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The Nomadic Designer: Tips And Tricks To Work On The Road

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel the world while working as a designer? It might sound like a dream, but all that glitters is not gold, and it might not be the right choice for you. In this article, I’ll share some insights from my four years of travel and work that hopefully will be useful for anyone willing to try a nomadic lifestyle, too.

When I wrote the first draft of this article, I was in London, after a long trip to Asia. Now, I’m making changes to it in Mexico, before going to Argentina to visit my family. Changing countries often has become an important part of my life as a designer; and, curiously, it all happened by accident.

I once heard that, while at the office, you should stand up from your desk, stretch your legs, leave the building and never come back. That’s exactly what I did when I was living in Barcelona in March 2014. At the time, I was working for a big company on a project that I didn’t enjoy, and was participating in meetings with people I didn’t know. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Looking back, I see that quitting a stable job to jump into the void of a traveling life was one of the scariest moments of my life. I was going to start a trip to South America, doing design workshops and lectures that would provide me with income to sustain my journey — but in reality, I had no idea what I was doing. Without knowing it, I was becoming a nomadic designer.


doing a lecture


Doing lectures and workshops around the world — and meeting new people because of it — is one of the things I’ve liked most about moving so much. Location: Barcelona.

When that six-month trip ended and I went back to Barcelona, I was never able to settle again. So, what did I do? Of course, I kept traveling! Four years and 60 countries later, I’m still on it.

And I am not alone. I’d like to quote Vitaly Friedman (founder and long-time editor in chief of Smashing Magazine), who once said:

“There is nothing more liberating and sentimental than the sound of a closing door that you will never open again. As memories are flowing by, you turn your back from that door, you hold your breath for just a second and you walk away. At that point you almost sense the change in the wind flowing by. You let go; and knowing and feeling this change is an incredibly empowering, intoxicating experience.”

If this sounds appealing, and you would like to try it for yourself, I hope my article will help you get started. Please note, however, that I’m not going to give you a “how to” guide, with step-by-step instructions that will work for everyone. Instead, I’ll share some insights from my personal experience.

Whatever People Think It Is, It Is Not That

When I tell someone that I’m constantly traveling, usually the person looks amazed. Most of the time, their first question is, “How can you afford to live like that?” I sometimes joke, saying I’m a millionaire with plenty of free time, but it’s not only because of this that I suspect they get the wrong idea about “working and traveling.” Perhaps, some of them imagine plenty of beaches and a lot of comfort and freedom.

Well, guess what? Working from a beach is not that fun or convenient. Or, as Preston Lee puts it, “Freelancing is not sitting on the beach, sipping margaritas, and reading books by Tim Ferriss.”


places to work


I’ve worked in all kind of places: public libraries, hostels, friends’ houses (and, of course, some of them had cats). Can you spot a beach in any of these photos?

But the part about having a lot of freedom is true. I do have a lot of freedom and flexibility — like any other freelancer — with the bonus that I get to know different places, people, cultures and cuisines. The perks of such a lifestyle outweigh the difficulties, but at the same time, not everyone would be willing to handle it.

Today, the “digital nomad” hype is all around, with a lot of people publishing e-books, videos and blog posts selling an ideal lifestyle that’s apparently perfect. Of course, some things are often left out — things like getting tired of packing again and again, being away from family and friends, and starting over often. That’s why people might have a unrealistic idea of what all this is about.

In case you are considering trying something similar, it might help to be aware of some personal characteristics that would be helpful to have.

Comfort With Being Alone

Being a solo traveler allows me to make my own decisions and be wherever I want, whenever I want. I spend a lot of time by myself (luckily, I get along well with myself). Even though it’s fine for me, I know it’s not for everybody. Loneliness is easy to solve, though. Coworking spaces, hostels, couchsurfing hangouts and Meetup are great places when you feel like you need some company and want to meet new friends.

Being Able To Adapt To New Contexts Easily

On a rough average, I move from one place to another every four days. This is very tiring, because every time I switch cities, I have to repeat the same process: book transportation and accommodation, pack my stuff, figure out how to get around, check the weather and find out about the cost of living. Ideally, you won’t be moving that often, but you should be able to grab your things quickly and move to a new place that better meets your expectations.


airport


In my travels, I’ve taken more flights than I would like to admit. That’s a problem when moving so much from one place to another. Location: São Paulo, Brazil.

In some cases, you could plan to stay three or four months in the same spot, but the reality is that you will never know how you’ll feel until you get there. So, my advice is: Go little by little, especially at the beginning.

Flexible But Organized

I think I’ve never been as organized as I’ve been since I started traveling. Apart from the tools that I normally use to generate invoices, track payments and manage projects as a freelance designer, I also have several spreadsheets to organize my flights, accommodation and daily expenses.

The spreadsheet for expenses is divided into different categories and organized by day. I put in there all the money that goes out, so that I know exactly what’s happening, and how close I am to reaching my daily budget. I know there are some apps for this, but so far I haven’t felt comfortable with any of them. The key here is not to cheat (just write down everything) and to be consistent (do it every day) — this will give you good insight into how you are spending your money on the road. Then, it will be easier for you to make decisions based on the data gathered — for example, you could stop buying expensive cocktails so much.

Before Packing: Find A Remote-Friendly Job

If you’ve decided to give it a try, then, as a minimum, plan your start, and don’t leave home without at least one or two months of contracted work. This will keep you busy for the first part of your trip, so you’ll only have to worry about settling in a new place.

When I went to South America at the very beginning of my new life, I contacted several design organizations, schools and agencies that could help me organize design workshops and lectures in different countries. I did this because, a few months before leaving, I, along with a friend (¡hola José!) self-published a book that gained some popularity among designers in Latin America, and I was willing to teach its contents and show how to put them into practice. Doing things like that provided me with at least some idea of dates and an approximate income, while leaving other things to improvisation.

In my case, I’ve always liked being a freelancer, so I give myself a bit more flexibility in managing my schedule. One of the last projects I worked on was for a team in Barcelona and in which the words “remote” and “freelance” were clear in our agreement from the very beginning. This is what allowed me to keep going from country to country, splitting my time between work and getting to know new places and people.

Just so you know how “glamorous” this way of working is, at the beginning of this project I tried to hide my background during video calls or said that I couldn’t turn video on, because I was a bit embarrassed. By the end, though, my teammates didn’t care about that, and so later on, usually the first question of a video call was to ask me for a tour of the place I was staying at, to everyone’s amusement.

Of course, freelancing is not the only way. Working at a remote-friendly company could also be a good option for you. While you’ll lose some of the freedom to move around, if you plan to stay longer in places, then this could be the way to go: Hubspot, Basecamp, Bohemian Coding (of Sketch fame) and Automattic are some examples of companies that successfully work with designers and developers remotely, and there are many more.

A few websites list remote positions for design, so be sure to check them often: We Work Remotely, Remote OK, Working Nomads and Designer News — to name just some of them.

Regardless of whether you are freelancing or working for someone else, I have to say that face to face contact with members of your team is necessary from time to time to time, especially when planning meetings at the beginning of a project, when things are not all that clear. This will partly determine the location you choose, so best to pick a place that allows you to conveniently go where your team is based when needed.

Choosing Your Next Destination

After finding work that allows you to be on the move, the next big thing is to decide where to base yourself. The good thing is that you can work from any place with a decent Internet connection and easy access to coffee (which is essential).


wi-fi sign


I always say that, to work, I need only an Internet connection and a laptop. So, this place at almost 5,000 meters up is a good place to get stuff done. Location: somewhere near Uyuni, Bolivia.

So far, I’ve been in 60 countries, more or less. Many of them were in Europe, where it is easy to move from one place to another and where you can sometimes cross countries without even noticing. (True story: I once missed a whole country because I fell asleep on the train.)

When choosing where to go next, keep in mind the following.

Reliable Access To Internet

You’ll never know how good the Internet connection is until you get there, but at least you can research which countries have the best and worst. This is important. Even if you’re tempted to spend a few days in the middle of a forest, if there is no access to Internet, it will probably be a no-go.

Time Zones

Choose a place where you’ll be in the same time zone with the rest of your team, or maybe a couple of hours ahead or behind. You’ll thank me when you have to schedule your first online meeting and it’s not 4:00 am.

Work Facilities

I’ve said that I can work from almost anywhere, but I have to make sure that my next destination at least has some good coffee shops, libraries or coworking spaces. You could also work from your hostel, hotel or rented flat, but then you’d have to make sure it’s a proper environment to work in.

Design Ecosystem

It’s always good to be surrounded by like-minded people, so many times before going somewhere, I’ll check whether there’s a designer, a design studio or a meetup where I could visit and get in touch with others. Luckily, some people are always willing to meet new pals, and they’ll give you good insight into how the local design community works. You can exchange and share tools of the trade, and you can make new friends as well.


camel


Sometimes I don’t choose my destinations right… at least for getting some work done. Being in the middle of snowy places forced me to take unplanned vacations. Location: Mongolia.

In my case, sending some emails in advance enabled me to meet such talented people as Michael Flarup in Copenhagen and Sacha Greif in Osaka. Just don’t be afraid to ask if you can drop by for a short visit!

Besides that, other factors are at play when you’re deciding where to go: affordability, transportation, safety, weather, etc. Fortunately, Nomad List rounds up the “best” cities,, which you can use as a reference when choosing where to head to next.

Of course, sooner or later, you’ll make some mistake. I’ve learned the hard way that planning where to work is indeed important. I once had to take a few unintended days off when I took the Trans-Siberian train to go from St. Petersburg to Beijing via Mongolia. At some point, the temperatures in the middle of Siberia were so low — the worst day was -50º Celsius — that my phones’ batteries suddenly drained — and being lost in the middle of a snowy small town is anything but fun. (The Russians there thought I was crazy for traveling during winter, and I now know they were right. But if you are like me and go there during wintertime anyway, always keep a paper copy of directions and important information, and bring warm boots and a pocket-sized bottle of vodka.)

Packing And Gear

If you already have a job and know where you are heading to, then you are ready to pack! Someone once said that before starting a trip, you should take half the things you plan to carry and double the money you have budgeted. While the last thing is not always an option, packing light is doable! You’ll thank me when you find your accommodation is uphill.

I started traveling with a 50-liter backpack for my personal things, and a smaller one for work-related items that I carry separately. After some time, I switched the smaller one for a daypack that I can roll up and put into the big one when I don’t need it. Everything (including the laptop) weighs 10 kilograms or so, but I keep assessing what else can I take off in order to have fewer things to carry. Similarly to when working on a design, try to get rid of the unnecessary.

For my work, I chose a MacBook Air because I knew I was going to travel a lot, and I wanted something lightweight and compact. Even though it’s a bit old now, it’s been enough for my requirements so far. I also carry two phones (iPhone and Android, with their corresponding chargers) because I do a lot of UX design for mobile and I often need to test on different devices.

I do have more gadgets and stuff, of course. I carry a remote to control my slides (for conferences and workshops), all kinds of adaptors, and noise-cancelling headphones (very useful for when you travel by train or plane.) But, in general, it is a good idea not to over-buy in advance, and pick up items only when you need them.

Where To Work

I have worked in all kinds of places: buses, trains, coffee shops, airport lounges, libraries, shared rooms in hostels, private rooms in hotels — sometimes anywhere I can set my laptop horizontally… or kind of. I’ve even gotten used to not using a mouse at all, because there is not always a place to put it next to my laptop.

Chances are the room where you stay is also going to be where you will work, so choose carefully. Airbnb is now pretty much widespread, so renting your own room with a desk should be enough — but be sure to mark “laptop friendly” in the search filters.

I try to keep a low budget, so most of the time I stay in a hostel. After a bit of training, I’ve learned to identify places that look better for work — like ones with spacious common areas — just by looking at the pictures. Of course, “party hostels” are not an option if you want to get work done, so if you see a lot of people having fun on the property’s website, that’s a red flag.


hostel room


I sleep in shared dorms in hostels most of the time, to keep my budget low and meet new people, but there’s not much privacy. Location: Sofia, Bulgaria.

One of the main problems is that you never know how good the Internet connection will be. So, if you have difficulty with the Wi-Fi at your hostel, go to a coffee shop, coworking space or even a public library. (Interestingly, public libraries are where I’m most productive, perhaps because of the silence and the fact that I cannot make calls or participate in online meetings.)

Tip: More than once, I’ve visited a coworking space and offered to give a free design lecture to members in exchange of a few days’ worth of using a desk. It’s also nice because afterwards people will know who you are and will approach you openly to share ideas! Feel free to try it yourself.

Finally, a couple of websites could be useful when you’re looking for a place to work — namely, Workfrom and Places to Work.

Things To Keep In Mind When Living On The Road

A few things are important for any traveling designer but are too complex to address completely in one article, so I’ll just briefly mention a few of them, in the hope that it will still be useful.

Please keep in mind that everybody’s situation is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so you might have to adapt the following to your case.

Taxes

What is convenient for you will depend on your case, and it’s difficult to advise on what’s best, so be aware of the legislation of your home country and of the country where you plan to work. I’ve also been exploring the possibilities that Estonia is offering with its e-citizenship. I’m already an Estonian e-resident, but I haven’t done anything practical with this as of yet.

Managing Your Finances

Besides keeping spreadsheets for expenses, one thing that I discovered (perhaps too late) is that it is normally far more convenient to create an account in an app such as Monzo or Revolut (and there are plenty of others, like N26), so that, when making withdrawals, you pay fewer fees and get better exchange rates. This is especially useful in places where credit or debit cards are not normal; this way, you can also avoid the excessive fees that traditional banks often charge.

Also, check the exchange rate of your home currency before arriving at your next destination. In some cases, I’ve arrived in a new country and bought a very expensive coffee because I didn’t do my homework beforehand. One app I use to avoid situations like this is Currency, an elegant and simple currency converter.

Visas

The situation will depend on where you’re from and where you’re going, so check well in advance regarding the requirements for the passport you are holding.

Something useful I learned when applying for a visa that requires a tentative itinerary is to book hostels and planes that you can later on cancel for free, and print out and bring those booking confirmations.

Health And Insurance

Plenty of companies offer health insurance for travel, so I cannot recommend any one of them. The only thing I can advise is not to leave home without it. An accident in a foreign country, besides being annoying, could also be very expensive. So, prepare in advance.


car in a desert


You never know where you’ll be when there’s a problem at work, so try to find ways to stay connected on the go. Location: somewhere near Jericoacoara, Brazil.

Getting Connected

What I normally do is buy a prepaid SIM card in each country I stay, with a data plan that will be enough for my stay there. I do a bit of research beforehand to see which carrier has the most widespread coverage, and I check if there’s any information in English on their website to make recharges when necessary.

A SIM card is more necessary in some countries than in others. For example, in Russia, most open Wi-Fi networks require you to fill in a phone number, to which a validation code will be sent, before you are able to use the network. Japan, on the other hand, is full of convenience stores with free internet (such as 7-Eleven), so a SIM card is not so necessary. Meanwhile, Europe now has a more convenient way to handling roaming, called “Roam like at home”, and getting a new SIM card in every country is not so necessary anymore.

In any case, before buying a SIM card, make sure it will work across the country, especially if the country is large with many different regions.
Another important thing to check beforehand: Will your current phone number work in the new country? Luckily, there’s a website where you can check that information.

Preparing To Be Offline

Moving from one place to another involves a lot of time spent on the road, and in some cases you won’t have the chance to find Wi-Fi or good data network coverage. At these times, Spotify and Netflix are my best friends, because both allow me to download music and TV shows, respectively, so I can use them without an Internet connection. This was especially useful when I had to take several connecting trains to cross Siberia, spending in some cases around 30 hours straight in a railroad car before my next stop.


Seven Rila Lakes


I still had an Internet connection in these mountains in Bulgaria! However, being offline from time to time and enjoying the natural surroundings is really advisable. Location: Seven Rila Lakes region, Bulgaria.

For the same reason, I always download a map of my next destination, using Google Maps (Maps.me has the same functionality).

If you want more information of this kind, check out another article I wrote, with more travel hacks and tips from my years of traveling.

Final Thoughts

Before I board my next train, let me tell you that becoming a nomadic freelance designer is by far one of my best decisions of my life so far. I have the flexibility that any freelancer has, but I also meet new people and see new places all the time. And it’s not as expensive as you might think. If you control your budget, traveling could be cheaper than living in a big city. So, I can afford to work four to five hours every day, and I use the rest of the time to get to know the place I’m visiting, to work on personal projects and to write articles for Smashing Magazine.

Traveling also makes it a bit hard to separate pleasure from work, because everything seems more enjoyable when you’re moving around. I’ve had to remind myself sometimes that I’m not on a vacation and to focus on getting things done. After a while, though, I’ve found a good balance. Now, I allow myself some moments to just move around, travel and enjoy the ride, doing nothing. It’s not all about work, after all!


on a train


Taking a train in Siberia. It’s not all about work. You also have to let yourself go and enjoy your ride. Location: somewhere in Russia.

Living like this is sometimes challenging and tiring, but I find it much richer than being in an office Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 5:00. And with all of the current technology, it’s easy for any designer to embrace this lifestyle. The most difficult part is finding a job to sustain your travel, but once you’ve found it, the next part is just to let it flow.

The nomadic lifestyle is not right for everyone, but the only way to know for sure is to try. Neale Donald Walsch once said that life starts where your comfort zone ends, and I completely agree. If you can afford to take the risk, go for it and enjoy a part of life that might not last long but will give you a life-changing experience, teach you new things and change the way you see the world forever.

If, for some reason, it doesn’t work, you can always go back to your previous life, right? Whether you are ready to give it a try or still have some questions about it, feel free to let me know. I’ll do my best to help you out. See you on the road!

Further Reading

Smashing Editorial
(mb, ra, al, yk, il)

Read more – 

The Nomadic Designer: Tips And Tricks To Work On The Road

Sharp Suits & Scrappy Marketing: How Indochino Crafted a Tailor-made Digital Strategy with Unbounce

Similar to how Indochino is revolutionizing menswear with made-to-measure suits, it turns out a custom fit applies to their digital marketing too.

In the past year, the fast-growing apparel brand saw over 50% growth in retail, and opened nine new showrooms across North America. The brand’s marketing team of just 12 people are used to acting fast, but until about a year ago, the team faced a bottleneck threatening their nimbleness and the effectiveness of their PPC ad spend.

As Lisa Craveiro, Director of Acquisition told us, the company’s blog and website CMS templates couldn’t be easily customized to suit their pay-per-click needs. When Lisa’s team needed to publish relevant content (for pointing paid ad traffic to), changes to the site couldn’t be published fast enough.

To ensure return on their ad spend, Lisa and the team rolled out two key tactics:

  • First, they experimented with mock editorial pieces created in Unbounce to better convert Facebook ad traffic.
  • And second, the team built several location-specific landing pages for marketing different showrooms and educating prospects on their unique customer experience.

Over just nine months, Lisa’s team secured 800+ showroom bookings via their new Unbounce landing pages, 40 online transactions of purchased suits, and 750 newsletter signups.

Having over 340,000 visitors directed to a landing page as part of their paid media strategy is just one aspect of how Indochino’s scrappy marketers have been able to grow the brand’s selling appointments 77% year over year. Read on for a peek into their playbook.

A Custom-Fit Ad Approach

Similar to most marketers using Facebook ads, Indochino knew they needed hyper relevant content to point to from ads like these:

Indochino's example Facebook ads

But sending paid traffic to the brand’s blog or site-specific web pages wasn’t a good option as recent as a year ago because the marketing team had little control over the experience.

Lisa Craveiro, Director of Acquisition at Indochino

“Before Unbounce, we didn’t have an informative landing page on the website with a simple, easy navigation path that focused a user’s attention toward our conversion goals. Often existing pages weren’t the most relevant option to land on from a specific ad, or didn’t contain a clear call to action. We needed to quickly build better, high-converting options and Unbounce was perfect for an on-brand look, fast.”

And so Indochino began using Unbounce in a fairly unconventional way. Alongside a designer, the team created mock editorial articles for their Facebook ads to point to. These articles — fashioned to look like blog posts — contained calls to action to “schedule an appointment” in a showroom, but also to “see the suits” for those preferring to browse.

Here’s an example of one of the editorial pieces created with the builder:

Example Mock Article from Indochino

With over 64,000 visitors via their ads, this ‘mock’ article converts at 17.40% with thousands of people clicking through to see showroom locations, go to the website, or see sample suits.

These articles (built in just a few hours) not only provide an especially relevant destination for anyone arriving from a Facebook ad, but they also allow Indochino’s marketers to communicate different value props quickly based on different ad messages.

For example, the brand knows the showroom experience is very valuable and that many men become lifelong customers based on their unique experience being fitted.
Here’s an article Indochino’s marketers whipped up for communicating exactly what to expect in your showroom experience:

Indochino example 2

This listicle style piece converts at 29.63%. The CTA prompts visitors to book an appointment.

The team continues to create mock editorial like this and is always looking to optimize as they go. As Lisa tells us:

“We’re often trying out several value props with these types of mock articles, testing different variations of copy and trying to understand via data which article or angle resonates best with different audiences. They’re a quick way to tell if you’re on the right track with your ad’s messaging.”

Seamless online and offline

On the topic of nine new showrooms launched in North America this year, as Indochino found, once you introduce a new product line, or— in this case—a new retail location, you can’t always update your website right away with location-specific content.

So instead of relying on developers to help update their site with pages specific to each new showroom launch, Indochino turned to landing pages. They created several location-specific pages to explain their fitting process and speak directly to potential customers in a given area.

Here’s an example featuring details on DC’s showroom:

Indochino's DC showroom landing page example

This page, where you can book an appointment or ‘see the suits’, converts at 19.38%.

The team also has a dedicated page for Chicago:

Chicago landing page example

These location-specific pages allow Indochino to get really granular with the targeting of their ads, and the message prospects see upon click through. There’s strong message match from ad to landing page, and visitors see specifics to their location which helps fulfil the promise of the ads.

Want to run location-specific ad to landing page combos like Indochino? Try Dynamic Text Replacement. This Unbounce feature swaps out select keywords or text on your landing page with the exact terms someone has searched, like their location. See a preview of how this works here.

Extending the made-to-measure experience

Beyond highly relevant Facebook ads and location-specific content, Indochino also uses landing pages for lead generation; often for contests and partnering with wedding vendors like The Knot and others.

Here’s a lead gen page Indochino created for a Postmedia National contest:

lead gen landing page example from Indochino

Converting at 15.14%, Lisa said campaigns like this contest allow their marketers to be especially nimble:

“Often marketers can land a great partnership, like we’ve been lucky to do with The Knot and Postmedia, but if you can’t generate relevant landing pages specific to the campaign quickly, you limit the momentum of the partnership along with creative opportunities. With contest pages like this, we can be up and running in a couple of days and immediately see from ad to landing page how we’re performing. It’s helpful for understanding which partnerships we should run again.”

The PPC landing page advantage

On a whole, taking control of the experience after someone clicks an Indochino ad has proven very valuable for this fast-growing menswear brand. By serving up especially relevant content, they’ve seen their paid Facebook posts perform especially well.

You could say, Unbounce was a perfect fit ;)

Read article here:

Sharp Suits & Scrappy Marketing: How Indochino Crafted a Tailor-made Digital Strategy with Unbounce

Designing Voice Experiences

Voice-based interfaces are becoming commonplace. Voice assistants such as Siri and Cortana have been around for a few years, but this past holiday season, voice-driven devices from Amazon and Google made their way into millions of homes.
Recent analysis from VoiceLabs estimates that 24.5 million voice-driven devices will be shipped this year, almost four times as many as last year. As experience designers, we now have the opportunity to design voice experiences and interfaces!

See the original post: 

Designing Voice Experiences

Inspiring Illustrations With Plenty Of Bright Colors And Cool Patterns

It’s almost time to leave winter behind us here in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of the time, the weather can’t quite make up its mind, and so the days pass by with half of the sky sunny while the other half gray. Nature usually tends to have a strong impact on my mood, and so these days I feel like I’m literally in a gray zone — between winter and spring.

View original article:

Inspiring Illustrations With Plenty Of Bright Colors And Cool Patterns

Clinton vs. Trump: 18 CROs Tear Down the Highest Stakes Marketing Campaigns in US History

Clinton vs. Trump
Who has the best digital marketing campaign? We’ll let you be the judge.

Let’s start by getting one thing straight: this is not a political article.

As tempting as it might be to enter the fray… by “tear down” I don’t mean a smear campaign, ill-tempered mudslinging or anything quite that provocative.

What I mean is a detailed examination of the two US presidential nominee’s online “sales” funnels and their overall presidential marketing tactics.

Why?

Because no matter which side of the political aisle you’re on, these could very well be the highest stakes online funnels in the history of the world.

In the wake of Barack Obama’s second presidential win, Kyle Rush — former Head of Optimization at Optimizely and now Hillary Clinton’s Deputy CTO — pulled back the curtain to reveal how their approach to conversion rate optimization raised a historic and record-breaking $1.1 billion in total funds, $690 million of which “came through our various web properties.”

For anybody doing the math, $690 million is 62.7% of the campaign’s total fundraising efforts.

As Kyle himself told me when I asked him about the role CRO plays in Clinton’s campaign today:

It’s something we are very focused on.

Our teams are data-driven and we act on data. We have run over 100 A/B tests in the past year. Some of the tests resulted in over 200% increases in mission critical metrics.

quick-card-upsell-presidential-marketing-tactics
Image credit: Kyle Rush

The monumental role CRO plays in presidential success is why digging into each step of each current candidate’s funnels — screen by screen — offers a wealth of insights on how to optimize your online funnels and marketing campaigns.

But first — lest things get bloody — let’s set some ground rules.

Ground rules for the teardowns

Here’s how this is gonna work.

First, I’ll show you a step-by-step, visual walkthrough of the candidates’ online funnels: from their homepage, to their pop-up or splash page, to their email signup page, to their donation process.

Each visual will be color coded: green boxes for “The Good”… red boxes for “The Bad”:

good-and-bad-example-presidential-marketing-strategy

After each visual, we’ll examine why the color-coded elements work from a CRO perspective (or why they don’t).

Third — and this is where things get really amazing — I’ll hand the teardown off to 18 of the world’s top CRO experts and let them weigh in.

Ready?

Don’t have time to read this post?

Get inspired for your next optimization experiment as 18 CRO experts tear down the most polarizing marketing campaigns in US history.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

Donald Trump

Step 1: Homepage

Donald Trump campaign homepage

The Good:

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a brand. And a massively recognizable one at that.

In contrast to Clinton — who shares her header spotlight with President Obama (see below) — Trump is front and center, taking full advantage of his brand recognition.

Likewise, he’s the only candidate with a recognizable and emotionally charged tagline, which he wisely displays prominently: “Make America Great Again.”

The CTA below the hero section — while not as emotive as the language above it — is nothing if not clear. It presents the visitor with two simple choices: “Join Us” or “Donate.”

Also positive are the social media widgets towards the end of the page. While Clinton buries her social links in the header and footer, Trump’s site features live social media updates, which makes sense given his dominance on all things social. Rather than just soliciting visitors to follow him, he gives them a preview of what they can expect.

The Bad:

From a design perspective, Trump’s site is crowded and noisy. The dark colors pile on top of one another around the hero section, and the smorgasbord of clickable options in the body of the page is paralyzing. Instead of leading visitors along a path of action by creating a clear visual or written hierarchy, everything comes barreling toward them at once.

The navigation bar is likewise crowded. There are 10 visible options and if you count up the drop-down menu options, that number jumps to 22.

Finally, the “Text TRUMP” box is a questionable choice, because rather than prompting visitors to simply enter their number on the page itself, it asks them to cross one of the most difficult conversion bridges: changing devices.

The Experts:

Neil Patel

Neil Patel:
Marketer & Founder of CrazyEgg

“From a copy standpoint, I would adjust the text in the call to action buttons. He uses the heading ‘Make America Great Again,’ but when it comes time for someone to click on the call to action (‘Join Us’ or ‘Donate’) the copy doesn’t connect well with his main message.

Typically, when you use call to action text that is related to the problem you are solving, your clicks and conversions are higher than if you used generic verbiage like ‘join now.’

show-your-support-for-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-tactics

Also the website copy isn’t telling a story.

If his big pitch is to make America great, then all of the surrounding elements — such as news clips and videos — should reinforce that message. This will help create an emotional connection between the website visitor and Trump, which should help him gain more votes and donations.

Lastly, some of the headlines for his press releases don’t encourage you to click. If you’re lucky, eight out of 10 people will read a headline, and two will click through. With a headline like, ‘Donald Trump’s Campaign Draws Dedicated Followers,’ you’re not likely to get many click-throughs because it doesn’t highlight the benefits of clicking through.”

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Oli Gardner:
Co-Founder of Unbounce

“In terms of initial experience when the page loads, I see (1) the giant Trump logo, then (2) the peace sign – which is quite ridiculous considering how much hate-mongering he’s peddling – and lastly (3) I get to The Donald’s hair:

make-america-great-again-presidential-marketing-camapign

If the goal of the page is to get people to donate, it could use a little more focus to make it happen. And if they’d done a better job with their responsive design, the primary donate button would be above the fold.

The navigation could be simplified if they did a better job with targeting. To participate based on your state, you need to go to the States page, find your state, click on your state and then fill in a form. With proper targeting the secondary CTA, “Join Us,” (which leads to the same type of form) could be renamed to something like “Get involved in Kansas” or “Join the movement in Kansas.” A Kansas resident would be far likelier to be inspired to click if that was the case.

At the bottom of the page, the tweets weren’t handled in the best way. The first was an incongruent mention of a book by someone other than Trump and the second a link to a Washington Post article about Hillary Clinton that takes you off-site. If you want people to part with their money, don’t send them away.”

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Valentin Radu:
CEO at Marketizator

“Trump’s hero section does its job in terms of space usage. My eyes really only see two things: (1) his slogan, and (2) Trump himself. This means the ‘don’t make me think’ principle is being respected.

Fun fact: If we analyze the hand signal Trump is using, Wikipedia states that in American sign language this actually means ‘number two.’ I trust Wikipedia.

As for the menu, I would A/B test it by simply inverting the colors to make the Donate button red.

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Going further, the buttons ‘Join us’ and ‘Donate’ are actually competing — they’re the same size and color and they’re positioned together. One should be more important than the other and therefore given more credit via more space and prominence.

The paragraph font size may also be too small for some visitors, and there are no links connected to the various media and press releases to ‘Read More.’ I can’t argue too much with the multi-column format, although a single-column layout would be worth testing.

Another thing that I would test is Donald Trump’s facial expression. On both video thumbnails his face is showing that he is ready to fight.

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But… maybe that’s what Americans want: a wealthy fighter that will share his prosperity with them.”

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Michael Aagaard:
Senior Conversion Optimizer at Unbounce

“For a guy who is strictly self-funded, Trump does have an awful lot of ‘Donate’ buttons. All kidding aside, this is a pretty decent website. I’m impressed.

All the main functionalities are easy to use. The logo and tagline confirm you’re on Trump’s presidential website and both the ‘Sign Up’ and ‘Donate’ forms work well.

While the donations themselves are handled by a third-party tool, there’s a good match both visually and message-wise, so you get the feeling of an uninterrupted experience.

The header doesn’t quite line up on a 15-inch screen, and you can’t see the bottom of the hero shot that contains the two main CTAs. But other than that, most of the UX is on point. Likewise, the mobile version works well. In fact, I’d say it works better than the desktop version.

Only negative thing is that there are quite a few navigation points in the burger menu, which makes it a bit overwhelming:

trump-burger-menu-presidential-marketing-campaign

In my experience, people who come to a website like this have already made up their minds, so the website doesn’t need to do much persuading. But it has to be real easy to use, so you can do what you set out to do with little or no friction.”

Step 2: Join Us

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The Good:

The subhead on Trump’s email opt-in leverages a personal connection to the candidate. Instead of inviting supporters to join the campaign or “Get updates,” this opt-in invites them to “Receive updates from Donald J. Trump” directly.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, that’s the main positive. To sign up, a supporter would have to enter information into five required fields. Compare that to Clinton’s dramatically simplified sign-up process, requiring only two fields.

All told, there are 13 form fields and checkboxes. Too many options is the hallmark of low-converting forms.

In addition, the text on the CTA buttons — from (1) the homepage’s button “Join Us,” to (2) the form’s headline “Sign Up,” to (3) the form’s button “Submit” — creates a disjointed user experience (not to mention that “Submit” is a notoriously lame and low-converting CTA).

disjointed-ctas-donald-trump-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Experts:

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Kristi Hines:
Freelance Writer and Content Marketer

“From a conversion standpoint, my first thought is that the ‘Join Us’ button should lead to a form titled ‘Join Us.’

While I think the form does have a lot of fields, I believe those fields are necessary, especially the state and zip code.

Why? Because it allows each candidate to email and text supporters about upcoming local events and voting rules. Plus, if supporters enter their full address, that also opens the door to some direct mailing opportunities.

The use of a CAPTCHA field doesn’t bother me. Considering the amount of spam most online forms receive, this is probably the easiest way to at least bypass the automated spam. I’m sure their marketing team is already fighting a lot of fake submissions from Trump haters.

The only disconnect for me on this form is not requiring the mobile number — which is smart — but then having the ‘Yes, please send me periodic text messages…’ box automatically checked.

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Finally, I think they should try testing some different messaging on the ‘Submit’ button. I’d bet a button that said ‘Let’s Make America Great Again’ would get some smiles from Trump supporters.

Overall, the form may seem lengthy, but it gets the information the candidate needs and works well on desktop and mobile. In any case, no one is going to switch their vote just because the other candidate has an easier form to fill out.”

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Chris Goward:
Founder and CEO, WiderFunnel

“The first task in any optimization exercise is to understand your conversion optimization goals. Organizations that don’t know their real goals often optimize for the wrong things and hurt their ultimate results.

Since Donald Trump is already a master at gaining free press mentions, and he apparently has plenty of funding, one would assume his goal is to gain direct access to voters to mobilize them on voting days. That means his ‘Join Us’ call to action is very important.

If his transactional goal — the bottom end of the funnel — is to maximize subscribers, he could test some improvements:

  • The Join Us pop-up form seems complicated at first, with 13 fields preceding a big red ‘Submit’ button. Hmm… does Trump want us all to ‘submit’ to him? Especially for mobile, this is a very long form for a seemingly simple CTA.
  • Form fields broken into two columns make scanning difficult. This isn’t an issue on mobile, but I certainly wouldn’t stick around to fill out a mobile form with that much scrolling required.
  • Why am I being asked for a mailing address when that’s not needed for the messages I’m subscribing for? What else is my information being used for?
  • Right before completing the form, there are two big barriers: (1) an ‘I am not a robot’ field, which seems unnecessary, and (2) an opt-in warning.

If Trump isn’t testing, he should get started. Based on Clinton’s website, she’s got a more effective conversion optimization team — her simple signup form reigns supreme in comparison.”

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Sean Work:
VP of Inbound Marketing, Crazy Egg

“I have no idea if this is a good sign up flow or not. Why? Because I’m not the one testing it. I haven’t seen any data. So everything I’m going to say right now is from the gut. Basically it’s what I would do if I were putting a variant together.

Moving on to the signup page, sometimes collecting a lot of information is a smart thing to do. It might not convert as well, but the benefit of collecting more info sometimes outweighs total conversions. I’ve heard of cases where more form fields actually converts better!

We could ax the mobile number field. It’s not a required field so why let it get in the way? However, having supporter phone numbers might be incredibly valuable when election day is near. You might want to call your base supporters to make sure they know where they are going to vote and inform them of any last-minute details.

If we are going for just pure sign ups and nothing else, I would simply have first name, last name and email. I would remove all the checkboxes and the comment field. I might consider keeping the CAPTCHA because I can see the opposition trying to flood the form with bogus entries.

My final words on this: It really has to do with Trump’s strategy and goals.

They need to be nailed down first. What do you want to achieve? Then you work backwards.

You create your hypothesis, build the page, test it, measure it then repeat the cycle.”

Step 3: Trump’s Donation Process

The Good:

Unlike Trump’s previous pages, the donation process is clean and visually minimalistic. It includes an image of the candidate that — thanks to the blue hue — drives home the personal and patriotic connection mentioned earlier. At the same time, the imagery doesn’t distract from the action.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, the white text on light-grey background makes the buttons hard to read. Adding some visual clarity in the form of affordance could be valuable. Also hard to see is the fine print. And, as opposed to Clinton’s donation pages, there isn’t even a note to expatriates who might want to contribute.

Lastly, the trust factor on the page is low. Trump doesn’t include anything about where the money goes and — outside of the generic word “SECURE” and the image of a lock — the page doesn’t provide security measures to assure donors their payment information is actually secure.

The Experts:

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Ben Twichell:
Head of Marketing at Mention

“Copy is one of the most vital elements of a landing page.

My recommendations would be to include and test three sections: (1) a prose style emotion-evoking paragraph, (2) a bullet-point list of his platform stances and (3) social proof.”

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Shanelle Mullin:
Content & Growth at ConversionXL

“Going back a step, Trump’s site misses a huge opportunity.

If someone selects the ‘Join Us’ call to action instead of the ‘Donate’ call to action on the homepage, the site asks for a lot of the same information.

Why not ask for a password during that process to make the donation process easier for those who are, presumably, the most likely to donate? It would also make mobile donations easier.

In the same vein, there’s a login option on the Trump donation page, but it’s well below the fold. If someone who has donated before returns to this page, intent is high. Make it easier for them.

Overall, the UX is fairly standard for a presidential campaign site. However, there are a few little things that could be improved:

  • On mobile, when you advance to Step 2 of 3, you’re automatically scrolled down to the ‘Continue’ button. All that’s visible is the button and the start of the fine print, so you have to scroll back up.
  • Also on mobile, if you don’t immediately choose the “Scan Credit Card” option, it disappears.
  • In the fine print, it says the maximum individual contribution is $2,700 per election. So why am I able to select ‘$1,000’ or ‘$2,700’ and then ‘Make this a monthly recurring donation’? Furthermore, how many months am I signing up for here?
  • There are in-line error messages, which is great, but the form still accepts obviously false information. For example, a zip code that is not in the state selected and an invalid email address.
  • There’s no confirmation of how much you’re donating (and how frequently) before clicking the final ‘Donate’ button.
  • Another big issue is donation amount. Why the big jump? Why so many small amounts? Maybe the Trump optimization team did their conversion research and found that most people donate smaller, recurring amounts. But why not have ‘Make this a monthly recurring donation’ selected by default then?”

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Hillary Clinton

Step 1: Pop-Ups

hilary-clinton-pop-ups-presidential-marketing-campaign
hilary-clinton-pop-ups-2-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Good:

From the jump, Clinton’s site kicks things off with a bang. The first pop-up takes aim directly at her opponent:

Making Donald Trump our Commander-in-Chief would be a historic mistake.

And the second leans on social proof, with a quote from President Obama:

I don’t think there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.

Clicking “I agree” on either immediately presents the visitor with the option to join Clinton’s email list:

hilary-clinton-join-mailing-list-presidential-marketing-campaign

On top of being laser-focused, the CTAs are written from the perspective of the visitor.

The Bad:

It’s difficult to say whether or not the themes of Clinton’s pop-ups “work.” Instead of defining herself proactively, the visitor’s first impression is directed toward either who she’s against (Trump) or who supports her (Obama).

For a candidate who regularly gets lambasted on Saturday Night Live for being unrelatable and aloof, this worries me from a conversion perspective.

Moreover, both pop-ups make the assumption that her visitor will be a “party” voter. The first message — being anti-Trump — is probably a safe bet. However the second is riskier given that the most recent polls put President Obama’s approval rating at 50%.

The Experts:

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Henneke Duistermaat:
Irreverent Business Writing Coach

“You can see two interesting persuasion principles at work here. The first is what psychologists call the consistency principle, also known as the foot-in-the-door technique: once you’ve agreed with one small request, you’re more likely to agree with a bigger request.

This is exactly what’s happening with the two-step sign up: first agree with a simple statement (small commitment) before submitting your email address (slightly larger commitment). Of course, this flies in the face of conventional advice on making the sign-up process as easy as possible. I assume they’ve tested both options and the two-step process worked better.

The other point to note are the two different phrases: one portraying Trump as commander-in-chief as a mistake (avoiding a risk) and the other agreeing with Obama that nobody is better qualified than Clinton (gaining a positive benefit).

The question here is: do people want to avoid Trump as president or do they want to support Hillary Clinton as president?

Many of us are risk-averse. We prefer avoiding problems rather than gaining something. It’s a great test to run for any business.

For instance, do your customers want to avoid internet downtime or are they looking for consistent internet access? Or, imagine you’re selling bikes: do your customers want to avoid a sore butt or are they looking for a comfy saddle?”

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Bryan Eisenberg:
Partner, BuyerLegends

“There are all kinds of challenges with these pop-ups. However, when we are dealing with political websites versus business websites the intrinsic motivations are completely different. Why people do and don’t do things radically changes. Political websites can add additional friction points — like extra clicks — and people’s motivations will still provide the momentum to convert.

Why?

Because we are not dealing with an exchange of money (at least not primarily) but rather a reinforcement of an individual’s values. The key thing about these pop-ups is how they fit the candidate’s brand narrative.

Both tell the same story and appeal to the same values. In that sense, they’re ‘selling’ a consistent vision… one that visitors to this site would no doubt connect with.”

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Danielle Devereux:
Growth Marketing Consultant

“Great design is one of the most crucial aspects of user experience on your landing pages. Design relates to many critical components such as navigation, layout, colors, font choices, text and videos. You want users to have an easy and pleasurable experience navigating these elements of your site.

To accomplish this you must reduce friction. Friction is anything visual, technical or logical that gets in the way of a user completing your landing page’s desired goal.

Clinton’s pop-ups create a point of friction, because the first non-essential pop-up — ‘I Agree’ — gets in the way of the essential CTA pop-up — the email signup form.

The goal of the quote design is to present an attractive invitation to subscribe to the Clinton campaign newsletter. So why ask your users to click on an extra pop-up? This creates friction by adding an unnecessary click and weighing down the interaction.

To solve this problem, limit your signup process to as few steps as possible. One or two steps works really well. Show them one pop-up with a compelling CTA and as few form fields as possible.”

Step 2: Homepage

hilary-clinton-homepage-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Good:

Setting aside Obama’s struggling approval rating, using the header image to make a powerful and joyous announcement is a smart move. As opposed to the negativity of the first pop-up, Clinton’s homepage copy and imagery is decidedly positive.

The area below the header then offers two clear options for people who want to participate in Clinton’s campaign. Both options include the first steps to completing the desired action right there on the page. They’re also presented in a logical order: join first… then donate.

The menu options are elegantly lined up and not as crowded as Trump’s. The red “Donate” button on the top-right leaps off the page. And Clinton cleverly sows elements of her progressive logo throughout.

The Bad:

While not as overwhelming as the body of Trump’s homepage, Clinton’s homepage lacks focus, direction and a clear visual hierarchy. After the initial CTAs to either join or donate, there are no follow-up boxes to engage visitors once they leave the header section.

Instead, the majority of the screen is dominated by text-heavy article excerpts.

My first thought was that the articles would link to outside resources, something that Trump does well. Instead, they’re internal links to pieces on Clinton’s own site. While internal linking keeps her visitors on-site, the downside of this is it doesn’t offer objective or outside validation (i.e., social proof) to back up the claims being made.

Even the so-called “Get the Facts” box links to another of Clinton’s own pages:

hilary-clinton-get-the-facts-presidential-marketing-campaign

Lastly, because her social icons are presented in the footer only and obscured by light-blue text on dark-blue background, they might as well not even be there:

hilary-clinton-social-icons-presidential-marketing-campaign

The Experts:

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Andy Crestodina:
Strategic Director, Orbit Media

“Clinton’s homepage is relatively lightweight and fast loading: 1.3MB at ~2 sec.

It’s also light in terms of copy… just 350 words including the navigation. It’s action oriented and carefully edited. There are 50+ verbs and zero adverbs.

You can’t miss the calls to action. They’re prioritized  — subscribe, donate, shop, then follow — and the arrow, borrowed from the logo, helps to move the eye along. More than half the page is dedicated to these actions. That’s an extreme ratio of CTA to content.

hilary-clinton-calls-to-action-presidential-marketing-campaign

The content area is also super concise, with tiny headers (speeches, the feed, issues, etc.), big headlines and small excerpts and consistent links. This area has no images, which makes it easy to scan.

Some of the headlines are missed opportunities for editing. They could have left out the first few words on this headline: ‘Hillary on why we can’t let Donald Trump bankrupt America like one of his casinos.’

We all know who’s website we’re on. No need to use the name again. Also, it’s strange to see this link off to Medium.com. Unless the candidate has a strategy for building an audience there, she would probably be better off keeping the visitor here.

They’re using Optimizely, so presumably, we’re looking at a test. This is definitely a carefully optimized tested page. Some might say that’s an accurate reflection of the candidate.”

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Everette Taylor:
VP of Marketing, Skurt

“After clicking through the pop-up, the page does a solid job of reinforcing the desired outcome and drawing people further in. The use of Obama throughout — and now Bernie Sanders — is great use of social proof and a ‘third party endorsement’ of sorts to validate her brand.

One thing I notice that’s interesting is that she’s requesting zip code along with email. If she’s doing super targeted localized emails then awesome. If not, just unnecessary friction. Also the CTA of ‘Next’ on the red buttons are super weak… c’mon, Team Clinton.

It’s very surprising, too, that there is no use of video on the homepage, which can elicit an emotional response that connects with voters and drives conversions for emails and donations. There’s also no search bar on the homepage, which in my opinion hurts usability of the site.

Lastly, the fact that the tags like ‘Speeches’ and ‘The Feed’ are unclickable — as well as ‘Shop Now’ and ‘Commit Now’ — are a user experience no-no. If you want people to enjoy the website experience, give them multiple ways to accomplish their desired action. Also, a huge missed opportunity is not having an email capture at the bottom of the page.”

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Johnathan Dane:
Founder of KlientBoost

“One of the first things you need to focus on when it comes to conversion rates is making it insanely simple for the visitor to understand what to do.

If you have two calls to action, like Clinton does — one for email and another for donation — then start off by potentially only using the call to action that has the lowest threat in the mind of the visitor. In this case, it would be email over donation.

Once you’ve gotten the ‘easier’ foot in the door and the visitor trusts you, then you can ask for the next thing (what you originally wanted): the donation.

When it comes to what’s below the fold, it may be a better design choice to use this space to add benefits surrounding the two calls to action — preferably one call to action — instead of having additional calls to action and blog-style posts to divert attention. ‘Feed’ and ‘Shop’ can already be navigated to from the header, so leave it at that.”

Step 3: Clinton Donation Process

The Good:

Visually, Clinton’s donation page is masterful. Not only is the image aspirational, her hand cleverly provides a directional cue, driving the visitor’s attention exactly where she wants it to go: the form.

Better yet, the form is easy to read, easy to fill out on both desktop and mobile and the buttons (unlike Trump’s) are obviously buttons.

The note in the footer provides a clever two-part persuasive push: (1) social proof by way of the 1.2 million “grassroots” donors and (2) a common enemy with the parenthetical note: “Keep Donald Trump out of the White House.”

The Bad:

The copy, on the other hand, definitely leaves something to be desired. Rather than continue the positive momentum from her homepage’s hero section and the aspirational image to the right, it reads like a perfunctory declaration of fact: “Hillary just secured the nomination.”

Worse, the only action words on the form are equally uninspiring: “Chip in to stand with her.”

The fine print below the form does a better job of highlighting the option for “Americans Abroad,” but it’s still something you have to hunt for.

The Experts:

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Jen Havice:
Conversion Copywriter and Optimizer

“Clinton’s image does a good job directing your eye towards the call to action. Clinton’s gaze and arm position act as a giant arrow making it clear what she wants you to do.

In addition, the red, white and blue color scheme hits all the right patriotic buttons.

It would be interesting to test having an image of her with other people — other real people — instead of other political figures.

The copy is asking the visitor to stand with her, yet no one else is. That may create undue friction in visitors’ minds. I would tap into the herd mentality both through the copy and the visuals, hitting home the fact that the visitors themselves are far from the only people backing Clinton.”

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Talia Wolf:
Conversion Optimization Expert

“In many cases, when it comes to donations and raising money, most NGOs focus on the situation right now: the poor child or the terminally ill mother. However, the most successful donation campaigns in the world are those that show donors the outcome of their donation: a happy kid or a smiling mother.

Why does this work? Though we donate because it’s the right thing to do, we also donate because we want to feel good about our actions and ourselves. I would like to see Hillary Clinton’s page make donors feel good about their choice to chip in and promise a brighter future for them.

Currently the landing page’s main focus is Hillary Clinton and her success. People may like to see her win, but there’s a lot more behind their votes than simply the idea of Hillary Clinton being president. Choosing a president is about believing that this person can change our lives for the better.

I would test a different strategy that focuses on the visitor rather than Clinton personally. While the hero shot of Clinton is clearly directing visitors’ attention towards the call to action, I would test adding many other people around her to show that her success is everyone’s success and that she has many supporters.

I’d also add a lot more social proof — perhaps testimonials, showing how many people have already donated and highlighting the change Clinton will deliver by being elected. I’d focus on making the page in terms of content and visuals all about the people ‘chipping in’ and the emotional outcome — the pride, excitement and promise of a brighter future.”

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Alex Harris:
Conversion Optimization for eCommerce and Lead Gen

“I think Team Clinton has done a great job of combining the image of Clinton pointing with the clean, interactive donation box.

It may be worth testing ‘Select an Amount’ versus ‘Choose Amount Below’ and making it left aligned. Sometimes you can increase conversions by breaking up the grid layout so the users can scan each section in a zigzag motion.

The same thing goes for the ‘Next’ button. I would test it in a variety of ways, including making the button not expand the width of the section and making is skinnier. Also I would not make it flat. After years of testing buttons on banners and landing pages, I’ve found a beveled button with rounded corners tends to work better than a flat button. There’s also no hover on the button, which is just lazy development.

As far as the ‘Secure’ text and icon, I think it is good enough, but it can be better. I would test making the lock gold and playing with text — something like ‘100% Secure.’

The rest of the interaction and forms are pretty standard. I think they work well and seem to flow from page to page pretty easily. That said, the form doesn’t include accepted credit card logos, which can be confusing to visitors. They may accept all cards, but they rely upon users to deduce that for themselves. Also, why is ‘Employer’ a required field? That field could stop a user from donating, or they will enter a fake company.”

And the winner is…

Sorry, but if you’ve been holding your breath waiting to have Trump or Clinton declared the conversion rate optimization victor, only time will tell.

Besides, I told you from the jump this is not a political article, and I’m not going to go breaking that promise here at the end. More to the point, I don’t want to get bombarded in the comments or on social media by adherents to either party.

Truth be told, the real winner in all this is conversion rate optimization itself.

Why?

Because thanks to the staggering success of presidential optimization in the past, these might very well be the highest stake funnels in the history of the world.

And that means one thing: No matter what side of the aisle you’re on, they hold a treasure trove of insights for copywriters, designers, UX engineers and anybody looking to improve the results of their own websites.

Huge thanks to all the CRO gurus who contributed.

Now… it’s your turn.

Did we miss something good, bad or ugly?

If so, be sure to let us know to it in the comments.

View this article – 

Clinton vs. Trump: 18 CROs Tear Down the Highest Stakes Marketing Campaigns in US History

A Fun Approach To Creating More Successful Websites

As Web designers and developers, each project we work with has a unique set of goals and requirements. But one goal we have for all of our projects is that we want them to make an impression on people — we want the websites that we create to be memorable.
A fun experience is often an enjoyable one and an enjoyable experience is usually a memorable one. Therefore, it stands to reason that one of the ways to create a memorable experience is to make it a fun experience.

Excerpt from: 

A Fun Approach To Creating More Successful Websites

Open Call For International Communities

At Smashing Magazine, we are big proponents of diversity and sharing. We encourage designers and developers worldwide to step up and use Smashing Magazine as a platform to share their opinions, ideas or techniques. Our editorial process is quite evolved, yet we are very open to users’ suggestions. In fact, if an author has something to say, we try to help them collect their thoughts, strengthen their points and sharpen their language.

Continue reading: 

Open Call For International Communities

Gender Disparities in the Design Field

Walk into any design classroom, at any college in America, and you’ll see a comfortable mix of male and female students. Turn your attention to the front of the classroom, or down the hall to the faculty and staff offices, and that wonderful gender balance starts to skew. Travel outside the campus, and there’s really no balance at all. [Links checked March/10/2017]
But why? If there are design classrooms across the country with a 50⁄50 blend of men and women — and in many classrooms, there are more females than males — then why doesn’t the design field represent the same ratio?

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Gender Disparities in the Design Field

Increasing Innovation With Hack Nights

If you work at an agency or design house, chances are that most of your time is spent working on client projects. After months of bending over backwards to meet your clients’ demands, work may start to get a little stale. At this point, it’s okay to become a little selfish and ask yourself: “When was the last time that we have done something for ourselves?”
Seriously. When was the last time that an idea was expressed that interested everyone within earshot?

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Increasing Innovation With Hack Nights

The Dying Art Of Design

Progress is good, but we need to make sure that we’re progressing in the right direction. Our fundamental skills and the craft of design have started to take a back seat. Using the right tools and techniques is certainly an important part of design. But do our tools and resources make us better designers?
Taking a close look at the current state of design, we can see that sometimes modern design tools and processes do more harm than good.

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The Dying Art Of Design