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Cram product pages with feature specs

The standard recommendation for product page design is that we should focus on descriptive text about products' benefits rather than feature specs. But observing people shopping on various sites, Cyd Harrel found that customers often need specifics first. They typically scroll past general copy in their search for very specific and deal-breaking details that they want to have confirmed before considering putting the product to their list of options.


  • Take Your General Information and Shove It Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 04, 2011

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See also: Web page design (41)  E-commerce (28) 



Useful information clutters designs

Here's a great Dilbert on how narrow minded graphic designers tend to sacrifice the communicative and functional aspects of design on the alter of eye candy.


  • Dilbert, February 6, 2011 Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 28, 2011 - via

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See also: Visual design (20) 



7 persuasion techniques

In this article, David Travis shows how to exploit seven persuasion techniques in web design:

- Reciprocation. By doing people a small favour, such as a giving them free chapter from a book, they will feel obligated to return the favour and buy the book.

- Commitment. By making people make a public commitment to something (e.g. "Like" a product) they will feel more inclined to support it

- Social Proof. By indicating that something is popular more people will want it.

- Authority. People are more likely to take action if a message comes from a credible and authoritative source.

- Scarcity. By indicating that something is in short supply or available only for a limited time, people are more likely to want it.

- Framing. By overpricing some products, the other alternatives will seem cheaper.

- Salience. People are more likely to pay attention to elements in your user interface that are novel and relevant to their tasks.


  • Persuasion Triggers in Web Design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 10, 2010

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See also: Persuasive design (23) 



How to do A/B and multivariate testing

A/B and multivariate testing are techniques used to tests how different design variations influence peoples' behavior on a website.

In this article, Paras Chopra explains how to set up such tests by first forming hypotheses about what might be wrong with a design and then testing possible solutions on the website to see how each of them perform.

In the article, Paras shows how some minor adjustments of a software download page increased its download rate by 60%.


  • Multivariate Testing in Action: Five Simple Steps to Increase Conversion Rates Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 24, 2010

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See also: Usability testing (71)  Persuasive design (23) 



Users ignore decorative images

In this article, Jakob Nielsen shows how eyetracking studies reveal that user pay close attention to images on websites that contain relevant information (such as product images), but completely ignore "fluffy pictures" that are purely decorative.

What Jakob forgets to mention is that eyetracking equipment only records eye fixations and not peripheral vision, that is, what we are able to see outside the center of gaze. So the studies don't prove that "feel-good" imagery fail their mission.


  • Photos as Web Content Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 01, 2010

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See also: Research (130)  Emotional design (10)  E-commerce (28)  Web page design (41) 



How persuasive design is misapplied

According to Colleen Jones, there are three things wrong with how persuasive design is currently applied:

1. It focuses on changing actions and behaviors though we all know that decisions are more or less based on opinion, attitude and emotion.

2. It doesn't address content which can influence people's thinking and motivate them to act

3. It focuses on optimizing design for conversion by pushing people along with sneaky tricks instead of motivating those with true interest


  • Three Reasons Why Persuasive Design Isn't Enough to Influence Change Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 21, 2010

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See also: Persuasive design (23) 



Designing for happiness

Dana Chisnell has done some research into what happiness is and how to design happiness into user experiences. According to Dana, there are three levels of happy user experiences:

- Mindfulness: The feeling of being paid attention to, that the designer is being considerate of our needs and wants.

- Flow: The feeling being of fully focused in a task to the point where we loose track of time.

- Meaning: The feeling of fellowship, making a difference and being involved in something bigger than yourself.

In the article, Dana gives example of sites that have accomplished to build these types of happiness into their designs.


  • Beyond Frustration: Three levels of happy design Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 22, 2010

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See also: Emotional design (10) 



Adding fun to the user experience

In this article, Jared Spool looks at how four businesses made their products more fun and engaging by adding elements of play to the user experience.


  • Designing with the Elements of Play Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 19, 2010

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See also: Persuasive design (23)  Emotional design (10)  Cases and Examples (28) 



Testing visual designs

Over at UX Matters, Michael Hawley writes about a quite interesting take on how to measure the viability of an visual design: Ask people to describe their experience of a design by selecting adjectives such as "busy", "fresh", "clear" and "trustworthy" from a predefined list. Then asses how these adjectives align with the goals you have set for the design.


  • Rapid Desirability Testing: A Case Study Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 22, 2010

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See also: Visual design (20) 



Graphics on websites - helpful or harmful?

According to Jared Spool, research by his company UIE shows that well-done navigation and content graphics help users. Ornamental graphics, on the other side, doesn't prove to benefit the user experinece. In their research, they can't find any evidence that they help users trust a site or make it seem more professional or friendly. On the contratry, ornamental graphics can be distracting and annoying to users.

Jared recommends that teams focus on delivering helpful navigation and content graphics and resist the temptation for ornamental graphics.


  • Deciding When Graphics Will Help (and When They Won't) Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 06, 2009

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See also: Visual design (20)  Research (130) 

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