Embrace Constraints To Evolve

Normal, Bold, Italic, Bold and Italic, on which one do you click?

If I tell you that on my website I have a download link which can be either:

  • normal;
  • italic;
  • bold;
  • or bold and italic.

The link is like on the screen shot below:

Download link of Indefero

What is your answer? I must say, I would have put:

  • bold, and, bold italic basically the same and the best conversion rate;
  • then italic and normal.

So, just for the fun, I ran the test on the download page of Indefero. After a week, the results were not really like expected. So I let the test run until my confidence percentage was stable. Here are the results:

Normal better than bold

Yes, bold and italic is the converter, and this by a large margin with 9% better, but what surprised me is that the the bold link is not statistically significantly better than the normal link!

So, my best judgment was basically wrong. What a blow, especially for something as simple as the font style off a link. This small experiment as changed a lot my way to think about improving my software. For my scientific work, I always use data, for the design I often trust my feelings. I was wrong, terribly wrong.

Now, the problem is that I cannot test everything because I am not google and I do not have thousands of visitors a day. But at least, I can test the key points in my application, that is, where actions and conversions are performed.

Loïc d'Anterroches,
Sep 17, 2010

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