Embodiment in Web Design

Maybe it’s because the embodied cognition conference is less than 2 weeks away, but I am just seeing more and more connections to the strategy of focusing on embodiment in many different contexts. Even areas like google searching and web design: The text of your links for example can have different effects on people if you focus on specific actions. Via copyblogger:

It’s been a bit since I’ve seen any actual test data on the use of actionable link anchor text, so I thought I’d share the results of a Marketing Sherpa experiment performed with their newsletter readers. The goal was to find out if the wording used in hyperlinks could make a difference in clickthrough rates.

The answer is yes. They found that the right two or three click link words can lift clickthrough rates by more than 8%.

Here are the results:

* “Click to continue”: 8.53%

* “Continue to article”: 3.3%

* “Read more”: (-)1.8%

The lesson is clear. Not only should you use actionable anchor text if you really want someone to click, but you should also tell people to take the exact action you want them to perform in order to get the best response. Click here to read the original Marketing Sherpa article in its entirety.

When you read the phrase ‘click here’ you may be mentally enacting it. There’s a lower threshold for then actually doing the clicking, if you didn’t already.

The sad part though is that much software, including open source tools, ignores research or data about usability/learning/effectiveness. As compassdesign mentions, for example, the Joomla content management system doesn’t have the most effective wording for reading more of an article. But luckily since it is open source, it isn’t too difficult to change the code and improve the wording. Getting the developers to accept changes like this though, might be more difficult (which is why I have argued elsewhere that open source is pretty meaningless without open participation in the development process). An example of this is case-sensitivity in programming languages. Research showed beginning programmers and young programmers sometimes have difficulty with case-sensitivity, and that case-insensitivity alleviates this. Guido van Rossum, creator of Python (which is based on a kid/novice friendly language called ABC) wanted to make Python more usable for all people, including beginners/kids, and wanted to make Python case-insensitive. But anyone familiar with the programming community could probably guess what kind of holy war that started, and the change didn’t happen (try dividing 3 by 5 in Python to see another issue like this too: the result will be 0, not 0.6, but this is finally changing in Python 3.0 a decade after it was brought up).

Posted in development, embodiment
One comment on “Embodiment in Web Design
  1. Barrie says:

    Good post.One of the great things about Joomla though is that its super easy to modify some of these errors, as I explain in my article.We can’t really expert the developers of project X or Y to be experts in the huge range of skill needed for a successful site. What we do need though is systems that are easy to customize…

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