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Boxes or Rows? Which Format Converts Better?

WhichTestWon's Analysis: (Click back to see versions A & B)

– Case Study –

RS Components, a distributor of electronic, electrical, and industrial components, conducted this design simplification test in-house.

The study ran for two weeks on the Adobe Target platform. Traffic was comprised of 3,500 visitors, split 50/50.

Previous feedback from customers suggested the boxed “grid layout” wasn’t easy to understand or read at-a-glance.

The team suspected changing the price panel design to a clearer row layout would reduce confusion and thereby increase performance.

Winner: Version B – the row layout lead to a 9.16% uplift in clicks on the “Add to Basket” button at 93% confidence..


Here’s an exercise for you: Pull up your company’s website on your computer, and stand up and take 10 steps backward. Now, take 5 seconds to glance at your computer screen.

What do you see?

Do you have to squint to see the text and images? Can you decipher the main Call To Action (CTA)? Is the overall goal of the website immediately clear?

This is the “5 seconds/10 steps back” test. It’s easy to do and can be awfully revealing.

If you can’t readily see or immediately discern the main content and overarching purpose of of your business, chances are nobody else will be able to either. That’s a problem.

For your website to be effective, it needs to be simple and clear while simultaneously capturing the attention of your audience. The best way to do this, according to renowned usability expert, Steve Krug, is to “create pages that are self-evident.” They have to “work most of their magic at a glance.”

Krug explains that:

“making pages self-evident is like having good lighting in a store: it just makes everything seem better. Using a site that doesn’t make us think about unimportant things feels effortless, whereas puzzling over things that don’t matter to us tends to sap our energy and enthusiasm — and time.”

A self-evident website means that your customers should be able to instantly understand what your site is about, what you’re selling, and how to purchase it. To fulfill this goal, you have to think about your customers’ needs and what they’re trying to accomplish.

With the rise of comparison shopping, as an example, it has become increasingly important that customers understand the value of what they’re buying. As such, it’s crucial that businesses adapt to this trend by ensuring that value is self-evident.

As was the case with RS Components, a simple change in layout can make the information on your site that more more digestible and impactful, as a result. It’s not necessarily about adding or removing but rather adjusting the presentation.

That said, before making any changes, consider how your audience is consuming information. According to eye tracking software, for example, we tend read in an “F-Shaped” pattern when browsing desktops, allowing our eyes to scan across the page before they make their way downward. Alternatively, on mobile, as marketing guru Patel argues our eyes focus on the center of the screen. These are all factors to consider when determining the best presentation for your business.

Consider questions including:

  • Are most of my visitors on desktop or mobile?
  • Are they scanning from left to right, or mostly just looking above the fold?
  • Are they comparison shopping, at the site to buy something, or just learn about a product or service?

Your answers to these questions will help you effectively format and layout content in order to best cater to your users’ needs, expectations, and behavior. And, that, my friend, is how you’ll drive impactful performance across your marketing efforts.

Actionable Takeaways:

Apply the the “5 seconds/10 steps back” test. If your content can’t be easily understood and seen in 5 seconds, at 10 steps back from the screen, it’s not quickly digestible at a glance. Change that.

Think about your customers’ mindset. What are your customers’ trying to accomplish on your site? Make the conversion task as simple, quick, and easy as possible for them. Don’t make them think.

Think about your customers’ mindset. Are your customers primarily on desktop or mobile? How are they consuming your site’s content? Figure that out and cater to them accordingly.

What do you do to make content on your site easily scannable and digestible?

Let us know by tweeting @BEHAVEdotorg.

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Winning Version


Reader Guesses:

Which Test Won?

  • Version B
  • Version A
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