subtle hints in web design that encourage conversions
When it comes to websites, so many are looking for the same thing. Whether you’re an up and coming folk band hoping your website will land you bookings for weddings, a food sector regulator who wants web survey responses to see how well new laws are understood, or an Islamic charity saying Ramadan Mubarak to their donors and get their attention with a handy Ramadan timetable. Whatever the page is, whatever the specific goal is, the underlying issue is the same. Everyone wants conversions.

The art of achieving conversions with web design is sometimes complex and often difficult, but possibly the biggest problem is that it’s often subtle. Being too overt and direct tends to put people off. Instead, there is a need to make gentle influences that lead people in the correct direction. With the three influences here mentioned, your website could well be on the way to getting the kinds of conversion rates that could secure your business’s long term future.

The 2:52/10:08 Effect

If you look in a catalogue of any retail outlet that sells clocks – in particular analog clocks – you will notice a curious phenomenon. They all are telling the same time. Nearly without exception, every clock on the page will be telling one of two times. Either 2:52, or 10:08, or very close to either of these – 10:10 is common, as is 2:49. Why is this? Because when an analogue clock is at either of these positions, the ‘face’ of the clock appears to be smiling.

All humans have a naturally positive response to smiling. It is infectious, calming, and generally a lightening force in our days. If your website can help to generate that kind of feeling in people, it is much more likely that they will be in the kind of mood conducive to conversions.

There are several parts to this process. The first is high quality images. Research from marketing experts Skyword found that high quality images can result in an average increase of 94% in page views. Even if your page doesn’t have the kinds of things you might normally take pictures of, stock images can be very useful. Just be careful to avoid imagery that seems overly formal, commercial, or corporate. If you find the right kinds of pictures, and they are of people smiling, that could really be a very important boost to your web page.

Fitts’s Law

subtle hints in web design that encourage conversions 2
When it comes to making conversions on your website more likely, a big function of that is making the process as easy and natural as possible. A big part of how to make this process simple is explained in the form of Fitts’s law.

Despite being a theory and principle that has a strong impact on webdesign today, the actual notion first came up in an edition of the Journal of Experimental Psychology from June of 1954. In that journal, the ergonomist Paul Fitts proposed that – in academic terms “The time required to rapidly move to a target is a function of the ratio between the distance to the target, and the width of the target”. For web designers today, this has a much simpler expression. Make conversion buttons bigger, and keep them in the same place across multiple pages.

Businesses that have seen this effect work in the real world have ranged from car manufacturers to political campaigns. Hyundai saw an over 60% increase in test drive bookings and brochure orders when they radically increased the size of the buttons that controlled these features. The 2012 Obama for America campaign saw more than 20% decrease in unsubscribes to their email list when the unsubscribe text link was made smaller and placed amidst other text also. Enterprise software designers SAP saw an over 30% increase in trial software edition downloads when they enlarged their download button and made it the single element in the upper right portion of the page.

If something is a big deal for your page, make it big. The easier it is to understand, locate, and activate a conversion button, the more conversions you will get. Also, if your conversion button is going to appear on multiple pages, keep it in the same place. This will lower the time it takes to find it, and bring muscle memory on your side when it comes to multiple conversions. When it comes to maximising the usage of your site, ease is possibly the most key factor.

The Power of Contrast

the power of contrast
Another key aspect of how SAP got that dramatic increase in their software download rates was the colour they used for the new download link. Orange. A bright and clear shard of high visibility shading in an otherwise white and black bland corporate environment. Colour is a key tool in getting conversions because it allows you to direct the eye’s most basic functionality. Discernment.

Human eyes have evolved into a red-blue-green colour differentiation system. Many scientists believe this is because during our hunter/gatherer phase we needed to be able to distinguish red from green when looking for berries. Those of us who were better at this distinction gathered more berries and were better able to find the food they needed to survive. That kind of evolution can now be exploited by our higher brain functions to draw attention towards the buttons we want people to use.

Choose colours that stand out starkly from the background palette that you have employed for the rest of the website. Don’t use too many colours, as it could end up looking garish rather than grabbing. Possibly employ the use of a colour wheel or colour approximating software to get a proper grasp of what colours would be best to use on your page. Once you make your conversion button truly stand out, it will be clear to your audience where to go, and what they need to do.

However you choose to arrange your webpage, remember those you are dealing with are first and foremost people. People with minds that can be directed by stimulus and absorbed by attention grabbing styles. Examine the way people think and consider how we read websites ourselves, and your page too can see conversion rates rapidly rise.