Do you trust any advice they have about user interfaces?
(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.)
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
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.
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.
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...
Are there browsers where virtual pixels are not automatically scaled on retina displays?
I actually didn't see the footer at all, shows how my brain learned to keep me sane.
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 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.
Good ideas often seem bad. You can't know until you've tried it and measured it. At least he's trying it.
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?
No one says you don't have to be smart in picking the metrics you measure.
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.
Focusing on metrics and simple minute behaviours while disregarding the big picture lead to evil user interfaces.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Also, it may just be my machine, but it seems like a lot of these characters need some antialiasing.
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.
They know you're human. More than that, odds are you are an average human.
(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.)
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
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?)
Boring is good in some contexts. In this case conversion rate optimisation. No distractions allowing you to focus on the call to action.
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?
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)
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.
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 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!
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.
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." Dr. Robert Cialdini's Influence has an entire chapter on social proof.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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).
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.
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.
All that said, I can certainly see reasons for both - it's probably not really a black and white issue.
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.
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.
Asks for Full Name to subscribe.
And that anoying footer that covers 1/3 of my netbook screen?
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/.
All ideas in themselves are nothing new.. Sparse is better than dense, subtle is better than direct, manipulation attempts are offensive, etc..)