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Re-Woot.

1.28.2009

A couple of weeks ago, Woot launched a re-design of their website. Woot is known for selling just one thing a day - usually a deeply discounted electronics gadget. Nearly all e-commerce sites live or die by conversion rates - the percentage of visitors who purchase something. I would expect that Woot is no exception. So I wonder if the new site design has had an effect on their conversions.

Woot.com - November 2005 Above is a screenshot of Woot's previous design. (Full disclosure - I had to combine a couple of images from the Wayback Machine to get that exact image, but what you see is a fair representation.) If I'm interpreting the results from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine correctly, this design had been in service since March of 2005. This image is a slightly compressed version of what's visible in my browser window; you can click the image to see it at full-size.

One thing about that page probably jumps right out at you - the "I Want One" button. It's big, it's orange, and it's surrounded by white space. It's friendly-looking, and you probably want to click it - just to see what will happen next. That's the call to action button - and it's the critical first phase of the "buying something" funnel.

Woot.com - January 2009 Above is a screenshot from January 22nd, 2009 showing Woot's new design. Again, this represents what's visible in my browser window, and clicking will open a full-size screen shot. The new design certainly is slicker and more modern looking. I notice some detail-work attempting to highlight important parts of the site. But I would bet that the Discussions and the Ads on the page are detracting from the main content of the page.

Most importantly, the "I Want One" button seems to stick out less than with the old design, and I find myself less compelled to click it. In fact, I think the Discussions box is drawing a lot of attention away from "I Want One". As the eye reads left to right, it naturally slides right over the button and on to Discussions.

As a sidenote, it really bothers me that this new design doesn't fit in my browser window. You see, I do have a fancy-pants wide-screen monitor, but I don't let my web browser use all of that real estate. Firefox runs in a smaller window so that I can see other stuff beside it - important stuff like Dreamweaver, my Palm Desktop, and File Explorer. Each web page gets only 950 pixels of width, and 855 pixels of height before the scrollbars appear. The new Woot design demands 1096 pixels of width; any smaller than that, and out comes the hated horizontal scrollbars. Listen up web designers - even if my monitor is capable of displaying a certain resolution, you're not going to get all of it. Consider that even if a visitor runs their browser at full screen, you've got all of chrome and sidebars getting dibs on those pixels. (The bookmarks sidebar is very popular in some demographics.) I know that most statistics report screen resolution (Google Analytics, for sure), but I really wish they'd report available viewport size instead.

So, here's what I'd like to know? Did Woot test before they redesigned? The question isn't "Does page layout and design affect conversion rates?", but "How much?" and "Am I losing customers?".

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Tags: landing-pages marketing optimization web-design

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