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top-digital-psychology-behavioral-design

Error Messages: Examples, Best Practices & Common Mistakes

Your users will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. That’s what error messages are for—but so many companies fail to follow best practices, and they’re pissing off potential customers in the process.

So, how can we better design error messages to improve the user experience and, therefore, increase conversions?

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User Onboarding

There’s a popular user experience quote: “A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.” While clever, that statement is far from true.

User interfaces shouldn’t be complicated, but you can’t expect a new user to understand a new interface without any direction. Similarly, you can’t expect an existing user to understand an updated interface or a new feature without any help.

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How to Use Cialdini's 6 Principles of Persuasion to Boost Conversions

Back in 1984, Dr. Robert B. Cialdini wrote a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. Since then, it’s been widely hailed as a seminal book on marketing—something everyone in conversion optimization should read.

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Sign-Up Flows: A Friction-Based Analysis (with Examples)

Friction is “the psychological resistance that your visitors experience when trying to complete an action.” It’s also a conversion killer.

You can optimize your value proposition or call to action buttons all you want, but if your sign-up flow contains too much friction, you’re leaving money on the table.

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Form Design: 13 Empirically Backed Best Practices

If you’re not following form design best practices, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table.

While forms aren’t the sexiest part of conversion optimization, they tend to be the closest to the money—the macro-conversions. Spending a little time optimizing forms can be some of the most important optimization work you can do.

Of course, best practices don’t work the same on all sites. It’s contextual. But generally, implementing form design tactics that work more often than not is a good way to get started.

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How Creating a Sense of Urgency Helped Me Increase Sales By 332%

A few years ago, I launched a kind of “Groupon deal for musicians.” I gave away $1,250 worth of products, including recording time, iTunes distribution, and a guitar-string endorsement deal for just $69. The deal was good for only 100 hours, and there were just 5,000 packages available.

I had invested a lot into the campaign. Not only had I spent four months putting it together, but I had also put a significant amount of my personal savings into ensuring that this campaign was everywhere during those 100 hours.

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small plate with simple ingredients.

A study by Google had two key findings:

  • Users will judge websites as beautiful or not within 1/50th to 1/20th of a second.
  • “Visually complex” websites are consistently rated as less beautiful than their simpler counterparts.

Moreover, “highly prototypical” sites—those with layouts commonly associated with sites of their category—that also had a simple website design were rated the most beautiful.

In other words, the study found that the simpler the design, the better.

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First Impressions Matter: Why Great Visual Design Is Essential

People make snap judgments. It takes only 1/10th of a second to form a first impression about a person. Websites are no different.

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How to Design User Flow

User flow is the path a user follows through your website interface to complete a task—make a reservation, purchase a product, subscribe to something. It’s also called a user journey.

And it has a massive impact on conversions.

To maximize your conversions, you have to get the user flow right on your site. Do it by building a user flow that matches user’s needs.

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ecommerce checkout flow in google analytics

Your ecommerce checkout flow is where the money is at. Think about it. Random visitors leave the site before ever entering the checkout funnel. Motivated buyers come here to finish their order.

Any small design improvement in your checkout UX usually has a direct impact on how much money your site makes.

An ecommerce site that I analyzed recently had a payment page in which 84.7% of the traffic proceeded to buy. I calculated that if we could increase that to 90%, it would result in 461 more orders and an additional $87,175 per month—23.9% revenue growth. “Small” gains can be huge.

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What’s on my mind

Hi, I'm Peep Laja—founder of CXL. I'm a former champion of optimization and experimentation turned business builder.

I do a lot of thinking, reading, and writing around business, strategy, and optimization. I send a weekly newsletter with what's on my mind on this stuff.

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