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A Simple Guide to Improve User Experience and Boost Conversion Rates

improve user experience

I’ve written a lot about user experience over the years: how to improve user experience, when to implement it, and how to test for it. There’s a reason I cover it so widely. It touches every aspect of your business, from SEO to customer service. If you owned a brick-and-mortar store, you would worry about things like end cap displays, signage, aisle navigation, and sales support. Those things matter online, too, except they’re more difficult to observe and track without specialized tools. You can’t enter your customers’ homes and look over their shoulders while they check out your social media…

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A Simple Guide to Improve User Experience and Boost Conversion Rates

6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

If you want to craft a delightful marketing experience and you’re using popups, you need to make sure you hold them to the same high standards as the content they are covering up. You can learn a lot by looking at bad website popup examples.

Once you understand what not to do, you’ll default to starting your own popup designs from a better baseline.

What does a bad popup design actually look like?

Well, it depends on your judging criteria, and for the popup examples below, I was considering these seven things, among others:

  1. Clarity: Is it easy to figure out the offer really quickly?
  2. Relevance: Is it related to the content of the current page?
  3. Manipulation: Does it use psychological trickery in the copy?
  4. Design: Is it butt ugly?
  5. Control: Is it clear what all options will do?
  6. Escape: Can you get rid of it easily?
  7. Value: Is the reward worth more than the perceived (or actual) effort?

The following popup examples, each make a number of critical errors in their design decisions. Take a look, and share your own worst popup design examples in the comments!


#1 – Weather Channel Rudeness

What’s so bad about it?

Okay, I get it Weather.com, ads are one of, or your only, revenue stream. There are plenty of sites who ask you to turn off an ad blocker to read the full article. I don’t have a problem with it, and the main paragraph of text here is okay.

What I *do* have a problem with is the copy on the CTA. “Turn off your ad blocker”.

Really? You can’t even say please? That’s just obnoxious.

Fun fact, the Canadian version of the site doesn’t have this popup. Go figure. ;)
(I had to VPN to get the U.S. version.)

Submitted by Ramona from Impact)


#2 – Mashable Shmashable

What’s so bad about it?

If you peer into the background behind the popup, you’ll see a news story headline that begins with “Nightmare Alert”. I think that’s a pretty accurate description of what’s happening here.

  • Design: Bad. The first thing I saw looks like a big mistake. The Green line with the button hanging off the bottom looks like the designer fell asleep with their head on the mouse.
  • Clarity: Bad. And what on earth does the headline mean? click.click.click. Upon deeper exploration, it’s the name of the newsletter, but that’s not apparent at all on first load.
  • Clarity: worse. Then we get the classic “Clear vs. Clever” headline treatment. Why are you talking about the pronunciation of the word “Gif”? Tell me what this is, and why I should care to give you my email.
  • Design: Bad. Also, that background is gnarly.

#3 – KAM Motorsports Revolution!

What’s so bad about it?

It’s motorsports. It’s not a revolution. Unless they’re talking about wheels going round in circles.

  • Clarity: Bad. The headline doesn’t say what it is, or what I’ll get by subscribing. I have to read the fine print to figure that out.
  • Copy: Bad. Just reading the phrase “abuse your email” is a big turn off. Just like the word spam, I wasn’t thinking that you were going to abuse me, but now it’s on my mind.
  • Relevance: Bad. Newsletter subscription popups are great, they have a strong sense of utility and can give people exactly what they want. But I don’t like them as entry popups. They’re much better when they use an exit trigger, or a scroll trigger. Using a “Scroll Up” trigger is smart because it means they’ve read some of your content, and they are scrolling back up vs. leaving directly, which is another micro-signal that they are interested.

#4 – Utterly Confused


(Source unknown – I found it on confirmshaming.tumblr.com)

What’s so bad about it?

I have no earthly clue what’s going on here.

  • Clarity: Bad. I had to re-read it five times before I figured out what was going on.
  • Control: Bad. After reading it, I didn’t know whether I would be agreeing with what they’re going to give me, or with the statement. It’s like an affirmation or something. But I have no way of knowing what will happen if I click either button. My best guess after spending this much time writing about it is that it’s a poll. But a really meaningless one if it is. Click here to find out how many people agreed with “doing better”…
  • It ends with “Do Better”. I agree. They need to do a lot better.

#5 – Purple Nurple

What’s so bad about it?

  • Manipulation: Bad. Our first “Confirm Shaming” example. Otherwise known as “Good Cop / Bad Cop”. Forcing people to click a button that says “Detest” on it is so incongruent with the concept of a mattress company that I think they’re just being cheap. There’s no need to speak to people that way.
  • I found a second popup example by Purple (below), and have to give them credit. The copy on this one is significantly more persuasive. Get this. If you look at the section I circled (in purple), it says that if you subscribe, they’ll keep you up to date with SHIPPING TIMES!!! Seriously? If you’re going to email me and say “Hey Oli, great news! We can ship you a mattress in 2 weeks!”, I’ll go to Leesa, or Endy, or one of a million other Casper copycats.


#6 – Hello BC

What’s so bad about it?

Context: This is an entry popup, and I have never been to this site before.

  • Relevance: Bad. The site is Hellobc.com, the title says “Supernatural British Columbia”, and the content on the page is about skydiving. So what list is this for? And nobody wants to be on a “list”, stop saying “list”. It’s like saying email blast. Blast your list. If you read the first sentence it gets even more confusing, as you’ll be receiving updates from Destination BC. That’s 4 different concepts at play here.
  • Design: Bad. It’s legitimately butt ugly. I mean, come on. This is for Beautiful Supernatural British Columbia ffs. It’s stunning here. Show some scenery to entice me in.
  • Value: Bad. Seeing that form when I arrive on the page is like a giant eff you. Why do they think it’s okay to ask for that much info, with that much text, before I’ve even seen any content?
  • Control: Bad. And there’s not any error handling. However, the submit button remains inactive until you magically click the right amount of options to trigger it’s hungry hungry hippo mouth to open.

Train. Wreck.


Well, that’s all for today, folks. You might be wondering why there were so few popup examples in this post. Honestly, when the team was rallying to find me a bunch of examples, we all struggled to find many truly awful ones. We also struggled to find many really awesome ones.

This is where YOU come in!

Send me your terrible and awesome popup examples!

If you have any wonderfully brutal, or brutally wonderful examples of website popup design, I’d really appreciate a URL in the comments. If you could share the trigger details too that would be rad (e.g. exit, entrance, scroll, delay etc.).

Tomorrow’s Post is about Awesome Popup Examples! YAY.

So get your butt back here same time tomorrow, where I’ll be sharing my brand new Popup Delight Equation that you can use to grade your own popup designs.

Cheers,
Oli

p.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly updates.

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6 Really Bad Website Popup Examples

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The CSS Grid Challenge: Build A Template, Win Some Smashing Prizes!

Layout on the web has always been tricky, but with CSS Grid being now supported in all major browsers, most of the hacks that helped to achieve complex layouts have become obsolete. Firefox even has a CSS Grid Inspector built in, so that there’s nothing to hold you back from making even the most challenging flexible layout reality.
To explore the possibilities and features of CSS Grid together, we’d love to invite you to a little contest.

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The CSS Grid Challenge: Build A Template, Win Some Smashing Prizes!

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How To Create Dramatic Vector Illustrations

I have been drawing desktop wallpapers for Smashing Magazine’s monthly collections for over a year now, and every time it’s a very fun and challenging mission. In this article, I would like to share how I approach all stages of the process and provide general techniques for creating vector illustrations in Adobe Illustrator. Hopefully, you will find these techniques useful.
While referring to a particular drawing — the illustration for the “Understand Yourself” desktop wallpaper, which was featured in May’s wallpaper collection this year — I’ll also highlight key takeaways from my experience as an illustrator and designer.

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How To Create Dramatic Vector Illustrations

Web Development Reading List #150: Less Code, GitHub’s Security, And The Morals Of Science

There is a lot to learn this week. It starts with non-technical things like going for a walk to refresh your mind and finishes with how to prevent reverse XSS attacks in forms. But it doesn’t matter whether you learn how to build self-contained web components using the new specification or to maximize the efficiency of your Angular 2 app or just how you can write less code. What matters is that you keep asking questions and that you try to get better and smarter at your craft.

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Web Development Reading List #150: Less Code, GitHub’s Security, And The Morals Of Science

Content-First Prototyping

Content is the core commodity of the digital economy. It is the gold we fashion into luxury experience, the diamond we encase in loyalty programs and upsells. Yet, as designers, we often plug it in after the fact. We prototype our interaction and visual design to exhaustion, but accept that the “real words” can just be dropped in later. There is a better way.
More and more, the digital goods we create operate within a dynamic system of content, functionality, code and intent.

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Content-First Prototyping

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How To Make A Physiology-Friendly Application For The iPad

If you’ve ever had to move your iPad from one hand to the other just to tap a button you couldn’t reach, then you may have already guessed why we began this study in our UX lab.
Our Mail.Ru Group’s UX lab team carries out many usability studies of our apps for smartphones and tablets. We address users’ needs by introducing features in our products. We carefully test all of the functions to ensure users notice and understand them well.

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How To Make A Physiology-Friendly Application For The iPad

15 Impressive Alternative Browsers

It’s 2015 and your choice of browser has proven to be as important as your choice of operating system. Dedicated apps may be competing against browsers on mobile devices, but that is hardly the case in the desktop environment. On the contrary, each year more desktop browsers appear, and some of them can change the way you browse the Internet for the better.
Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera dominate the world’s desktop browser market.

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15 Impressive Alternative Browsers

Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: May 2013

We always try our best to challenge your artistic abilities and produce some interesting, beautiful and creative artwork. And as designers we usually turn to different sources of inspiration. As a matter of fact, we’ve discovered the best one—desktop wallpapers that are a little more distinctive than the usual crowd.
This creativity mission has been going on for over five years now, and we are very thankful to all the designers who have contributed and are still diligently contributing each month.

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Desktop Wallpaper Calendars: May 2013

How To Raise Your Email Above Inbox Noise

If we look at email from a signal-to-noise perspective, then one-to-many emails are undeniably in the “noise” category; people are exceedingly good at ignoring them. Even Gmail and Hotmail are helping us ignore them by providing smart inboxes that sort incoming messages.
Emails from our families, friends and coworkers, however, are “signals.” We go out of our way to read them. But those emails aren’t the only ones — on occasion, we’ll happily read messages from businesses or complete strangers.

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How To Raise Your Email Above Inbox Noise