Does Ugly Work?

Does Ugly Work?

When it comes to websites, the first instinct is to make things as a nice as possible. But is that the right approach?

If you spend time reading enough marketing blogs eventually you’ll start to get serious about things like conversions and testing. And naturally if you are in this mindset you’ll wonder what exactly to test.

A common item that “experts” always go to is the “click here” button. And with good reason – this button is usually among the most important clicks that you are hoping for on your site. That click here could be “Buy” or it could be “Subscribe” or maybe “Download” – whatever your button(s) says is of course specific to your own business.

There are a number of things when you are considering what to do with this button.

Copy: The first is – what exactly should the button say – “Buy” versus “Buy Now” versus “Purchase”… and the list goes on. And you know what. It matters. That simple text can have a huge impact on your click through rate.

Placement: Another consideration is with placement. Where does this magical button belong on your site. Above the fold (almost always yes). In the sidebar? In a box that goes full width on your website so readers have no choice but to cross it at some point? Maybe multiple instances.

Size: Size matter. Too small and people miss it. Too big and the button is obnoxious.

Font: Font is another area that seems to be filled with both limitless opinions and limitless options. Do you go with the same font as the remainder of the page or should you mix it up. For me I’ve recently “discovered” Lobster font which at least for now I think is really nice.

Color: And finally we come to color. This is where we start to get into the ugliness question. More than a few experts advocate using an ugly button color that is going to really stand out in your site and attract attention. Red and Green seem to be the winning colors but you should feel free to do your own research.

On my end I’ve recently gone against my own historical instincts and I am now running an ugly experiment. You can check it out as it’s currently running on this very page. If you scroll up to the top you’ll see that I have an orange box for my newsletter. I’d like to think the actual box looks pretty nice (If you don’t like the actual box please don’t say anything as I spent hours on it – the benefit of NOT being a web designer…) and the ugly experiment is a that green opt in button – here is a big version of it – but as you’ll see, the one in my actual subscribe bar fits in size wise, but it’s also sticks out a bit.

Over time I’ll play around with the language but for now I’m just running an ugly color test – be sure to check back as at some point I’ll share some results with you.

Meanwhile feel free to chime in with your own thoughts on my ugly experiment. Did I go far enough or is it too subtle? Maybe you have an ugly experiment of your own you’d like to share?

2013-01-14T21:34:44+00:00

3 Comments

  1. annedreshfield June 11, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    David, I like this little experiment you’re running here! I didn’t notice it right away, but you can bet that that font is seriously ugly. ūüėČ It may not stop everyone, but a lot of people will notice that it’s not your “typical” sign up font/button.¬†

    • Gadarian June 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      ¬†@annedreshfield¬†You know it’s funny, but as a gray button that font actually looked much nicer (at least in my opinion). ¬†With the green not so much. ¬†In any event glad you enjoyed the ugliness of it! Thanks for commenting.¬†

  2. Interns’ Choice -- Week of 6/11 July 17, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    […] Gadarian of Gadarian Media is having a little experiment on his blog: does ugly website design actually make people pay more attention? Visit his site to see if you can spot his experiment, and leave your opinion while you’re […]

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