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The Fine Art of Landing Page Design: Using F & Z Patterns to Increase Conversions

In a saturated online world with an abundance of information, marketers are constantly battling for attention. You’ve likely read that online users have an attention span less than that of a goldfish. Therefore, the more organized and straightforward your strategy is for converting a lead, the better. Over the last couple decades, eye-tracking studies have been performed to ascertain where consumer’s eyes move when they land on a web page. Jakob Nielsen even authored a book Eyetracking Web Usability which analyzes “1.5 million instances where users look at Web sites to understand how the human eyes interact with design.” Landing…

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The Fine Art of Landing Page Design: Using F & Z Patterns to Increase Conversions

5 test results that made us say ‘A-ha!’ in 2016

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‘A-ha!’ moment (n.): An insight that leads to more substantial revenue lift and profitable growth for your company (e.g. the moment all Optimizers live for).

At WiderFunnel, our mission is create profitable ‘A-ha!’ moments for our clients every day.

Last year, I created a five-part ‘A-ha!’ moments series: Five mini blog posts focused on five of our favorite insights from 2015. Well, turns out 2016 was also full of ‘A-ha!’ moments that were too good to keep to ourselves.

This post explores five of WiderFunnel’s favorite ‘A-ha!’s from the past year. I hope that they inspire you as you begin planning your 2017 experiments!

‘A-ha!’ #1: Using color psychology to increase conversions

If you follow WiderFunnel, you probably know that we are not big fans of conversion optimization ‘best practices’ like “all calls-to-action should be orange”.

Because, frankly, best practices may not be the best thing for your business. They must be proven in your business context, for your users.

That said, this first ‘A-ha!’ moment comes from a color isolation test. But, the ‘A-ha’ isn’t the result, it’s the why behind the hypothesis.

The strategy

One of our clients provides an online consumer information service — users type in a question and get an Expert answer. Once a user asks their question, they have entered a four-step funnel:

  • Step 1: Ask the question
  • Step 2: Add more information
  • Step 3: Pick an Expert
  • Step 4: Get an answer (aka the checkout page)

We have been testing on each step of this funnel, but this particular experiment was on the all-important checkout page, the final conversion.

What can the right color do?

For each WiderFunnel client, we create a customized growth program, however, each program is built with our proven Infinity Optimization Process™. The process cycles between two phases: Explore (information-gathering) and Validate (testing and proving).

Research on consumer behavior, psychological principles, and persuasion techniques is a huge part of the Explore phase. Our Strategists use this research, along with several other information touchpoints, when developing hypotheses.

This past year, one of WiderFunnel’s favorite bloggers and researchers, Nick Kolenda, published a giant piece on color psychology. Kolenda looked at 50 academic studies on color, and compiled his findings. According to him, certain colors can inspire certain actions.

Aha! #1 color spectrum
Can certain colors influence your users’ behavior?

In the case of this client, Optimization Strategist, Nick So, wanted to see if adding a subtle, subconscious visual cue to the checkout page would be more motivational for users. He was looking, specifically, at warm colors.

Persuasion principle
: Warm colors (with high saturation and low brightness) increase arousal because they trigger impulsivity, and tend to increase behavioral responses.

The test: Isolation I and isolation II

In the first isolation, Nick decided to put warm colors to the test.

Hypothesis: Increasing prominence of the checkout area by using a color linked to increasing action and responses will improve visual clarity of the page and increase conversions.

Aha! #1 Control
The client’s original checkout page.
Aha! 1 VarA
Our variation, which emphasized the payment section with a warm color background.

In the variation, Nick removed all other background colors and added a warm orange background to the payment section. And it worked! This variation saw a statistically significant 2.82% increase in conversions.

We wanted to validate this insight across audiences, so Nick created a second isolation for this client’s mobile users.

Aha! #1 mobile
From right to left: the Control, VarA, and the winning VarB.

He tested the Control against two variations: Variation B (the warm color isolation) was built on variation A, so Nick was able to track the isolation properly. In this experiment, the color change was responsible for a 2.7% lift in conversions, almost the exact same increase as in the desktop test.

A-ha!

Nick So WiderFunnel

It’s always amazing how such seemingly subtle psychological cues and persuasion elements can have a big potential impact on user behavior. We are fortunate to be able to have a client that has the traffic, trusts us, and understands testing enough to allow us to run an isolation on such an interesting concept.

– Nick So

‘A-ha!’ #2: Sometimes, all your users need is a clear next step

You may have heard the phrase “if content is king, revenue is queen”…

WiderFunnel Founder & CEO, Chris Goward, wrote, “Content is important for getting people to your site, from search algorithms to social share to links to your site, but content alone doesn’t make you revenue. Content without conversions is just free publishing.

Our second ‘A-ha!’ moment comes from testing we have been doing with one WiderFunnel client: A content site that provides information for the individual investor. This client offers a ton of free resources on its website to help users stay on top of their finances.

Of course, they also offer subscription services, such as their newsletter and professional advisor service, which provides premium stock-picking advice to users. Our goal is to help this client increase profitable conversions.

The strategy

When we began testing with this client, there were many different paths that users could take after landing on an investing article. And there was almost no indication that there were professional services available (which is how this client makes money!)

The WiderFunnel Strategy team did an initial LIFT analysis of the site-wide navigation, which revealed several problems, like:

  • There was not a clear, primary call-to-action in the nav (Clarity)
  • There was a general lack of urgency (Urgency)
  • The menu drop-down for “Stock Picks” had one, ambiguous dropdown (Anxiety)
  • If someone is ready to spend money, it is not clear how to do so (Clarity)
Aha! #2 Control
The original navigation didn’t have a clear call-to-action.

We wanted to test giving users a clear action to take in the site-wide navigation. This way, a user who wanted more would know which path to take.

We tested adding a “Latest Stock Picks” call-to-action in the nav (replacing the “Stock Picks” dropdown); the assumption was that users of this client’s site are looking for stock-picking advice, specifically.

Hypothesis: Creating a clear “Latest Stock Picks” CTA in the site-wide navigation will cause more users to enter a revenue-driving funnel from all parts of the site.

The variations

We tested two variations, each of which featured the “Latest Stock Picks” call-to-action. But, in each variation this CTA took the user to a different page. Our ultimate goal was to find out:

  1. If users were even aware that there are premium paid services offered, and
  2. Which funnel is best to help users make a decision and, ultimately, a purchase?

With variation A, we added the “Latest Stock Picks” CTA in the nav. This call-to-action sent users to the homepage and anchored them in the premium services section. (This is how the functionality of the original dropdown worked.)

This section provides a lot of detail about this client’s different offerings, along with a “Sign Up Today” call-to-action.

Aha! #2 VarA
The winning variation featured a very clear call-to-action, while maintaining the same functionality as the Control.

With variation B, we wanted to test limiting choice. Rather than showing users a bunch of product options, the “Latest Stock Picks” CTA sent them directly to the professional advisor sign up page (this client’s most popular product).

Aha! #2 VarB
In this variation, the CTA sent users to a product page.

A-ha!

Both variations beat the control, with variation A resulting in an 11.17% lift in transactions with 99% confidence and variation B resulting in a 7.9% increase in transactions with 97% confidence.

Interestingly, because variation B was built on variation A, we were able to see that it actually decreased transactions by 3.3%.

So, what does this mean? Here are a few takeaways we plan to explore further in 2017:

  • Users may have been unsure of how to sign up (or that they could sign up) due to lack of CTA prominence on the original site-wide navigation
    • It is also possible that Urgency was a motivator for this client’s users: Changing the “Stock Picks” drop down to a “Latest Stock Picks” CTA increased urgency and led to more conversions. This wasn’t a clear isolation but it’s good evidence to follow-up with!
  • Users prefer some degree of choice over being sent to one product (as seen with the decrease in transactions caused by variation B)

But the main moral of this ‘A-ha!’? Make sure your users know exactly where to find what you’re selling. ‘Cause content without conversions is just free publishing.

‘A-ha!’ #3: The power of proper Design of Experiments

Earlier this year, I published a case study on WiderFunnel client, weBoost. WeBoost is an e-commerce retailer and manufacturer of cellular signal boosters.

This case study explored several tests that we had run on multiple areas of the weBoost site, including a series of design tests we ran on their product category page. Our third A-ha! moment takes up where the case study left off in this series…

A quick refresher

Originally, the weBoost product category pages featured a non-traditional design layout. A large image in the top left corner, very tall product modules, and right-hand filters made these pages unique among e-commerce catalog pages.

Aha! #3 Original
The original product category page layout.

We decided to test displaying products in landscape versus the long, portrait-style modules. According to a Baymard study of e-commerce sites, technical products are easier to compare in a horizontal layout because there is more space to include specs. This was variation A.

Aha! #3 Horizontal
Variation A featured a simple change: vertical modules to horizontal.

In variation B, we wanted to explore the idea that users didn’t need to see a product details page at all. Maybe the information on the category page was all users needed to make a confident purchase.

Variation B was built on variation A, with one isolated change: We changed the primary visual call-to-action from “View Details” to “Add To Cart”.

Aha! #3 Add To Cart
Note the primary CTA in this variation: “Add To Cart”

In a backward ‘A-ha!’ moment, variation A (based on the Baymard study) decreased transactions by -9.6%. Despite our intentions, the horizontal layout might have made it more difficult for users to compare products.

But! Variation B, with the add-to-cart focus, saw a 16.4% increase in transactions against the control page. It turns out that many users are actually comfortable adding products to their cart right from the category page.

Variation B moved more users further through the funnel and ultimately resulted in a large uptick in transactions, despite the negative impact of the horizontal layout.

After comparing variation A to variation B, WiderFunnel Optimization Strategist, Michael St Laurent, estimated that the “Add To Cart” call-to-action was actually worth a lift of 28.7% in transactions.

The follow-up (and subsequent ‘A-ha!’)

We knew that the horizontal layout led to a decrease in transactions and we knew that the horizontal layout plus the isolated CTA change led to a sizable increase in transactions.

So, we ran the obvious follow-up experiment: We tested a variation featuring the vertical module design with the add-to-cart focused call-to-action. We expected to see at least a 29% increase in transactions. We used variation B from the previous test as the Control, following proper Design of Experiments.

Aha! #3 Final
This variation reverted to the vertical modules from the original page, and featured the “Add To Cart” CTA.

As predicted, when we tested the “Add To Cart” call-to-action on the vertical modules, we saw a whopping 38.1% increase in transactions (more than double the 16.4% increase we observed with the horizontal layout, and 9 percentage points more than the estimate).

A-ha!

It never gets old to see isolations at work. The ‘A-ha!’ moment here is that no test ever has to be a ‘loser’. If you structure your tests using isolations, you will be able to track the potential impact of each change.

Michael St Laurent WiderFunnel

This entire time, we were assuming that users needed more information to make a technical product selection. We were focused on making the specs easier to compare, when there was an entire segment of the audience that was ready to put the product in their cart without more investigation. Sometimes you have to challenge your assumptions. In this case it paid off!

– Michael St Laurent, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel

‘A-ha!’ #4: De-emphasizing price reduces user anxiety

One of our clients is Vital Choice, a trusted source for fast home delivery of the world’s finest wild seafood and organic fare, harvested from healthy, well-managed wild fisheries and farms.

Our fourth ‘A-ha!’ moment from 2016 came out of the testing we did with Vital Choice on their product detail pages and revolves around de-emphasizing price, in favor of value proposition points.

While the results may not be surprising, the WiderFunnel Strategy team would not have prioritized this particular test if they hadn’t done extensive user research beforehand. Because we took the pulse of Vital Choice users, we were able to reduce anxiety and provide more motivation to purchase.

The strategy

Let’s say you wanted to order a few organic, grass-fed American Wagyu beef patties from the Vital Choice website. You would have eventually landed on a detail page that looked like this (the Control in this experiment):

Aha! #4 Control
Note the prominence of price on the original detail page.

As you can see, price is displayed prominently near the ‘Add To Cart’ call-to-action. But, during the Explore (information gathering) phase, WiderFunnel Optimization Strategist, Dennis Pavlina, identified several common themes of barriers to conversion in user survey responses, including:

  1. Price: Users love Vital Choice and the excellent quality of their products, but they often mention the premium they are paying. For many users, it is a ‘treat’ and a ‘luxury’ to buy from Vital Choice. Price-related themes, such as discount codes or coupons, also came up often in surveys.
  2. Shipping: Users often express concern about how frozen perishable items are shipped, particularly in warmer climates in the U.S.

If we could reduce user anxiety in these two areas, we believed Vital Choice would see a surge in conversions.

The test

Hypothesis: Adding relevant value proposition points that justify the price and quality of the product, and adding copy to reduce anxiety around shipping in close proximity of the order area on the product page, will increase conversions.

With our variation, we wanted to address the following barriers to conversion on the original page:

  • It was unclear what users would receive in their shipment i.e. how it would be shipped to them, how long it would take, etc. (Anxiety)
  • There were no prominently displayed value proposition points to justify the price of the product. (Value Proposition)
  • There was a lot of emphasis on the price of the product. (Anxiety)
Aha! #4 VarA
This variation addressed user anxieties by de-emphasizing price, and reassuring users of shipping guarantees.

A-ha!

This variation led to a 3.3% increase in conversions and a 2.7% increase in average order value, resulting in almost $250,000 in estimated additional annual revenue.

Conversions were up for almost every goal we tracked: Visits to checkout (step 2), visits to checkout (step 3), visits to checkout (step 4), total visits to cart, and average order value. But they were down to unique visits to cart.

Dennis Pavlina WiderFunnel

The most interesting part of analyzing results was noticing that, although unique visits to cart were slightly down, there was a large increase in total visits to cart. It’s a surprising pattern. We hypothesize that users may have been more confident and willing to purchase more items at once, when anxiety was reduced.

– Dennis Pavlina, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel

The fact that de-emphasizing price worked for Vital Choice users isn’t what made us say, ‘A-ha!’. But, the proven power of listening to, and addressing their users’ stated concerns, did. When in doubt, ask your users.

A-ha! #5: Quick view, long delay

A-ha! number 5 comes from testing we did with another one of our clients, a large retailer of sports goods, footwear, and apparel. We have been working with this company for more than a year to optimize their e­-commerce experiences, with the goal of increasing transactions.

Like on many e-commerce sites, users on this client’s site could view product details directly on the category page, using a Quick View functionality. When a user hovered over a product, they would see the product details in a Quick View window.

In our final ‘a-ha!’, we explore what (so often) happens when you test a common practice.

The strategy

Distraction is a very common barrier to conversion; often, there are elements on a client’s page that are diverting visitors away the from the ultimate goal.

For Michael St Laurent, the Quick View option on this client’s category page was a potential distraction.

Michael St Laurent WiderFunnel

The more visual cues and action options your visitor has to process, the less likely they are to make a conversion decision. At WiderFunnel, we have found that minimizing distractions such as unnecessary product options, links, and extraneous information will increase your conversion rate.

– Michael St Laurent

So, he decided to put his theory that the Quick View is an unnecessary distraction to the test.

The test

Hypothesis: Disabling the Quick View functionality will result in reduced distraction and ultimately, more conversions.

The Control in this test was the client’s original category page, featuring the Quick View functionality.

Aha! #5 Control
The original Quick View functionality.

In the Quick View, users could quickly move from product to product on the category page without going to a product page itself.

We tested this control against a variation that removed the Quick View functionality completely.

Aha! #5 No Quick View
In our variation, we eliminated the Quick View functionality entirely.

A-ha!

It turns out the Quick View functionality was, indeed, distracting. Disabling it resulted in more product exploration as well as more transactions; transactions increased by 4% (a big lift for a high-traffic company like this one!)

If your site has a functionality, like Quick View or a rotating banner, you should probably test it! While ‘flashy’ functionalities are…well…flashy, they are rarely what your users want, and may be preventing your users from actually purchasing.

At the end of every month, the WiderFunnel Strategy team shares their favorite ‘A-ha!’ moments from the past four weeks. Sometimes, the ‘A-ha!’ is an exciting result and big lift for a client, sometimes it’s a twist insight, sometimes it’s a ‘losing’ test that inspired a winning test.

As Chris Goward explains,

There’s no downside to communicating what you’ve learned from every test. If you view your optimization program as a strategic method for learning about your customers and prospects – for truly understanding their mindset – rather than a tactical tweaking program, you can take a broader perspective and find the gains in every test.

I hope that these ‘A-ha!’ moments inspire you to do the work, structure your tests properly, and learn constantly in 2017. And I encourage you to share your favorite ‘A-ha!’ moments in the comments section below.

The post 5 test results that made us say ‘A-ha!’ in 2016 appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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5 test results that made us say ‘A-ha!’ in 2016

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Do Video Backgrounds Help or Hurt Conversions?

gold bars
Not everything that glitters is gold. Only by testing can you know for sure if you’ve hit the jackpot. Image via Shutterstock.

So far, video backgrounds have been implemented fairly successfully on websites (they add a certain cool-factor, right?), but there is some debate over whether or not they should be used on landing pages. While video backgrounds may look beautiful, initial research reveals that they could prove too distracting for some landing pages, and could contribute to lower conversion rates.

As is the case with most new innovations in web design, it can be tempting to use this new technology without a clear understanding on how it affects conversion.

Nonetheless, marketers love video backgrounds: they are modern, appeal to the inner design ego in all of us and have already been hailed as one of the biggest design trends of 2016. Trendy marketers have made it clear that they definitely want to use them on landing pages.

In fact, when Unbounce released video backgrounds as a built in feature, it become one of the most popular discussions in our community. Ever. And, when we opened it up for beta testing, we got some pretty enthusiastic responses.

Like Jon here…

jon

And David…

david

And, of course, Gary…

gary

And, Dave…?

dave t

So, video backgrounds on a website? Go for it. But video backgrounds on a landing page? Not so fast.

Not so fast
Image via Giphy.

Here’s why: Video backgrounds can make pages load slower and distract visitors from your Call to Action (CTA). And since every great landing page has only one end goal (conversions), it begs the question: Should we nix the idea of using video background altogether?

Well, not entirely.

Like anything else you implement on a landing page, you’re going to want to test that puppy out thoroughly to see what effect (if any) it has on conversion rates.

Here at Unbounce, we’ve been testing out the use of video backgrounds on landing pages. Based on our results, we’ve come up with some guidelines outlining when to use a video background versus a static hero image and best practices for applying a video background.

When should you use a video background on a landing page?

I looped in Unbounce’s senior conversion expert, Michael Aagaard, to explain how using a video background on landing pages has worked for us:

We’ve been experimenting with video backgrounds for a while now. What we see is a tendency for video backgrounds to work well on landing pages where the goal is to communicate a certain “vibe” or “feeling.

In other words, video backgrounds could work well on landing pages that promote a unique atmosphere, like a conference, performing arts event or restaurant.

Video backgrounds can help demonstrate a hard-to-describe experience or atmosphere.

When shouldn’t you use a video background on a landing page?

Aagaard explains that video backgrounds could have an adverse effect on landing pages when there’s a complex sales offer at stake. When that’s the case, he recommends concentrating on the landing page copy to convince users to convert:

With more complex offers where you need to read a lot of copy in the first screenful, video backgrounds can be a bit distracting.

Copy has a direct and measurable effect on landing page conversions. If your offer requires a lot of explaining, use your words rather than running the risk of distracting visitors with video.

The Unbounce house rules for using video backgrounds

Landing pages are different from websites, and thus deserve their own set of laws for applying video backgrounds. Here’s our (not-yet-foolproof) list of ground rules for using video backgrounds on a landing page. Is this a comprehensive, complete, end-all, be-all list? Of course not! Join the dialogue and add your own rules and/or lessons learned in the comments below.

1. Avoid major distractions

Keep the conversion goal front and center. The video background content should always support the overall goal of the page. ConversionXL founder Peep Laja has a similar opinion:

Video that doesn’t add value works against the conversion goal.

Essentially, video backgrounds shouldn’t distract visitors from the primary goal of the page — rather, they should supplement or enhance the CTA.

The video background on this landing page enhances the CTA without distracting visitors.

2. Contrast is essential

In most cases, you’ll want to have some text layered on top of the video background — make sure it’s legible and easy to read throughout the entire video loop. Generally, aim for a strong light/dark contrast between the video background and the copy.

One way to ensure full, legible contrast is by applying a solid, monochromatic filter on top of the video. Not only does this look super professional, but also the color contrast makes the text, form and CTA on the landing page really pop.

The monochromatic filter applied on top of this video background makes the text and CTA really pop. BTW, like this ^? Log into Unbounce to use this brand spankin’ new template.

3. Short loop

A 5-10 second video loop should be enough time to get the point across without sacrificing quick load time.

Keep in mind that a background video will be playing on a constant loop. If the video is too short, the loop will appear disjointed or incomplete. On the other hand, if the video is too long, the viewer may click away from the website, or onto another page before the video has had a chance to work its magic in eliciting the desired emotional response.

Look for (or produce) a simple looping background that is relevant to the content of your landing page.
There are many libraries of stock video clips online (here’s a pretty good roundup). If you can’t produce your own footage, make sure to double-check the copyrights associated with any video before you use it.

4. Mute the audio

One of the biggest pet peeves of net users everywhere is unsolicited audio when landing on a page. Don’t let your landing page be that landing page.

The general rule of thumb is that sound should always be muted (on all Unbounce pages, audio is turned off by default). If, for some reason, you need to add sound to your video background, don’t autoplay the video with sound — let viewers press play when they’re ready.

5. Remove visual controls

As long as the video content is relevant and the quality sufficient, there should be no reason for landing page visitors to press play or pause.

#alwaysbetesting

So, if you follow all of our House Rules, placing a video in the background of your landing page should increase conversion, right? Or, at the very least, it won’t actually hurt conversion… right?

Well, maybe.

Video backgrounds are still in the early days of their inception and, like any good data-driven marketer, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive before committing fully.

A/B testing is both an art and a science. It’s also very unpredictable. Most marketing departments, usability specialists, designers and management rely on a mixture of experience, gut instinct and personal opinion when it comes to deciding what makes a delightful marketing experience for their customers.

We recommend running an A/B test to compare how your page performs with a video background compared to a static image. Start by segmenting a small portion of traffic towards the page — just to be safe.

At the end of the day, it’s your customers and your brand that will decide what converts best.

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Do Video Backgrounds Help or Hurt Conversions?

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Stock Image or Real Image: A/B Testing Provides an Incredible 161% Increase in Conversions

Stock Image or Real Image – what should you use? The debate has been raging for a while now. That’s unfortunate, because there is no one answer that will work for all businesses alike. Why speculate at all, when we can throw the contenders into an A/B test and sit back while statistics find us a winner? Think of it as WWE, except A/B tests are real, and they get you better business. Let’s get right to it then, shall we?

Background

160 Driving Academy is an Illinois based firm that offers truck-driving classes and even guarantees a job upon graduation. Visitors to the site primarily use the contact form on the homepage, or the prominently displayed phone number, to contact the academy. Looking to improve the conversion rate on the truck-driving classes page,  the academy reached out to SpectrumInc, a lead-generation software and internet marketing company. The rest (as they have not yet begun to say, but soon will) is a future of great conversions!

The Hypothesis

The academy had been using a stock image of a man driving a truck on its homepage. When SpectrumInc came on board, they decided to test the page with the photograph of a real student instead. The hypothesis was that the image of an actual student would outperform the stock image the academy had been using. On being asked about the background of this test, Brian McKenzie from SpectrumInc explains,

… in this case we had a branded photo of an actual 160 Driving Academy student standing in front of a truck available, but we originally opted not to use it for the page out of concern that the student’s ‘University of Florida’ sweatshirt would send the wrong message to consumers trying to obtain an Illinois, Missouri, or Iowa license. (These states are about 2,000 kilometers from the University of Florida).

Better sense prevailed, and they decided to test it anyway.

What Goals Were Tracked?

The primary conversion goal: Number of visits to the ‘Thank You’ page. These are the pages that visitors are taken to after they fill out a conversion form, like the ‘contact us’ form on the main page.

The secondary conversion goal: Number of visits to the ‘Registration’ page. The academy carries a CTA button on its page that says “Register for Classes”. A conversion would be recorded every time a visitor clicked on the button and visited the “Registration” page.

The Test: Stock Image or Real Image

Comparison Image

The Result

An incredible 161% lift in conversions, at 98% confidence level. Or, the possibility for such a massive change in conversions occurring simply due to random chance (and not because the variation actually is better at converting visitors) is just 2%.

Secondary Goal: Registrations, too, saw a 38.4% spike on the variation compared to the control, at 98% confidence level.

Why did the Variation win?

As with any retrospective analysis, the key lies in exploring the data and connecting it to the knowledge that is already out there. First, let’s understand why images are such a big deal, and what part they play in user experience.

Short (and borrowed) answer: An image is worth a thousand words.

What does it say?

Concepts learned in the form of images are more easily and frequently recalled than other ideas learned through text. In fact, Wikipedia explains that this effect is much more pronounced in older people than the younger ones. So if your business targets the age group of 25+, images are a great way to pass on brand-related information for better recall.

Billion Dollar Graphics explain, and I quote, “human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.” This is further illustrated in the following image.

Illustration - Graphic vs Text

Do you see how much easier it is to understand that the reference is to a square from the image than from its textual description? In fact, if you are in the mood for some serious reading, I strongly recommend this incredibly insightful post on the power of visual communication.

This frequently quoted eye tracking study from NN also confirms that we spend more time dwelling on images on a webpage rather than on the text itself. When they tested an “About Us” page that contained thumbnail portraits of each of the members of the team, this is what was found:

Here, the user spent 10% more time viewing the portrait photos than reading the biographies, even though the bios consumed 316% more space. It’s obvious from the gaze plot that the user was in a hurry and just wanted to get a quick overview of the FreshBooks team, and looking at photos is indeed faster than reading full paragraphs.

Eye-Tracking Study on Images By NN

Evidently, people focus more on images on a page than on the text itself. And they retain it longer. The case for images cannot be overemphasized.

Now that you and I agree upon the need for using images, let’s dive right into analyzing the case. We start with:

The Control, with the Stock Photograph

Why did it convert so poorly?

  • We Love Ignoring Images That Look Stock

Stock images were a rage back in the late 90s, when taking a good picture was best left to professionals with complex, expensive cameras. Naturally, online businesses that were just starting out had to resort to the relatively inexpensive and definitely good-looking stock photos.

Here’s the issue: we have been exposed to banner advertisements for so long that our eyes have gotten trained to ignore any web element that evokes the feel of an advertisement. The adage “familiarity breeds contempt” holds true and banner blindness has been confirmed to be a real phenomenon in numerous studies. More stock images, anyone?

  • Stock Images Are Not Unique

I popped the stock image from the client’s old homepage into TinEye, a reverse image search engine, and this is what it threw up.

TinEye Reverse Search Result

That’s 30 other instances on the webpage where the same stock photo was found.

Just to hammer home the point, I let Google Image Search do its thing. And here’s what Google found for me.

Reverse Image Search - Google Images

That’s 175 results. So much for uniqueness and product differentiation.

So there are more of that image, how’s that a big deal, you might ask.

Where do you suppose the stock image of a man driving a truck would figure on the web?

Same Stock Photo Used By Competitiors

That’s right, on other business websites that are related to trucks; websites your potential customer might have visited already. Google took just 0.45 seconds to find 175 places on the web where the image appeared. Human users would take longer, but they’ll get there eventually. And when a potential customer sees a familiar image on your site, how would they judge your business and its credibility?

Go on, ask me, how would anyone recollect seeing the same image somewhere in a corner of the web?

Because we are super smart and can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. To put that in perspective, the time we take to blink once is about 300-400 milliseconds.

Enough of beating the life out of stock images. Actually, using stock images, in and of itself, is not the real problem. There are ways to use good, relevant stock images without running into the problem of duplicates; like having a Rights Managed Licence. Instead, the real problem is:

  • Using Irrelevant Stock Images

Okay, stop being yourself for a moment. Slip into the user’s shoes, and I promise we shall see better.

You are looking to get a truck licence. Google suggests you check out 160drivingacademy.com

So you do what you always do. You click and reach the site.

Now, remember, you form the first impression of a website in 50 milliseconds. And you’d typically leave a website in 10-20 seconds unless, you find a reason to linger on. What you are looking for is relevance, sort of a validation that you are in the right place.

Let’s get back to you. You scan the page. And you see our man in the truck. But, what do you understand?

  • How established is the place?
  • Does the academy look credible?
  • Wait, why is there a severely cropped image of a man sitting inside a truck?
  • Is he the coach?

Oh wait, no! I’ve seen this image before!

The Verdict?

I can’t trust these guys. Where’s the back button!

And, curtains down!

Now, let’s take a look at the variation and try to understand why it converted visitors so well.

The Variation, with the Real Photo

Would you stay in the user’s shoes for a while longer, while I take you on a visit to the variation?

  • It’s All About Relevance

You know the drill. Google tells you. You listen. You are on the academy’s page; but it has the real image now.

“How does the place look?”

“Don’t really know. But that’s a big truck. Branded and all. Place must be established.”

Student's Image Used in Variation

“Is it credible?”

“Can’t be sure, but it looks real! That guy in the picture looks happy, he must be a student. I might even get to learn on one of those trucks in the picture!”

“Alright, no harm anyway, where do I contact them?”

Enough said.

  • We Love Images That Look Real!

This study shows that users focus their attention on images that look genuine with real people and objects. Consequently, we ignore images that seem to only have decorative (read stock-ish) purposes.

Real images evoke trust. On a business site, users are not looking for emotional gratification. They are looking for hints, information about what they’d get if they decide to buy your product/service. A website that uses real images screams at its users,

This is exactly what you will get if you choose us! It’s great, and we know it!

Get the trust, make the sale.

Over the years, we’ve been so indiscriminately exposed to every kind of scam, sham and spam, that we don’t trust easily. Least of all, on the internet. A website that reveals its offerings, plain and clear, tells us there won’t be any nasty surprises. Hence, we trust.

  • Clever Branding and the Hidden Call To Action

What? Where?

Without the variation image, there was exactly one part of the site that called out “160  Driving Academy”. With the variation, there are three such places.

We’ve already seen how our eyes are drawn to images much quicker than it is to text. The variation image draws attention to itself, and in the few seconds that a visitors’ eyes stay on it, the mind picks up two strong branding signals. The brand name itself, and the color associated with it — yellow — generously splashed across the truck in the image. A deceptively simple way to make sure that even users who bounce off the first time remember the brand. I think I wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that a considerable number of the conversions resulted from users who revisited the page.

No, that’s not all.

A call to action. That little big thing.

“Call Today”

Hidden Call to Action in Image

What better place to have it than in the image itself! That too, right next to the contact form. It gives the user direction on what’s to be done if they are interested in taking things ahead, and it creates urgency using the term “Today!”.

So there, little relevant things really matter.

Room for Further Testing

If you check the academy’s current page, you’ll see that the “Florida Gators” print has been edited out of the student’s sweatshirt. If you remember, Brian had pointed out how the reference to ‘Florida’ might confuse prospects who are primarily from Illinois. Removing the “confusing” text from the image should improve conversions even better. Brian also pointed out that the average age of a student at the academy is close to 40, while the student in the image is closer to 25. From this context, Brian shares his vision for further testing,

..trying to narrow down whether pictures of actual customers, pictures of actual employees, or pictures of actual products/equipment/objects convert best. Then you can do more incremental tests, like whether a 40-year-old student would convert better than a 25-year-old or whether the student should be holding up his license or just standing in front of the truck.

Are Your Images Relevant?

What do you think? Is relevance the most vital criterion in selecting an image?

If you feel so, I would like you to head back to your website and reconsider the relevance of the image(s) used. Are they relevant? Would you like some help figuring out if it’s relevant or not?

And if you feel relevance is not the primary consideration, I would love to know your take on it.

Tell us right here, or, if you are a person of few words (couldn’t help it) let us know on Twitter @VWO or, get to me straight @SharanTheSuresh.

Before I leave, here are two more brilliant ‘Stock Image vs Real Image’ case studies from our archive.

45% Increase in Conversions Using Real Image

How about an 89% increase in conversion?

And as always, we’re listening.

The post Stock Image or Real Image: A/B Testing Provides an Incredible 161% Increase in Conversions appeared first on VWO Blog.

View this article – 

Stock Image or Real Image: A/B Testing Provides an Incredible 161% Increase in Conversions

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Stock Photo or Real Image? A/B Testing Finds Out Which is Better

Stock Image or Real Image – what should you use? The debate has been raging for a while now. That’s unfortunate, because there is no one answer that will work for all businesses alike. Why speculate at all, when we can throw the contenders into an A/B test and sit back while statistics find us a winner? Think of it as WWE, except A/B tests are real, and they get you better business. Let’s get right to it then, shall we?

Background

160 Driving Academy is an Illinois based firm that offers truck-driving classes and even guarantees a job upon graduation. Visitors to the site primarily use the contact form on the homepage, or the prominently displayed phone number, to contact the academy. Looking to improve the conversion rate on the truck-driving classes page,  the academy reached out to SpectrumInc, a lead-generation software and internet marketing company. The rest (as they have not yet begun to say, but soon will) is a future of great conversions!

The Hypothesis

The academy had been using a stock image of a man driving a truck on its homepage. When SpectrumInc came on board, they decided to test the page with the photograph of a real student instead. The hypothesis was that the image of an actual student would outperform the stock image the academy had been using. On being asked about the background of this test, Brian McKenzie from SpectrumInc explains,

… in this case we had a branded photo of an actual 160 Driving Academy student standing in front of a truck available, but we originally opted not to use it for the page out of concern that the student’s ‘University of Florida’ sweatshirt would send the wrong message to consumers trying to obtain an Illinois, Missouri, or Iowa license. (These states are about 2,000 kilometers from the University of Florida).

Better sense prevailed, and they decided to test it anyway.

What Goals Were Tracked?

The primary conversion goal: Number of visits to the ‘Thank You’ page. These are the pages that visitors are taken to after they fill out a conversion form, like the ‘contact us’ form on the main page.

The secondary conversion goal: Number of visits to the ‘Registration’ page. The academy carries a CTA button on its page that says “Register for Classes”. A conversion would be recorded every time a visitor clicked on the button and visited the “Registration” page.

The Test: Stock Image or Real Image

Comparison Image

The Result

An incredible 161% lift in conversions, at 98% confidence level. Or, the possibility for such a massive change in conversions occurring simply due to random chance (and not because the variation actually is better at converting visitors) is just 2%.

Secondary Goal: Registrations, too, saw a 38.4% spike on the variation compared to the control, at 98% confidence level.

Why did the Variation win?

As with any retrospective analysis, the key lies in exploring the data and connecting it to the knowledge that is already out there. First, let’s understand why images are such a big deal, and what part they play in user experience.

Short (and borrowed) answer: An image is worth a thousand words.

What does it say?

Concepts learned in the form of images are more easily and frequently recalled than other ideas learned through text. In fact, Wikipedia explains that this effect is much more pronounced in older people than the younger ones. So if your business targets the age group of 25+, images are a great way to pass on brand-related information for better recall.

Billion Dollar Graphics explain, and I quote, “human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.” This is further illustrated in the following image.

Illustration - Graphic vs Text

Do you see how much easier it is to understand that the reference is to a square from the image than from its textual description? In fact, if you are in the mood for some serious reading, I strongly recommend this incredibly insightful post on the power of visual communication.

This frequently quoted eye tracking study from NN also confirms that we spend more time dwelling on images on a webpage rather than on the text itself. When they tested an “About Us” page that contained thumbnail portraits of each of the members of the team, this is what was found:

Here, the user spent 10% more time viewing the portrait photos than reading the biographies, even though the bios consumed 316% more space. It’s obvious from the gaze plot that the user was in a hurry and just wanted to get a quick overview of the FreshBooks team, and looking at photos is indeed faster than reading full paragraphs.

Eye-Tracking Study on Images By NN

Evidently, people focus more on images on a page than on the text itself. And they retain it longer. The case for images cannot be overemphasized.

Now that you and I agree upon the need for using images, let’s dive right into analyzing the case. We start with:

The Control, with the Stock Photograph

Why did it convert so poorly?

  • We Love Ignoring Images That Look Stock

Stock images were a rage back in the late 90s, when taking a good picture was best left to professionals with complex, expensive cameras. Naturally, online businesses that were just starting out had to resort to the relatively inexpensive and definitely good-looking stock photos.

Here’s the issue: we have been exposed to banner advertisements for so long that our eyes have gotten trained to ignore any web element that evokes the feel of an advertisement. The adage “familiarity breeds contempt” holds true and banner blindness has been confirmed to be a real phenomenon in numerous studies. More stock images, anyone?

  • Stock Images Are Not Unique

I popped the stock image from the client’s old homepage into TinEye, a reverse image search engine, and this is what it threw up.

TinEye Reverse Search Result

That’s 30 other instances on the webpage where the same stock photo was found.

Just to hammer home the point, I let Google Image Search do its thing. And here’s what Google found for me.

Reverse Image Search - Google Images

That’s 175 results. So much for uniqueness and product differentiation.

So there are more of that image, how’s that a big deal, you might ask.

Where do you suppose the stock image of a man driving a truck would figure on the web?

Same Stock Photo Used By Competitiors

That’s right, on other business websites that are related to trucks; websites your potential customer might have visited already. Google took just 0.45 seconds to find 175 places on the web where the image appeared. Human users would take longer, but they’ll get there eventually. And when a potential customer sees a familiar image on your site, how would they judge your business and its credibility?

Go on, ask me, how would anyone recollect seeing the same image somewhere in a corner of the web?

Because we are super smart and can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. To put that in perspective, the time we take to blink once is about 300-400 milliseconds.

Enough of beating the life out of stock images. Actually, using stock images, in and of itself, is not the real problem. There are ways to use good, relevant stock images without running into the problem of duplicates; like having a Rights Managed Licence. Instead, the real problem is:

  • Using Irrelevant Stock Images

Okay, stop being yourself for a moment. Slip into the user’s shoes, and I promise we shall see better.

You are looking to get a truck licence. Google suggests you check out 160drivingacademy.com

So you do what you always do. You click and reach the site.

Now, remember, you form the first impression of a website in 50 milliseconds. And you’d typically leave a website in 10-20 seconds unless, you find a reason to linger on. What you are looking for is relevance, sort of a validation that you are in the right place.

Let’s get back to you. You scan the page. And you see our man in the truck. But, what do you understand?

  • How established is the place?
  • Does the academy look credible?
  • Wait, why is there a severely cropped image of a man sitting inside a truck?
  • Is he the coach?

Oh wait, no! I’ve seen this image before!

The Verdict?

I can’t trust these guys. Where’s the back button!

And, curtains down!

Now, let’s take a look at the variation and try to understand why it converted visitors so well.

The Variation, with the Real Photo

Would you stay in the user’s shoes for a while longer, while I take you on a visit to the variation?

  • It’s All About Relevance

You know the drill. Google tells you. You listen. You are on the academy’s page; but it has the real image now.

“How does the place look?”

“Don’t really know. But that’s a big truck. Branded and all. Place must be established.”

Student's Image Used in Variation

“Is it credible?”

“Can’t be sure, but it looks real! That guy in the picture looks happy, he must be a student. I might even get to learn on one of those trucks in the picture!”

“Alright, no harm anyway, where do I contact them?”

Enough said.

  • We Love Images That Look Real!

This study shows that users focus their attention on images that look genuine with real people and objects. Consequently, we ignore images that seem to only have decorative (read stock-ish) purposes.

Real images evoke trust. On a business site, users are not looking for emotional gratification. They are looking for hints, information about what they’d get if they decide to buy your product/service. A website that uses real images screams at its users,

This is exactly what you will get if you choose us! It’s great, and we know it!

Get the trust, make the sale.

Over the years, we’ve been so indiscriminately exposed to every kind of scam, sham and spam, that we don’t trust easily. Least of all, on the internet. A website that reveals its offerings, plain and clear, tells us there won’t be any nasty surprises. Hence, we trust.

  • Clever Branding and the Hidden Call To Action

What? Where?

Without the variation image, there was exactly one part of the site that called out “160  Driving Academy”. With the variation, there are three such places.

We’ve already seen how our eyes are drawn to images much quicker than it is to text. The variation image draws attention to itself, and in the few seconds that a visitors’ eyes stay on it, the mind picks up two strong branding signals. The brand name itself, and the color associated with it — yellow — generously splashed across the truck in the image. A deceptively simple way to make sure that even users who bounce off the first time remember the brand. I think I wouldn’t be wrong in assuming that a considerable number of the conversions resulted from users who revisited the page.

No, that’s not all.

A call to action. That little big thing.

“Call Today”

Hidden Call to Action in Image

What better place to have it than in the image itself! That too, right next to the contact form. It gives the user direction on what’s to be done if they are interested in taking things ahead, and it creates urgency using the term “Today!”.

So there, little relevant things really matter.

Room for Further Testing

If you check the academy’s current page, you’ll see that the “Florida Gators” print has been edited out of the student’s sweatshirt. If you remember, Brian had pointed out how the reference to ‘Florida’ might confuse prospects who are primarily from Illinois. Removing the “confusing” text from the image should improve conversions even better. Brian also pointed out that the average age of a student at the academy is close to 40, while the student in the image is closer to 25. From this context, Brian shares his vision for further testing,

..trying to narrow down whether pictures of actual customers, pictures of actual employees, or pictures of actual products/equipment/objects convert best. Then you can do more incremental tests, like whether a 40-year-old student would convert better than a 25-year-old or whether the student should be holding up his license or just standing in front of the truck.

Are Your Images Relevant?

What do you think? Is relevance the most vital criterion in selecting an image?

If you feel so, I would like you to head back to your website and reconsider the relevance of the image(s) used. Are they relevant? Would you like some help figuring out if it’s relevant or not?

And if you feel relevance is not the primary consideration, I would love to know your take on it.

Tell us right here, or, if you are a person of few words (couldn’t help it) let us know on Twitter @VWO or, get to me straight @SharanTheSuresh.

Before I leave, here are two more brilliant ‘Stock Image vs Real Image’ case studies from our archive.

45% Increase in Conversions Using Real Image

How about an 89% increase in conversion?

And as always, we’re listening.

The post Stock Photo or Real Image? A/B Testing Finds Out Which is Better appeared first on VWO Blog.

Visit site:

Stock Photo or Real Image? A/B Testing Finds Out Which is Better

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How to use Urgency and Scarcity Principles to Increase eCommerce Sales

Imagine there’s a cupcake fair in your community. You have your heart set on Red Velvet and there are two counters selling the same. Counter A has a animated bunch of customers digging into the cake and has a banner saying “last 20 pieces left” while Counter B adorns a deathly, almost funereal look.

Which one would you go for? If you are thinking Counter A, you are not alone.

A study was conducted in 1975 where researchers wanted to know how people would value cookies in two identical glass jars. One jar had 10 cookies while the other contained just two. Though the cookies and jars were identical, participants valued the ones in the near-empty jar more highly.

And that’s the scarcity principle at play. It essentially means that people tend to place higher value on an object that is scarce and a lower value on one that is available in abundance. No wonder, marketing guru Robert Cialdini cites ‘Scarcity’ as one of the six golden persuasion principles in his book “Influence”. When combined with Urgency, which is essentially the other side of the same coin, the two make for a potent weapon for increasing eCommerce sales.

Here are some examples of how different eCommerce websites creatively use this persuasion principle to increase conversions.

1) Stock scarcity

Displaying your stock meter on the eCommerce product page is always a good conversion practice. Not only does it ensure there are no last-minute heartbreaks for the customer, it also speeds up the buying process. A user might be convinced to make a purchase, but he/she might not be always willing to buy right away. They might want to compare the prices on other websites, look for discount coupons or simply forget about the product — thanks to the myriad distractions of the web.

Look how ModMomFurniture flashes a message that ‘only 3 items left’ of a particular product.

Stock meter

Here, Boticca almost urges visitors to complete the purchase right away. The use of an active verb like ‘Act’ is used to drive immediate action. Here is a list of more words that drive urgency and sales.

Scarcity principle

2) Size scarcity

You head to a shop to buy a denim and figure out that the last piece in your size has just gone out of stock. Old story? Well, if it could happen in the real stores all the time, why couldn’t it happen online? Intimating the buyers when a particular size goes out of stock is killing two birds with one arrow. Not only is it a huge favor for the prospects, the information also works as a positive reinforcement of the product.

See how Jabong represents the unavailable size in grey.

Size scarcity

Zappos goes a step further and even shows how many items are left for a particular size and color combination.

Zappos

3) Time-bound purchase for next day shipping

If you are already offering next-day delivery, then ‘time-bound purchase’ won’t cost you any additional resource. You just need to inform the users how many hours/minutes do they have to complete the purchase so that their order qualifies for next day delivery.

When you ask the visitors to make the purchase in a specific amount of time, you not only make them more proactive towards the purchase, it also eliminates any kind of confusion at their end as to when they will receive the order.

Zappos has a permanent banner on its homepage saying that you need to order before 1pm to qualify for next-day shipping.

Next day shipping incentive

Amazon shows the exact number of hours/minutes within which the purchase needs to be completed to qualify for next-day shipping.

Amazon

4) Make them see other buyers

Two women fighting over the same item of clothing in a fashion store is not just a devilish mind’s fictitious construct. While popular Hollywood movies might have taken these fights too far, the fact remains that people are much more inclined to buy something when other people desire them too.

So while they are considering whether or not to buy those shiny leather shoes and they suddenly realize that another person is mulling the same purchase, it replicates the physical store scenario where two people grab the same item at the same time.

When you look at a property in Booking.com, it shows you exactly how many people are checking out the same property at that exact moment.

Booking.com

Hotels.com even gives you information about how many people are viewing properties in a particular city. A modal box pops opens and shows you your virtual competition/companions.

Last booked

5) Limited-period discounts

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a legitimate one. It is the anticipated regret of not being able to seize an opportunity. A limited-time discount works exactly at that level. It makes the offer look so tempting and fleeting that one is compelled to seize the opportunity.

OverStock dramatically uses a running countdown to accurately show how long the sale will last.

Countdown

MakeMyTrip.com shows an alert when the last few discounted airline tickets are left in stock. See how they use color psychology here to instill urgency. The use of the color ‘Red’ is not a mere coincidence. The color is associated with energy, increased heart rate and is often used in clearance sales.

Last few tickets

5) Limited-time discount on abandoned cart items

The average online cart abandonment rate is 67%. While a majority of these carts are not redeemable, re-marketing efforts can salvage some of these lost sales. Offering limited-time discounts on abandoned cart items is a great way to use the urgency principle to re-market products. However, the risk here is of overdoing it. You do this too often and you will see your ‘e-mail open rate’ nosedive.

See how Miracas offers a 5% discount for just the next two days.

Remarketing mail

6) Shopping cart item sold out

Seeing some items disappearing from the cart might just be the reality check users need to wake up and salvage the rest of the cart items. See how Snapdeal shows a ‘Sold Out’ message next to one of the books in the following example.

Snapdeal

7) Limited-time free delivery

Well, this works the same way as limited-time discounts. The desire to avail free delivery could possibly offset the visitors’ tendency to procrastinate the purchase.

eBags

8) Special discount hours

A two-day or a weekend sale has its own charm but a special discount hour can be used to galvanize excitement around that specific hour. Zivame sent out this mailer to subscribers to build up craze for its hour-long sale.

Zivame

9) Last chance emails

E-mails letting subscribers know about last day of sale is another great way to get their attention. See how Myntra makes use of Orange color to drive action here. According to color psychology, just like Red, Orange also has an aggressive feel and creates a sense of urgency to do something.

Myntra

Before you set out to use any of these tactic mentioned above, there are three golden rules you should keep in mind.

1) Don’t expect ‘scarcity’ to create demand

‘Scarcity’ or ‘Urgency’ work best as motivators to quicken the buying process but the customer will have to be already convinced to make the purchase decision. While they are great procrastination killers, don’t expect them to generate demand. If you go back to the initial example, it’s only once you have decided to buy a cupcake that you will value the cupcakes in Counter A more. You will have to truly convince the user before you flash the scarcity card.

2) False urgency can backfire

Urgency is a subtle art. Yes, I know that sounded slightly oxymoronic but don’t go about faking urgency or your customers will get a whiff of it. Be honest. Don’t try to get rid of the stock that won’t move by flashing messages like ‘hurry, only last two pieces left’. First they will catch your bluff, then you will become a laughing stock and then they will leave you. Here’s a real life example of how that happened.

3) Don’t overdo it

Even if you are using the scarcity principle in all earnestness, don’t go about overdoing it. You don’t need to employ all the practices with multiple countdowns breathing down customer’s neck. You will come across as pushy and shady and untrustworthy and manipulative. Moderation is the key, though testing will give you better insights as to what will work for you.

The post How to use Urgency and Scarcity Principles to Increase eCommerce Sales appeared first on Visual Website Optimizer Blog.

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How to use Urgency and Scarcity Principles to Increase eCommerce Sales

The Lost Art Of Design Etiquette

Endless layers in Photoshop. Overstuffed image folders. That jQuery plug-in that has 12 files associated with it. Hundreds or thousands of individual pieces go into making a website. No wonder we go off the deep end when we can’t find a closing div — er, section tag. We work with a ridiculously large number of things, and how we organize them (or choose not to) is often left to personal preference.

Continued here: 

The Lost Art Of Design Etiquette

How To Spot A Sketchy Client (Plus A Contract Template)

Many things about our business make one glad to be creative; and there certainly are things that destroy the very soul and one’s will to carry on. Client interaction can either lead to strong relationships that last a lifetime or make you feel low and worthless. [Links checked & repaired March/06/2017]
We look at our designs as our own children, and why not? We create our work from our mind and very being.

Continue reading: 

How To Spot A Sketchy Client (Plus A Contract Template)

Color Theory for Designers: How To Create Your Own Color Schemes

In the previous two parts of this series on color theory, we talked mostly about the meanings behind colors and color terminology. While this information is important, I’m sure a lot of people were wondering when we were going to get into the nitty-gritty of actually creating some color schemes. [Content Update: August 2017]
That’s where Part 3 comes in. Here I’ll be talking about methods for creating your own color schemes, from scratch.

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Color Theory for Designers: How To Create Your Own Color Schemes

The Benefits of Experimentation

“The true method of knowledge is experiment.” – William Blake I spend a fair amount of time working on web design. After a full day at the office, it’s not uncommon for me to come home and work on my own site, blog or other personal projects. It’s also not uncommon for people to ask me how I “find the time” to do this type of personal work. My response, especially to other Web designers, is this.

Excerpt from:

The Benefits of Experimentation