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The Extended Blink 9/14/2016

Posted by Justin Rondeau on Wed Sep 14, 2016 11:10 AM

Posted September 14th, 2016. This is a post by our friend Justin Rondeau, Director of Optimization at DigitalMarketer, part of an ongoing partnership between Crayon and DigitalMarketer analyzing the latest marketing redesigns, trends and best practices.

In this week’s post we’re going take a look at three new redesigns on HubSpot’s certification category page, Code42’s white paper landing page, and Shopify’s POS product page.

Per usual there have been some major changes on all of these pages and we’re going to take a look and see which version has the edge.

***Read this if this is your first time reading The Extended Blink***
Here is a list of the criteria I use to evaluate these redesigns (if you want an in depth explanation then click here to give it a read).

• Clarity
• Readability
• Appearance
• On-site Experience
• Navigation

I’ll break down each variation by category and score a point to the version that has the edge. Now let’s take a look at this week’s redesigns. Remember, the older version is on the right and the updated version is on the left.

HubSpot’s Certification Category Page (Inbound Marketing Platform)

Clarity

So there was a massive change between the previous version and the updated version. They decided to go with a multi-column icon oriented page. While this layout is good for comparing programs the certifications aren’t a true apples-to-apples comparison.

The previous version used a stacked approach. This allowed uses to focus on an individual certification rather than distracting them with other certification options.

In terms of messaging both pages are exactly the same. They use the same headline and sub-headline and all the descriptive text is just about the same as well so there isn’t a real change in clarity here.

However the use of seals in the previous version provides support to the end result: the actual certificate.

The previous variation (on the right) is the winner for clarity.

Readability

Surprisingly the clarity win didn’t clinch a readability win!  The updated variation is much easier to consume and read as it breaks down the courses into how long they are and other key factors where as the previous variation have you read through a lot of copy in order to get this information.

Simply put: the updated variation does a better job at presenting key points via copy. I mean what’s easier to read?

This:

Or This:

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for readability.

Appearance

Quite frankly both pages look great. However I think the previous variation has a slight edge as they use a better coloration where the most important content is in the lighter sections and they use a much darker background avoiding a brightness overload.

The previous variation (on the right) is the winner for appearance.

On-site Experience

At first I didn’t like the updated variations use of filtering. I mean there aren’t that many options on the page so why bother with a filter? Well as I looked at the page more and played around with it, the feature really started to grow on me.

The previous variation made you scroll through the page with no easy way to find what you were looking for (Except Contol+F). Adding a filter feature was a smart move and definitely improves the experience

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for on-site experience.

Navigation

Just by the function of including a better way to filter and navigate the page, the updated version definitely takes the edge here.

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for navigation.

Final score
Updated Variation (on the left) 3
Previous Variation (on the right) 2

Wow that was a close one! It’s really tough to compare two stellar pages, but it really looks like HubSpot got this one right (especially if they start adding in more certifications).

Code42’s Whitepaper Landing Page (Enterprise Data Security)

Clarity

Here is an example of a page that lacks in some clarity. Both variations use the ‘Reeling in Ransomware’ phrase, which might not make a lot of sense to the visitor. Remember what is clever often obscures. Get to the point.

We know that we are getting a white paper about data protection from the headline, but I think both variants spend too much time in their preamble before the bullet points. Talk about what the visitor will get from this paper, not a history lesson.

The imagery in the previous version kind of helps with clarity, but to give an edge to either variant would be misleading.

Neither variation is the winner for clarity.

Readability

The two-column layout used by the updated variations is much easier to read. There is a logical flow to this structure, but there could be some major improvements.

I’d suggest a larger font and bolding some of the key points to make the page more scan-able.

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for readability.

Appearance

Since this page is a bit smaller than the other pages we’ve looked at this is a pretty easy verdict. The updated variation has a much sleeker design, is easier to read, and has a form that doesn’t look like it was embedded as an afterthought.

Another bonus point is the increase of trust icons at the bottom of the template.

The previous version was just a single white page that didn’t have much of a visual hierarchy.

We have a clear winner with the updated version.

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for appearance.

On-site Experience

When it comes to these landing pages there isn’t a whole lot to talk about for on-step experience that is separate from appearance.

Everything really functions the same so there is no winner here.

Neither variation is the winner for on-site experience.

Navigation

Neither variation had any navigation, so this category is out.

Neither variation is the winner for navigation.

Final score
Updated Variation (on the left) 2
Previous Variation (on the right) 0

Yes Code42 has created a better page, but that was compared to an all white page that lacked any design. The team can do a lot more rather than just appeal to the background image design trend.

They should improve their clarity, provide an image of the asset, focus on the benefit to the user, and make the page more scan-able. Sure this page won…but it could be so much more.

Shopify’s POS Product Page (Ecommerce Platform)

Clarity

When it comes to clarity, it’s critical that your headline and subheadline work the perfect one-two punch that answers ‘What is it?’ and ‘What can it do for me?’

The previous version has a bit of an edge here because they tell you exactly what it is: a POS system and what it does: accepts any payment method.

The updated variation gets a little cute talking about selling in markets and other locations. Though this will appeal to some avatars it doesn’t have the same power as the claim that it ‘Accepts any payment method you throw its way’.

The previous variation (on the right) is the winner for clarity.

Readability

Both pages are incredibly scan-able and make it easy to consume the content. This one is too close to call.  

Neither variation is the winner for readability.

Appearance

Both pages take a slightly different approach with the page content. The updated variation stays very product focused whereas the previous version focused on how the product can be used.

I think the overall design of the updated variation is more consistent, clean, and tells a single narrative. The previous version jumps around a bit with its design and imagery that muddles the page’s central point.

Another win for the updated variation is the updated hero section and inline form.

It doesn’t take up as much vertical space, but is just as powerful as the imagery used in the previous variation.

Both lose points for being over reliant on content hidden by tabs. Hopefully they are measuring which tabs get the most clicks and just start showing that information on the page by default.

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for appearance.

On-site Experience

One of the major changes in terms of experience is the inline form field CTA in the updated version. I’ve had a very positive experience with inline form fields and think this was a smart move by Shopify.

After you put in your information and click ‘Create Your Store’ you get an overlay that asks for the rest of the information necessary to get started.

I much prefer this experience to clicking a button to a form of an unknown length.

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for on-site experience.

Navigation

The updated version took a gamble here and put the sub navigation after the hero image. I think this plays nicely and was a very smart move. By breaking up the two navigation panes, the updated variation was able to further simplify navigation for the user.

I also loved the inclusion of the navigation into the hero image and how they tightened up the copy. The use of ‘Ways to sell’ vs. ‘Sales Channel’ was a much better way to speak to their audience.

The updated variation (on the left) is the winner for navigation.

Final score
Updated Variation (on the left) 3
Previous Variation (on the right) 1
Well looks like all of the updates were an improvement again, though we did have some close calls.

What did you think of the new designs? Tell me in the comments.  

Filed Under:

Design

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