seemed interesting to me).


What's particularly interesting about the big footer as a UI problem here is that it underscores the trickiness of balancing good UI with converting. For instance, people came to hate popup windows, and they became anathema to a good UI. However, the reason they were used is because they succeeded in getting the user's attention.

Likewise, in this article, the giant footer takes up half my tablet's page, yet the author does this because it contains his call to action.

It is completely fair to point out the irony of an article about good UI design residing on a site with questionable UI design. And while many of the points made were common sense or already known to me, I did learn and/or refresh a bit and so personally appreciated the article.

Still, it would be good to get more insight about the far trickier question: how to engage and compel users to your call to action without having to resort to offending them with popups, giant footers, etc.


Just to not do anything that offends them. If that means no popups, or giant trailing footers, then that means no popups or giant trailing footers under no circumstance whatsoever.

The call to action has to be non-intrusive. And that's probably going to depend on the type of call to action, though I think that if he had left the footer as it was intended to do (the offer comes after the article is done, once you read the whole thing and you're sold, as is the traditional approach that you know, sells) it would have worked much better.

It's hard to read through a slot, and who wants to do that?

So a marketing page needs to be easy to read and give the call to action at the end.


Thank you. I really wish the #1 comment here were something debating the merits of the article rather than questioning the author's ability to implement his own advice.


On one hand this is true; on the other, this is a result of the horizontal (flat) treatment of comments that make pedantic comments appear the same as deeper ones.

The one upvote button just means that people agree, not that they think it's an important, insightful comment, and that's why we see those comments float to the top.

As the OP, in this case and others, I wouldn't too much into those comments, because I too know how skull-numbingly hairsplitting and pedantic comments here can be - or seem.


Or seem? That's very polite (and smart) of you to say. I'll be the dumb one that comes out and says they are pedantic. Period. We have some great ones and a lot of "I'm smarter than this guy, look at me, [commence pedantry]" comments. If they appear pedantic they are.


You are free to chose a different topic in this thread to contribute to if you don't feel like discussing the big footer. You can talk about more than one topic per submission; that's why HN is a tree, not a linear board.

Also, to "shit on details big or small" is, in other words, to provide (somewhat constructive) feedback, which helps both the site author (if he/she reads it) and us here learn and grow. This is the whole point of HN.


If I may offer a little critique:

I'm on the really-hates-the-footer camp. It's off-putting. See the thing about the footer is that you already broke rule #2, you're trying to close the sale(it's not a gift, I know you're trying to get me to sign up to your newsletter) So putting it out like that is just obnoxious, and no one likes an obnoxious salesman. You should have just put the offer at the very bottom, once I read your article and I'm liking what you're saying, when I'm half-sold, not the large black footer that cuts out 1/3 of my screen, and I'm on an old macbook air, so screen real-estate is important to me at all times. And as was noted by ascimo(sic?) in this thread, on an android device it literally blocks the content!

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5996040

The other thing is that it kinda doesn't sell you, which sucks because I'm sure you're a great dude, but you're telling me I should sign up because you're awesome, you're smarter, and you have way more fans than me. If you would have told me how it would have made my life easier, or the holy mantra (increase revenue, decrease costs) then it would have had a better shot.

The other thing is the headline, then copy, then picture layout of the bullet points. This goes against how we scan things, which is picture then headline then body copy. Visual, then bold and big, then small print. When you scroll down, the first thing you see is the picture, and then I have to scan up real fast, and then read down. Watch yourself and you'll do the same thing.

Also, that text is not organized in columns, so it makes it hard to read. Dividing it into two columns (like, say, a book, the epitome of the two column layout) would be so much easier to read and in turn, sell me more on what you're saying.


I usually have my NoScript turned on, and it was a very pleasant read because I didn't even realize there was a footer there until I turned on scripts. In my opinion, the experience was better with the scripts off, even if the font wasn't as cool. I got the value from the article without the scripts on and footer missing.


You got the value because you were able to read through the thing already. However, the other side of the argument is that people are getting turned off immediately and never read the content, so they don't get any value at all, and worse, get pissed because the footer was all up on their face.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that this sort of footer is a good case for a GUI anti-pattern. It literally hurts your sales.


That's exactly what I'm saying -- I read through it all because with my scripts turned off, the footer didn't appear. I didn't even realize it was there! So, yes, case in point - maybe I wouldn't have read it at all with the footer, although it's hard to tell now. When others started commenting on the footer, I had to go back to the page, turn on the scripts and then I was like, "ok, that's big!".

The content of the article was good nonetheless, but I don't think the footer added to it, and probably took away from it a bit.


The newsletter is the gift. You don't pay for it, and you only sign up if you like this free content and want more.

All of this is just gifts to get you to know/trust/like them so that maybe in the future you'll buy their service.


That's the thing though. In the end, let's be honest, it's about money. We all know newsletters are to get us into your pipeline, and you know what? Maybe so, but not right now. Calling it a gift is just a bit arrogant. Especially with that footer. How is this guy going to get me to pay money on UX advice with that footer? I bet that's the common line of thought around here

And here's good a/b testing though, accidental as it was, because it was the people who read with noscript on that got the footer at the end and actually liked the content and it was those who saw the footer that got frustrated and didn't even read it.

Also, maybe I'm on the footer list? I hadn't thought about that. In that case, pencil me in as didn't like it, haha!


I agree on hating the footer, but I have no opinion on your criticism of the content, because I didn't even read it because I was straining to focus on the actual site through the tiny slot provided.


This is probably the majority opinion of people who come from smaller devices. I too had to strain to read it, but kept on. I'm 25 with good eyesight, but as you said, that tiny slot is just too much to bear.


I'm 21 but I have poor eyesight. A footer(or a fixed header, which is my pet peeve) like that is an insta-close for me.

If I'm really interested it's a right click to change the element style to display:none, but even that inspires some resentment in me.


The concept of "Good UI" covers way more than "a few quick pointers for selling a product".

Kinda like going to a page called "goodcuisine.com" and finding it's a dozen suggestions about cooking and topping hamburgers, with half the points dwelling mostly on arranging utensils, and a big persistent chunk of the page devoted to disposable plates.

Great domain name, squandered.


Good advice (heavier on presentation and marketing than true UI), but that footer bar is godawful and terribly intrusive IMHO.


Agreed on the footer. All I did was look for a way to close it. In general, I hate any part of a page that scrolls with me unless it is a tiny tiny header or tiny tiny sidebar.

Also, it may just be my machine, but it seems like a lot of these characters need some antialiasing.


His blog isn't much better: It blatantly ignores several of his own tips.


As I scrolled down, reading each point, I began to notice something happening to the number of each item in the periphery of my vision. It took until point 5 before I figured out what it was: the circle around the number is dark grey until it gets to around the top quarter of the screen (on my screen, at least) at which point it becomes light grey.

I'm still trying to decide if this is a good idea. Now that I have inferred it is functioning as a kind of visited-link visual effect, I can leave the page, return later, and quickly pick up where I left off.

Then again, none of the points are long to read. Worse, I've left the page after finishing reading point 7 and have no real interest in returning now, let alone after enough time has passed that I've forgotten where I left off (in which case I would likely also have forgotten what I had already read).

In other words, I'm inclined to think that this is mainly a needless visual distraction that actually disrupted me from reading the piece and has ever-so-slightly nudged me toward the decision not to bother returning to it.

That would seem to fall under the category of Bad UI.


I thought I was just going crazy when I noticed something happening, but couldn't tell what it was.


They actually provide an easy way to get back to the next point to read, even if you've left and returned. Pretty cool!


Seems alot like advertising instead of real nice UI. Recommending instead of showing equal choices is pretty bogus - how do they know me?


>how to they know me?

They know you're human. More than that, odds are you are an average human.


Well, it puts "high conversion rate" before "easy to use" in the very first sentence, so I kinda guessed that if there's a choice to be made between "good for the product" and "good for the user", the former path would be taken. And I would say that that choice has to be made quite often in UIs...

(Never mind that generically talking about "UI" when it's just about online page layot -- and not even the entirety of that -- is a bit misleading and/or exaggerated.)


It's not saying use some kind of development trick to ID your user. I believe the purpose of this tip is to make a stronger emotional connection with the users.

By using a recommendation as opposed to just a list of choices, that lends itself to a more "personalized experience" -- even if that list is exactly the same


the purpose of this tip is to make a stronger emotional connection with the users

Actually, the idea is to "make them" make an emotional connection with product.

This is as nice as the Japanese using robot pets to keep the elderly company. This is not an emotional connection, this is playing tricks on fools to sell them shit they don't need.

Whatever happened to the idea that maybe, just maybe, some people land on your page for whatever reasons, and not because they have any use for what you're selling? That you're not entitled to every single last one of them? If they see 5 products, and don't really want any of them, what's the problem with that? Why nudge and prod and leer ever which way?


I disagree with your drastic metaphor. I don't think that using a single word: "Recomended" is any kind of masterful psychological ploy. It's very subtle, and undemanding.

And a trick is only a trick if it dosen't work. Otherwise, they are providing value. Even if it's just a Japanese Robotic Dog.

If you consider it a "trick", then I would suggest you look into "Dark UI patterns" -- there is no intention to deceive.

"Whatever happened to the idea that maybe, just maybe, some people land on your page for whatever reasons, and not because they have any use for what you're selling? " -- then why would the user even be there? It'd be a void of information, without attempting to provide value to the user (even if the value comes in the form of a item they need to purchase).

Prodding and nudging have negative connotations attached to them-- and I really don't think that just by attempting to humanize a the user experience deserves such harsh judgement.


> I disagree with your drastic metaphor. I don't think that using a single word: "Recomended" is any kind of masterful psychological ploy.

Where did I call it masterful? What even gave you that impression? Huh.

> And a trick is only a trick if it dosen't work. Otherwise, they are providing value. Even if it's just a Japanese Robotic Dog.

The question is, to whom are they providing value, and what value is it. Just "providing value" is like "being safe", it's, to quote you, a "void of information". Maybe just skip to doubleplusgood, same thing.

> If you consider it a "trick", then I would suggest you look into "Dark UI patterns" -- there is no intention to deceive.

There's always something worse. There's always something better, too. For starters I recommend "Politics and the English Language" by Orwell (or anything he wrote on writing really, consider it a crash course in intellectual honesty) and this http://fadeyev.net/2012/06/19/moral-design/

A trick doesn't require intent, either. An insect might camouflage itself just because it happened to evolve that way, no thought process involved.

> then why would the user even be there?

Because it's kinda hard to see what's on a webpage without going to it, duh...

This is like having a pet food shop, and then wondering why some people even look at your shop, when they don't even have pets, or don't want your pet food. This is how mindless the web became in roughly a decade. Just astonishing.

> Prodding and nudging have negative connotations attached to them-- and I really don't think that just by attempting to humanize a the user experience deserves such harsh judgement.

What do you even mean by "humanize" in this context? I know what it means in electronic music, to just shuffle stuff around so it seems human when it's really not. So either rephrase, or thanks for making my point for me.

This is about conversion ratios, not the human condition, unless I missed something. This is about making gifts so people feel like they owe you something, making sure the gift is less worth to you than what the average customer will give you for it. This is about acting nice while not actually being nice.

I wouldn't care as much if people groomed by marketing wouldn't also fall for politicians employing the same tricks, and maybe if the web could retain a bit breathing room from all the huge fonts and "hero shots" that show you "what you'll get" (a woman holding an agenda, that's the product? No wait... gotta love how marketers can't even help bullshitting each other).


But how is that not psychological trickery?


Because it's not intended to deceive. It's intended to provide additional value to the user.


The part where they offer alternative choices is for you.

The part where they suggest a choice is for people who don't want to make a decision is useful for many others particularly including potential customers.

The fact that they recommend offering both options here makes it good UI. Far better to do that than only offering one option.


I like this, but what is the point of the "Looks like you have 16 unread ideas" part? A user is only going to see that when I first land on the page, and hence it's always going to read 16. When is a user ever going to scroll back up to the top to check the count after having scrolled part way down the page?


Its meant to be a list of ideas thats occasionally updated (hence the mailing list). If you go back to the page, it will instantly tell you if its been updated or not (assuming you kept the cookie).


2, 4, 7, 9 and 12 have nothing to do with UI. They are just marketing methods...


This is a fair point, but marketing and a good UI have many things in common. The UI is how you interact with a product, and the marketing is how you communicate with your ideal viewer.

Those numbers are marketing methods, that use the UI as a medium for communication.

Without the UI, this marketing method would be useless and have no value.

edit: I think that the blending of the marketing mind with the designer/developer mind is actually yielding awesome results. The author of the site has really come into a groove when combining successful marketing methods with bleeding edge UI techniques. This is a valuable idea and I'm excited to see if the author can keep producing this level of content.


Right but the UI tips can be used in many applications, the marketing tips just apply to specific cases, like when talking to a potential customer.


It's funny how these trends change. Once upon a time, a one column layout would have been boring, and we all ran to frames to give us columns. I guess I'm just old-timer enough now to start seeing the changes.


Multiple columns still make sense for certain types of content. There's a reason news papers still use them centuries later.

Single column only works on a single page/article/concept being shared. Beyond that, it gets a bit silly to get from point a to b, but there are times when multiple columns still work.

Maybe when I'm done with reading, I like to check out related links on the side. I'd rather not scroll all the way to the bottom to do that. Or if I run an ad, I want to make sure the placement (though still outside the main body of the article to not be distracting) is still at prime real-estate.

Do X for a better Y is always tricky business. It's sometimes not as simple as one column.


Funny to think about. Like in the 80s/90s when digital graphic design got big and everything was stuffed full of heavy textures and raucous splashes of colors. Then we got a grip and started scaling back to minimal. Same thing happening with web design?

Probably indicative of a larger trend too, as the web continues to intrude into all walks of life, we'll see a scaling back on all sorts of levels. Things like the Slow Web movement emerging (whatever happened to them?)


That's probably why it says "try" one column.

Boring is good in some contexts. In this case conversion rate optimisation. No distractions allowing you to focus on the call to action.


Heh, "Try Giving a Gift instead of closing a sale right away". I start to read this sentence and a giant email signup footer pops up, covering it.


The advice is the gift


I personally reject the notion that "...A Good User Interface has high conversion rates and is easy to use". I don't agree that it is a requirement that a good UI has high conversion rates. In fact I would argue that software can have a good UI and poor conversion rates. A good UI is responsible to the user only; it's not called a USER interface for nothing.


If a user experience designer designed a club, there would be plenty of space, bright lighting, comfortable furniture, the bathrooms would be clean, plenty of bartenders and the menu would be in 18 point sans serif font. Meanwhile, everyone would be at club Coyote Ugly pouring beer on each other.


Game designers for clubs, UX designers for the DMV :)


This is a great list of resources!

I'd be very interested to see how well it converted, as it would seem that the main idea is to get people to sign up to Jakub's email list (which I have done on the strength of the material).

Jakub, would you be willing to share your conversion numbers from the influx of HN traffic based on this page? Maybe send it out in the newsletter I just signed up for :-)

edit why the downvote?


I'm one of those who has signed up. I guess I'm probably one of the many developers who are also really bad at copy out there also. (As you can see at usehuman.com)


I checked out your site. One quick suggestion is your list under "Reasons Companies Choose Prospect For Hiring"

If you're going to break up a list into two columns, the numbered items should travel vertically before continuing in the second column, it's the natural reading style for people in the West.

ie. (*edit HN is collapsing what should be vertical numbers on separate lines into one line)

1 2 3

(column 2)

4 5 6


Any empirical evidence to show any of these things are actually good? Some "seem" to be common sense (e.g. less form fields to lower sign up friction) but a lot of the other things appear to be what one UX designer thinks it's a good idea rather than anything that might actually help you.


Your target audience is going to heavily influence most of these.

At a previous company our target audience was older women. We A-B tested every single element on our landing page, and I can tell you, using the advice on this site would be a complete disaster.


It seems like these are more ideas to try than hard and fast recommendations. Think of it as 16 ideas to try that may improve conversion, rather than 16 things to do that will improve conversion.


Any examples? Would be interesting for many of us here


I can give some examples but my point was basically you have to test for your specific desired user base, and these kinds of posts don't really mean much.

Some things that we did: autoplaying videos. enormous graphics and big text. lots of "as seen on !". landing page was probably 6000-7000 pixels high and the form was near the bottom.


I love this guide and I love how it's presented. The ideas look easier to use and definitely look nicer.

I would, however, be weary of implementing these ideas for the purposes of improving conversion because there aren't any numbers with each improvement. How does this author know for sure these ideas improve conversion? If they have been split-tested, this article provides a very good starting point of ideas for your own tests.

I'm not urging against trying these ideas though, definitely not, but please do test these for yourself. There are loads of factors which may make these ideas less ideal, such as your market, your product or service, your branding; the factors are potentially unlimited. Use a good A/B testing tool and measure impact on your conversions when implementing these!


Testimonials are one of the things that make me skip things right away. I would explain why, but I'm afraid that would at best be used to find ways to circumvent that, and deprive me of one of the litmus tests for mediocrity and needyness.

Speaking of needy: Calls to action I accept from activists, but that's it. Just describe the service or product, name the price, instead of treating me like a moron who needs to pulled along the funnel. Keep your gifts, too. Well, all of that depends on your target audience I guess - I surely am not in it, phew.


It's really surprising to see a comment like this, so wrong on something and yet upvoted. Crucially, your view is entirely anecdotal - a much better argument would be "Testimonials are a bad way to sell things because X" where X is a reason that is valid and tested.

Unfortunately, X for you is either highly personal or based on a faulty understanding of persuasion because social proof is incredibly powerful as a persuasive technique - research, testing, and daily commerce bear it out. It is tried and tested and used by marketers and businesses everywhere. The reason? Social proof works. Knowing that someone that you lend credibility to thinks that this thing is good/useful/etc helps you make a decision about it, whether you think it does or not. Content tends to inherit the value that is near it (e.g. important people, powerful companies, athletes, etc). A patio11 quote is in order here: "content which bears social proof will, in A/B tests, often ROFLstomp absolutely equivalent content lacking social proof."[0] Dr. Robert Cialdini's Influence has an entire chapter on social proof.

[0] http://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/05/31/can-i-get-your-email/


You're getting pretty uppity about testimonials here. Regardless of them being effective persuasive techniques, they're still just persuasive techniques and I imagine a lot of people dislike persuasion getting in the way of content. I happen to agree with the OP that testimonials tend to make me believe that the product lacks enough substance to be useful by itself. In any matter, it's a personal preference and no amount research changes that.


You've completely rehashed the OP. My point is that it doesn't matter what one individually believes on the subject of testimonials and the effectiveness thereof - they are indisputably effective for selling. Presenting anecdotal evidence that there exist people that dislike them does not change that and is worse than saying nothing because you give people the impression that testimonials are somehow negative.

We're on an internet message board talking about conversion optimization. Statistics don't care about personal preferences; your competitors will laugh at them straight to the bank.


On the contrary, you're extrapolating too much from the OP. It was never presented as a universal impression, and I really doubt anyone took it that way. However, the anecdote is useful because it shows that there are people who absolutely hate testimonials. Which is a useful lesson for anyone who might be blindly using testimonials as opposed to actually analyzing their users. The OP never challenged the statistics or suggested that testimonials are always bad.

To say that users sharing their anecdotal negative experiences about what you claim is an indisputably positive experience for the user is an interesting argument to make though. It's almost like you're telling the OP that it's good for them whether they realize or not.


> My point is that it doesn't matter what one individually believes on the subject of testimonials and the effectiveness thereof - they are indisputably effective for selling.

That it works on people just means it works on people, not that it's not lame, and not that it works on me. Which , if you read carefully, is exactly what I said.

And I don't believe, I think. And I have good reasons for what I think, too. I would even say I know to some degree. If you don't care about that, that's fine; but notice the irony of you telling me what you think (or what "statistics think" which is saying the same thing with less courage).

> We're on an internet message board talking about conversion optimization.

Yes, and? I find reverse engineering and defeating techniques of manipulation much more intellectually stimulating than just fawning over them. Not that I did that here, but then again I clicked this think because it claimed to be about UI, which I care about, and just typed up my initial reaction to it.

They got my eyeballs with that, so now they have my testimonial, too ^^

> Statistics don't care about personal preferences; your competitors will laugh at them straight to the bank.

You must mistake me for quite the short-sighted, selfish, materialistic asshole to believe that would impress me. As the Italian proverb goes, "after the game, the pawn and the king go into the same box.", so I'd rather laugh on the way from the bank to there, than on the way to the bank, like some complete noob.

You can't buy integrity; you can either develop and keep it, grow numb to the lack of it, or wake up in a cold sweat one day. Statistics don't decide such things, they're not even an indicator. Statistics don't care for the same reason rocks don't care. Statistics don't decide for you, at best you hide your own decisions from yourself behind statistics.

I'll go you one further: If you go by statistics, you can be scripted today by skilled people, and tomorrow by script kiddies or their AI equivalent. So personally, I stay away from that. When I finally do get pushed aside I'd like that to be a genuine loss, not a net improvement, you know?

I'm hoping the world will move towards more honesty and less alienation, and that integrity pays off in the long run. Sometimes I'm vaguely optimistic even. But if the mindlessness and materalism continue unabashed, I'd say humanity is over with - and whoever gets to stuff their pockets with the most money is the biggest fool of all, but certainly no idol of mine, especially with all the amassed inability to think or talk straight.

You go by the assumption that sales at any price are good, that money is all that matters, and that the web is a perfect playground for whores, instead of maybe something for humanity to communicate and learn with. I disagree on all counts.


I'm quite intrigued by your intense reaction to conversion optimization. Or is the particular mindset of GP that you are reacting to?

Just curious: in your moral calculus does it matter if the conversion is for Zynga's next Facebook game, or for watsi.org? The latter's homepage features prominent pictures of young people apparently from 3rd world nations, isn't that a form of manipulation? And if so, is that morally wrong?

Also, if you have two options, and one of them converts 20% more users, is it always immoral to choose that one?

I'm not trying to get into an argument, I'm just interested in what the world looks like from your perspective.


Based on much experienced I can confidently say that testimonials are one of the most powerful promotional devices you can use. Perhaps the ones you are seeing have not been done properly. Even just displaying logos of some marquee customers is extremely powerful.


It's a list of things to try out in order to improve conversions. Individual items on the list may not appeal to you (or me, either), but that misses the point of the article.


This is a very cultural thing. In germany, no one uses testimonials, they are often seen as either fake or bragging and a sign that you don't want to talk about your product.


It's like "fake word of mouth".


My point is that this only works on people who should be educated to the point that it no longer works on them. Fuck "increasing conversions".


I found this an interesting read (I happen to use noscript and so saw a long scrolling page with no jumping footer).

However, as the 'call to action' at the bottom of the page suggests more content to come, I have to wonder if the address of this page (http://goodui.org/) will remain the same or if the new content will replace this content. There appears to be no easily discoverable 'permalink'. Is this a noscript artefact?


Undo's, yes!

Power users aren't tripped up with an annoying confirmation. Novice users can revert. This seems a much better paradigm.

Are there any cases where this doesn't make for good UX?


Lots of actions are destructive and can't work with an "undo" quite so well as in that example. I would prefer to see a confirm diglogue for deleting an account, changing a password, that sort of thing. I would tend to avoid it anyway, as an undo button isn't something users are going to be looking out for in a web context.


What about this- clicking "delete account" loads a screen where the account is removed from the frontend, along with an undo button. When the user leaves the page, the account is really deleted. Can you see any problems with this?


I like the ingenuity but how would we track when the page has been left - conceivably I could delete an account on Friday then click undo on Sunday.

I guess if it immediately gets soft deleted and in a maintainance batch gets purged. Until maint runs the undo link could still work (although it would still only display until they left the page).


Not to mention, that for many of these destructive actions adding a undo function often incurs in higher storage costs.

For example, in the case of deleting information, the easiest way to provide an undo function is to never really delete anything and just flag as deleted (something that doesn't free up storage, and if implemented without the users' knowledge, is abusive in terms of data privacy and ownership).

As for users not expecting the existence of an undo button in a web context, well, Gmail for instance has an "undo" link for lots of actions (archiving, moving to trash, etc.). I'm sure other web services provide similar things too.


Just clean it up later... flag as "delete in 1 day" or something.


I still think a confirmation with "Don't ask again" is a much better solutions.

Power users see it once, understand what'll happen and turn it off, no annoying confirmation after they've identified as a power user.

Novice users would, I think, feel better about a confirmation than an undo - if you need an undo you've made a mistake and that's not a good feeling, if you see a confirmation the service is looking out for you.


I think both theory and data are against you here.

e.g. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc163835.aspx


Fair enough, you could be right - that's a well written counter-argument. However, while data might exist that users hate confirmation boxes, even those they can ask never to see again, and prefer undo, the cited articles doesn't contain any. It's not a Microsoft employee either, so the author doesn't have the sort of Windows data we often see in Microsoft blogs on UI. I'd also point out that the confirmation box example in his picture, for example, doesn't include an option not to show it again. It's also an undoable action as he points out, and I'm certainly not arguing that we should include both.

All that said, I can certainly see reasons for both - it's probably not really a black and white issue.


There are a few good ideas in here, but a lot of questionable ones.

For example:

Turn your content into marked lists rather than have a gap?

The list format is only really useful for indicating additional content if you're providing some sort of marking like 1/16, 2/16, etc. to indicate position relative to "the end." The whole thing about the visual gap is just as true with the gap between list items and other content formats.


Maybe people habitually search for a stronger end-of-list indicator, once a list starts, \ like a larger gap or return to un-numbered wider-columned text... so simply using a list helps immunize against short breaks causing problems.

Also, perhaps you could decorate the bullets/numbers in some sort of boundary-escaping way that always helps hint there's a next item. (For example, using a diamond background where the top point always reaches to be alongside the previous item's body text.)

Of course, these theories/ideas would need testing.


Those are interesting suggestions. Cheers


I would say that this has more to do with making a good Landing Page than User Interfaces in general. All good and solid advices thou.


When the enormous advertisement appeared, I laughed, and assumed that the page was making a point about bad UI.


Here's a screenshot of the newsletter form occluding content in Android. https://www.dropbox.com/sc/jln36yrne8jzhbr/X_r8tldSXn Do you have to submit it to dismiss it? :)


See, this is a great find, and adds to the case against the sticky footer. It's almost a slap in the face when you come from an Android device.


W.r.t idea 15, I don't see how numbering things suggests continuity. The one on the left looks just as false-bottomy as the righthand one to me. Unless you have something sticking halfway on the page, or an arrow that points down or something, numbering doesn't solve this.


> Try Fewer Form Fields instead of asking for too many.

Asks for Full Name to subscribe.


I liked the point about offering an "undo" instead of "confirm action". The rest was just basics on sales pitch UI design.

And that anoying footer that covers 1/3 of my netbook screen?


Awesome page, it itself can be deemed as a good example of good UI design as I can learn the majority of the lessons by quickly scroll down and read just just the titles and pictures.


The suggestions themselves are decent but I have a hard time taking UI recommendations from someone who insists on using low contrast text: http://www.linowski.ca/. I can barely read his copy. Why and how anyone thinks that usability isn't made worse by using medium grey on white or light grey backgrounds is baffling to me.

It's been a while but the next time I hire a design firm, my first test will be to see if they use low contrast text.

EDIT: I just found this http://contrastrebellion.com/.


Hey your keyboard shortcut for N doesn't work. Infact M goes to next and P goes to previous. I think J/K are easier to use compared to N/P also.


Sorry someone had replaced my N and M keys.



I was very impressed - I would have added no reversed-out type, or white type on a black background, if the text exceeds more than 12-words


yeah, yeah, nice tutorial how to make a website for a new scam like MongoDB - Instead of having a decent product you have a "convincing design" (and "convincing blah-blah-blahs" from patio11).

All ideas in themselves are nothing new.. Sparse is better than dense, subtle is better than direct, manipulation attempts are offensive, etc..)


One interesting thing here: The less balanced design structure is, the more focus the reader gets to read all content. :)


Some of these are good ideas others are pure opinion and don't necessarily make sense in all contexts.


But all may be worth testing to see how they perform with your particular market/audience. The whole idea of A/B testing is to not rely on intuition or tradition, but on tested approaches.


Ugh that condensed font is horrible!


Another list of subjective suggestions. Meanwhile rendering it took a while.


Now i have to go through all my sites and remove all funny cat videos!!!!


Agree that the footer is annoying. The page also seems to break #15.


The site needs a mobile friendly UI for newsletter sign up.


I thought these points are common sense.


I loved this site, it has a so fucking huge footer that irritated me as I could not even see the images completely that I closed the tab in rage.


More marketing than UI




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