Three Testing Strategies For Sophomore Conversion Testers | by Celine Roque


THE DAILY EGG

Hard boiled conversion optimization and design advice

Change the color of your call-to-action button.  Test a new headline.  Swap this hero image for that hero image.

Been there, done that.

Try these three conversion testing methods for Conversion Testing sophomores.

#1 – Blow it up, start from scratch

Instead of pursuing split tests on specific site elements – such as the headline or call-to-action button – 37signals decided to test two fundamentally different versions of their Highrise homepage. The rationale behind this was that they needed to destroy their assumptions about what may or may not work.

Almost everything was different about each version.

This is an image of the Original Design vs. the Person Design:

  • The Original Design had several smaller customer photos, while the Person Design had one large background photo of just a single customer.
  • There were several customer testimonials in the Original Design, while the Person Design only had a single quote from the featured customer.
  • Only a handful of benefits are listed on the Person Design, while several features and benefits are outlined in the Original Design.
  • The person design has only one prominent call-to-action: “See Highrise Plans and Pricing”. The Original Design had a navigation menu, as well as options to view more testimonials and features.

The result of this difference was that the Person Design led to a 102.5% increase in paid sign-ups.

Key Takeaway: Rather than just testing small elements of your landing page, try to test radically different versions of the page.

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Tainted Love | [Abstract]

In fact, it increasingly feels, to the average person at least, like Corporate America is one giant shell game. If nothing else, there is certainly the perception that obfuscation is generally being practiced, and that few of the activities are to the benefit of the average person on the street. Ultimately, as with any relationship, once the trust disappears, so does the love. Whether its banks, mortgage lenders, insurance companies or oil companies, to name just a few examples, the consumer just isn’t feeling the love at the moment.

Perhaps what’s needed to inject some trust back into the system is a new type of service innovation, one that turns the traditional, business as usual attitude that corporations have on its head. There are already companies that are taking this tack, usually with impressive results. These companies put a premium on the customer experience, at any costs. Employees never need to say, “I’ll have to speak to a manager before I can authorize that”, rather they are empowered to do whatever it takes to fix a situation and to make customers feel valued.


(…)
In fact, it increasingly feels, to the average person at least, like Corporate America is one giant shell game. If nothing else, there is certainly the perception that obfuscation is generally being practiced, and that few of the activities are to the benefit of the average person on the street. Ultimately, as with any relationship, once the trust disappears, so does the love. Whether its banks, mortgage lenders, insurance companies or oil companies, to name just a few examples, the consumer just isn’t feeling the love at the moment.

Perhaps what’s needed to inject some trust back into the system is a new type of service innovation, one that turns the traditional, business as usual attitude that corporations have on its head. There are already companies that are taking this tack, usually with impressive results. These companies put a premium on the customer experience, at any costs. Employees never need to say, “I’ll have to speak to a manager before I can authorize that”, rather they are empowered to do whatever it takes to fix a situation and to make customers feel valued. Leer más “Tainted Love | [Abstract]”

Remote Work: Pitfalls and How to Avoid them

One big theme to emerge out of our conversation last week about the future of the workplace was remote working. I thought it would be beneficial to start this week off by thinking about the disadvantages of remote work and the technologies and policies that may be able to mitigate some of those problems.

remote_work_0910.jpg Productivity remains a concern for managers unwilling to give their employees a chance, but according to telecommute advocacy groups like Undress for Success and The American Telecommuting Association, research shows those concerns are mostly unwarranted. However, there are some other problems. Here are some of the issues I’ve witnessed in organizations of all sizes, and some ideas about what to do to fix these issues.

Please leave your own gripes and solutions in the comments, or e-mail klint@readwriteweb.com, and we’ll highlight the best responses in a follow-up on Friday.
Missing Out On “Hallway Meetings”

Anti-meeting commentators, such as those from 37signals often point out how unproductive meetings are, and how little hallway conversations are usually where the most important conversations take place. This is probably true, but it creates a communication problem: those important conversations and decisions have to communicated to everyone who needs to know about them.

This can be hard enough when everyone works in the same space. But when employees aren’t physically present, keeping everyone in the loop can be even more difficult.

Solution: This is what e-mail and intranets are for. Managers need to be dililgant about documenting and communicating decisions, and making sure that information is easily accessible to employees.


By Klint Finley

One big theme to emerge out of our conversation last week about the future of the workplace was remote working. I thought it would be beneficial to start this week off by thinking about the disadvantages of remote work and the technologies and policies that may be able to mitigate some of those problems.

remote_work_0910.jpg Productivity remains a concern for managers unwilling to give their employees a chance, but according to telecommute advocacy groups like Undress for Success and The American Telecommuting Association, research shows those concerns are mostly unwarranted. However, there are some other problems. Here are some of the issues I’ve witnessed in organizations of all sizes, and some ideas about what to do to fix these issues.

Please leave your own gripes and solutions in the comments, or e-mail klint@readwriteweb.com, and we’ll highlight the best responses in a follow-up on Friday.

Missing Out On “Hallway Meetings”

Anti-meeting commentators, such as those from 37signals often point out how unproductive meetings are, and how little hallway conversations are usually where the most important conversations take place. This is probably true, but it creates a communication problem: those important conversations and decisions have to communicated to everyone who needs to know about them.

This can be hard enough when everyone works in the same space. But when employees aren’t physically present, keeping everyone in the loop can be even more difficult.

Solution: This is what e-mail and intranets are for. Managers need to be dililgant about documenting and communicating decisions, and making sure that information is easily accessible to employees. Leer más “Remote Work: Pitfalls and How to Avoid them”

Why I Love 37signals

I don’t own any of 37signal‘s products. As a matter of fact, using Basecamp annoys the heck out of me. But I love 37signals and everything they do and stand for.

Why? They’re not afraid to say what they think, no matter who might get offended. A week ago, I posted an article called Teaching Graphic Designers About The Web. Personally I thought it was a great article and it seem to do well traffic-wise.

However a small demographic of my readers decided to completely ignore the 700+ word article and instead focus on one word – gay. Yes, I called the Droid gay. And no, I don’t regret it.


Image representing 37signals as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase
I don’t own any of 37signal‘s products. As a matter of fact, using Basecamp annoys the heck out of me. But I love 37signals and everything they do and stand for.Why? They’re not afraid to say what they think, no matter who might get offended. A week ago, I posted an article called Teaching Graphic Designers About  The Web. Personally I thought it was a great article and it seem to do well traffic-wise.

However a small demographic of my readers decided to completely ignore the 700+ word article and instead focus on one word – gay. Yes, I called the Droid gay. And no, I don’t regret it.

Why People Hate 37signals

I’ve never heard anyone say that they hated 37signals because their products stunk. Or their customer services. Or even their prices. Instead, people choose to hate 37signals because they think their “pompous” and “arrogant”. Apparently being truthful, speaking your mind and injecting humor into your writings now classifies as “arrogant” in the world today. Pity.

I’ve listened to every one of their podcasts and read all of their books. I have never seen one thing that was arrogant or pompous. I think their writing is hilarious and I actually enjoy reading their business books instead of falling asleep like I have with so many other’s books.

Why is it that in this day and age, we have to be so stuck up as to “punish” those that think outside of the box? You don’t want a full-time job? The government punishes you by making you pay double taxes. You want to be an artist? You get laughed at, the crappy building in college or told to get a real job. This world is seems to be built like a factory where from kindergarten you’re told to sit down, shut up and do the same thing as everyone else.

Another reason people hate 37signals is because 37signals writes about how they’ve been successful in business and people claim it can’t “always” be done like that. Well of course, it doesn’t work for everyone, otherwise we’d all be rich, right? Do you really want another general advise business book or a company writing about practices they don’t actually do; or do you want to hear about what a company actually did to be successful? Leer más “Why I Love 37signals”

Craft An Irresistible Price By Focusing On Your Users

Price influences behavior. In order to craft an excellent user experience, the price — and how your users interact with that price — must be central to the development of the product, especially applications. No user will welcome an application if the cost is prohibitive. This makes price every bit as important as design, information architecture and wireframing, and it goes deeper than just getting people to click “Buy.” By focusing on users in setting and maintaining a price, you will increase revenue, lower overhead and, most importantly, significantly improve the user’s (read customer’s) experience.


Price influences behavior. In order to craft an excellent user experience, the price — and how your users interact with that price — must be central to the development of the product, especially applications. No user will welcome an application if the cost is prohibitive. This makes price every bit as important as design, information architecture and wireframing, and it goes deeper than just getting people to click “Buy.” By focusing on users in setting and maintaining a price, you will increase revenue, lower overhead and, most importantly, significantly improve the user’s (read customer’s) experience.

For just about a year now, between designing and developing client’s websites, I have been running a little app that I created with co-workers. In that time, we have launched, added features, raised the price, added more features and just now begun the early stages of marketing the product. So far, we have done all of this without borrowing a cent, and we have managed to at least cover our costs, if not generate some modest profit. I have no doubt that this success comes from our choices of model and price point.

This article is not about “How to price your app.” There are plenty of good resources for learning how to find the right number. Pricing for use is a framework for continually adjusting your price, when needed, to suit your profit goals and the experience of your users.

Nail2 in Craft An Irresistible Price By Focusing On Your Users
Your price is the nail from which you hang your masterpiece. Image source

[Offtopic: by the way, did you know that there is a Smashing eBook Series? Book #1 is Professional Web Design, 242 pages for just $9,90.]

Me First

In any pricing endeavor, think of yourself first. Many people think that apps have no overhead. They basically believe that “selling an app is free money, pure profit!” (ahem, Mr. Anderson). As a professional who has been running a application for just under a year now, I can tell you, this is patently untrue.

Digital goods and services have a very tangible overhead: time — time to innovate over competitors, time for customer support and time to cultivate your unique point of view. Each of these requires constant effort if you want to succeed. If you cannot afford this time, you will sacrifice your product, and possibly your livelihood.

Keeping the app running is the only imperative in pricing, so first make sure that your price covers your costs. After that, pricing is really a matter of how much you can gain — and not just in profit, although that will affect your bottom line.

User-Centric Pricing

Matt Linderman of 37signals said it best: “Pricing can be usable, too.” I would only add that pricing not only can be but should be usable. Predict (or just ask) what price point would feel reasonable to your target users, and when they will want to pay for your product. You already agonize over how users interact with your product; why not agonize about how they interact with you at so sensitive a time as when money is involved?

With so much being offered for free these days, paying for an app can be considered an annoyance. Ease this pain as much as possible by making it simple for customers to work payment into the flow of their lives. This could be as basic as setting up an automatic payment system, or it could require a complete re-evaluation of your pricing model.

An Attractive Price

Somewhere between covering overhead and your zeal for profit (Go on, admit it), there is a sweet spot of what you can realistically charge for your product. This is where it gets dangerous — and where many tend to undervalue. Set your price too low and you leave money behind that could be used for growth and reinvestment. Too high a price could be an insurmountable barrier to potential customers.

Ask yourself, “Does this price feel right?” Feel plays a major role here, and intuition is the perfect barrier to push against. If the price feels right, the product will feel right. In Human Action, Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises writes that prices are social phenomena. According to him, “the ultimate source of the determination of prices is the value judgment of the consumers.” So, what would a reasonable customer pay for your product? Leer más “Craft An Irresistible Price By Focusing On Your Users”

10 Free Online Books for Web Designers

There’s a never ending supply of information out there for us web designers. If there’s something we need to learn, we can find it in one form or another. Sometimes it may be on a blog or it could be in a book. While you may have to shell our some money for a good web design book, there are a number of them out that have online versions that are totally free. Here are 10 you should find very useful.


Henry Jones

There’s a never ending supply of information out there for us web designers. If there’s something we need to learn, we can find it in one form or another. Sometimes it may be on a blog or it could be in a book. While you may have to shell our some money for a good web design book, there are a number of them out that have online versions that are totally free. Here are 10 you should find very useful.

A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web

web design books

A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web aims to teach you techniques for designing your website using the principles of graphic design. Featuring five sections, each covering a core aspect of graphic design: Getting Started, Research, Typography, Colour, and Layout. Leer más “10 Free Online Books for Web Designers”

Occam’s Razor: A Great Principle for Designers

Lex parsimoniae is the Latin expression of what is known in English as Occam’s Razor, a philosophical rule of thumb that has guided some of the world’s best and brightest minds (including Isaac Newton).

It is named after the 14th-century logician and theologian William of Ockham.

But what the heck does Occam’s Razor have to do with web design? I’m glad you asked. To put it plainly, Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation is usually true.

For our purposes, to use Occam’s Razor is to do something in the simplest manner possible because simpler is usually better.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use Occam’s Razor to create better websites and to enhance the user experience, both for yourself and your clients.

Before we dive into the details, let’s look at a real-world example of Occam’s Razor as used by a company whose simple and effective products you are certainly familiar with: 37signals.


Lex parsimoniae is the Latin expression of what is known in English as Occam’s Razor, a philosophical rule of thumb that has guided some of the world’s best and brightest minds (including Isaac Newton).

It is named after the 14th-century logician and theologian William of Ockham.

But what the heck does Occam’s Razor have to do with web design? I’m glad you asked. To put it plainly, Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation is usually true.

For our purposes, to use Occam’s Razor is to do something in the simplest manner possible because simpler is usually better.

In this article, we’ll show you how to use Occam’s Razor to create better websites and to enhance the user experience, both for yourself and your clients.

Before we dive into the details, let’s look at a real-world example of Occam’s Razor as used by a company whose simple and effective products you are certainly familiar with: 37signals. Leer más “Occam’s Razor: A Great Principle for Designers”