Success in the digital realm often hinges on a single click. This seemingly simple action is influenced by numerous factors, with button design being a pivotal one. Buttons are ubiquitous – they grace emails, landing pages, contact forms, and e-commerce carts. Yet, how often do we invest time in perfecting their design, particularly the call to action?
After constructing countless websites and meticulously scrutinizing each one, we’re excited to share our insights into crafting compelling calls to action. Here are seven indispensable best practices for button design that you can apply to your website:
Note: This guide focuses exclusively on designing buttons for calls to action (CTA), excluding general website navigation, clickable icons, or in-text links.
1. Align Intent: Harmonize Visitor Intent with the CTA
At the core, why do people click? It boils down to finding the solution they seek. The primary driver of click-through rates is visitor motivation, surpassing even button design. If the visitor doesn’t require what the page offers, no amount of design finesse will secure a click. It’s that straightforward. While you can’t alter a visitor’s fundamental motivations, you can ensure your page addresses their needs effectively. Here are a few questions to ask when you are creating a motivating CTA;
- Is the offer unmistakably clear? Clarity assures the visitor they’re in the right place if they need it.
- Have you addressed potential objections? If something is holding them back, your page should provide reassurance.
- Is the traffic source directing the right audience? Ensure your source or navigation label is attracting individuals in alignment with the page’s offer.
Every visitor has a unique story, a distinct purpose for landing on a webpage. Ponder deeply on this visitor. Then, examine the page. Is there a resonance between their needs and your CTA? An example of a CTA mismatch could be: Suggesting an email signup on a service page, when the visitor is seeking direct assistance.)
2. Specificity: Harness the Power of Verbs & Precision
Every click symbolizes another action. It can signify a purchase, a query, or myriad other possibilities. Considering this, scrutinize each button on your site and contemplate the real action it represents. Is the verb apt? Is it precise?
The text on the button sets the visitor’s expectations regarding their action. More than color, shape, size, or placement, the text wields the most influence. Yes, specific CTAs may be lengthier. Designers might wince at an 8-word button, especially on mobile, but it’s worth testing.
Visitors, being discerning, click only after a swift cost-benefit assessment. They ascertain that the benefit outweighs any perceived cost or risk. When crafting a button, enhance CTRs by magnifying the perceived benefit or minimizing the perceived cost.
For lead generation CTAs, emphasize that they’re initiating a conversation, not making a binding commitment. Buttons suggesting a lower level of commitment necessitate less trust and motivation, potentially elevating CTRs. For content-related CTAs, emphasize the ease and immediacy of access.
Easier-sounding buttons are more likely to be clicked. Conversely, buttons hinting at a substantial commitment can trigger reservations.
3. Obvious Buttons: Optimal Visual Prominence
Does your call to action stand out? Every scroll depth follows a visual hierarchy, guiding the eye through the page. Certain elements naturally stand out more than others. Web designers orchestrate these hierarchies to direct attention to key messages, supporting evidence, and CTAs. There are five fundamental methods to enhance an element’s prominence:
- High placement on the page
- Element size
- Contrast or color temperature
- Surrounded by whitespace
- Presence on every page (header/footer)
Our eyes are wired to detect contrasts with surroundings – it’s a fundamental aspect of human perception. This is known as the Von Restorff Effect. Color is a powerful tool; contrasting colors, especially complementary ones, can draw attention effectively. Faces, too, can guide attention. Humans instinctively follow where others look. Images of people gazing towards a button can significantly enhance its visibility.
4. Pronouns: First or Second Person?
Website copy typically employs a second-person perspective, speaking to the visitor as the brand. However, one exception arises when it comes to button text. Buttons using first-person pronouns invite the reader into the internal dialogue, encouraging them to imagine taking the action. Studies indicate this can amplify click-through rates.
Alternatively, some buttons eschew pronouns entirely, adopting a neutral viewpoint. A test called the “WYLTIWLT Test” can determine if a button’s label works in both the voice of the website and the visitor. Buttons that pass this test resonate with both the marketer’s and the visitor’s voices.
5. Mobile Accessibility: Ensuring Thumb-Friendly CTAs
With the average phone screen size stabilizing around 6.3 inches, ensuring buttons are within easy reach on mobile screens is crucial. A thumb is approximately 60 pixels wide, influencing button placement. Buttons integrated into the content area enhance accessibility, as they remain within convenient thumb reach while the visitor navigates. Sticky headers, on the other hand, might pose accessibility challenges.
Additionally, maintain sufficiently large tap targets to accommodate fingers and thumbs.
6. Code-Based Buttons: Opting for Efficiency
While the term “button” often conjures images, savvy developers fashion buttons that resemble images but are constructed with code. This approach overcomes several drawbacks associated with graphical buttons.
- Faster loading times
- Accessibility for all visitors, including those with disabilities
- Compatibility with email displays
Buttons designed with HTML/CSS, often referred to as “bulletproof buttons,” render consistently across various platforms, including emails.
7. Tracking and Optimization: Harnessing Data for Success
Implementing these button design best practices is commendable, but their effectiveness can only be ascertained through data analysis. Analytics, particularly Google Analytics, is indispensable for gauging button performance. Some clicks are easier to track than others. Those leading to a different URL are straightforward, while interactions like displaying a thank-you message or launching a popup window require additional setup.
To refine your buttons for superior click-through rates, A/B testing is paramount. This involves comparing your existing button to a variant to ascertain if any alterations yield improved performance.
Ultimately, your CTA button is a linchpin in the conversion process. Its performance directly impacts lead generation and demand. Major players recognize this, evident in their meticulous approach to button design and optimization.
Designing a button that compels action is an art and a science. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about understanding the psychology of user behavior and crafting an experience that resonates. By aligning intent, leveraging specificity, ensuring visual prominence, choosing pronouns thoughtfully, considering mobile accessibility, utilizing code-based buttons, and tracking for optimization, you can create buttons that drive engagement and conversions. Remember, data is your ally in this journey. A/B testing allows you to refine and perfect your buttons, ensuring they become powerful catalysts for user action. So, embark on this journey with purpose, and watch as your buttons transform from mere elements on a page to dynamic drivers of success.