by anthony on 02/21/11 at 2:58 pm
Your buttons may call users to act, but do they compel users to act? Buttons can come in different shapes and forms, but a button isn’t effective if it doesn’t compel users to take action. The more clicks your call to action button gets, the higher chance you have at converting your users into customers. There are a few best practices that can help turn your call to action buttons into compel to action buttons. When you understand and apply these best practices to your buttons, you’ll notice that the difference is night and day.
Use gradients, drop shadows and rounded corners to make it look real.
It’s no secret that the more real your buttons look the more users know will know to click it. Using gradients, drop shadows and rounded corners on your button will make it look like a three-dimensional button that users can press. Users press buttons all the time throughout their daily life. So when they see a realistic looking button on your website, they’ll instantly know what to do with it.
Use high contrast colors.
Colors aren’t used just for decorating a website. They play an important role in grabbing the users attention. A compelling call to action button is a button that users can spot instantly. The key to making your buttons easy to spot is to use high contrast colors. The color of your button should contrast with the text color on your button, as well as the background color it’s on.
Make it big, but not too big.
Color isn’t the only thing matters. Size matters too. The bigger your button is, the easier it is to spot. When you increase the size of your button, you should increase the text size in it as well. This won’t only make your button easier to spot, but easier to read. However, avoid making the button too big. If it overshadows the content that supports your button, it’ll distract users from their task.
Use words that create a sense urgency and immediacy.
Words that create a sense of urgency and immediacy are more likely to compel users to act. Adding certain words like “now”, “today”, “instant” or “quick” to your button text can make a huge difference in your conversion rate. What this does is create tension and excitement in the user’s experience. Emotion plays an important role in both marketing and design.
Soften your action words.
If user’s don’t know much about your product, it’s highly unlikely they’ll buy it without trying it first. Many websites ask users to buy their product on the home page before users see what the product is about. This is a sure way to get users to avoid your button. Don’t put all your chips in one basket right away. Soften your action words and allow users to try a demo or browse the features before you ask them to buy.
Use title case with 1 or 2 words, sentence case with 3 words or more.
Most people don’t pay much attention to text capitalization on their buttons. The difference it makes might seem small, but it still affects users. When your call to action is 1 or 2 words, using title case can make your button text feel like a command. When your call to action is 3 words or more, using sentence case can make your button text feel like a dialogue. All of which, can make clicking more comfortable for users.
Add an affordance arrow or icon to it.
There are a couple of ways you can illustrate your call to actions to make it compelling. One way is to add an affordance arrow to the button to make it feel like an action. The arrow signals to users that the button will take them somewhere. Another way is to use an icon that describes the action. When users see an icon that matches the action, they’ll feel like they’ll get what they’re clicking.
Add a hover effect to it.
A visual change when the user hovers their mouse over the button can compel users to click it. Changing the color brightness of the gradient is a good way to get users to click your button. At the very least, the mouse cursor should change from the usual arrow to the pointing hand. This is a standard cursor convention that lets users know what they can click.
Place it above the fold and below the fold.
If your page allows for scrolling, it’s good to have your call to action button above the fold and below the fold. Users will typically spend most of their time above the fold, however, most users will eventually end below the fold. Having a call to action button below the fold helps users remember why they’re on your site and what they need to do to get what they want.
A button that calls users to act is easy to design. But a button that compels users to act is one that takes some careful thought and understanding. These best practices will guide you as you design your buttons. If you ever want to know what more you can do to increase the conversion rate of your buttons, look to A/B testing to test the effectiveness of your buttons on your users.