× Patterns Blog BetterUI Review Coaching Courses Datastories

The Signup Story With -12% To Signups

Tagged As: Result

The Signup Story With -12% To Signups

This 8 month iterative optimization project just finished and we learned something about storytelling while comparing 2 of the 8 variations. This comparison hints subtly that describing a signup and usage process perhaps isn’t very effective at convincing people to signup. The possible -12% signup decrease (p-value of 0.17) in stands as some evidence. Although we don’t consider this comparison as a very strong one, nevertheless here are some possible explanations as to why the storytelling variation (I) looked weaker.

Conflicting Message Of A Lengthy 6 Step Process

One reason which might explain the -12% decrease is that length of the 6 step process itself. Perhaps some people were discouraged by so many steps, thinking it wasn’t very easy or quick. All these steps might have conflicted with the message in the headline which emphasized speed as the key benefit.

Distracted Attention

Another explanation for the weak loss might be from the large amounts of copy across all those 6 paragraphs. The “Here Is How It Works” story took up quite a bit of height from the page itself. Considering human attention is a scare resource, perhaps the story took people’s attention away from the more effective messages (such as the benefits in the header, or social proof in the testimonials, etc.)

Telling, Instead Of Doing

Finally, maybe simply establishing a strong focus on the task at hand is more powerful than describing what needs to be done. Perhaps getting users to do the first step is better than telling or describing the full set of steps. Maybe the idea of smaller commitments (or rather, lack of) has manifested itself here in this variation.

Share Your Thoughts

But enough about my interpretations. Why do you think variation I hinted with weakness? I, and I’m sure others, would be very curious to hear why you think this data turned out the way it did.

Get The Full Test With All Variations & Blueprint In Datastories #22

Share this story

Posted by Jakub Linowski on Feb 3, 2016

Leave Your Reply

4 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
Ivan BurmistrovVlad MalikTy CahillJakub LinowskiDave Nielsen Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted

My humble thoughts: Maybe the appealing “Get your FREE app login” button was moved so far down due to the “Here is how it works” section that many people simply didn’t read that far..
Anyway, I would have not detailed out all the steps on this very first page. The headline of each step would have already been the most people are willing to take in at that point in time.


I just designed a step wizard like this with a Fortune 100 client. We collaborated to whittle down the steps to 3, which also informed the design. We wanted to reduce the cognitive load on the end-user as much as possible. Along the same lines, we hid the step wizard behind a “How Does XXXXXXX Work?” tooltip CTA that on-hover underlines the hyperlink and on-click launches the 3-step wizard in a modal overlay — not only reducing the cognitive load but also specifically launching the wizard due to deliberate/wanted end-user action, not just throwing all this copy and imagery and… Read more »

Jakub Linowski

It sounds like you also made use of smaller commitments by breaking the process down – http://goodui.org/#44 ? Would love to see the a/b test. Feel free to share by email (in the footer). Thanks.

Dave Nielsen
Dave Nielsen

Inserting the story actually displaced or changed many parts of the page: the logos of trusted brands, the “20,000+ trust us” line, the testimonials, introduced a bland beige color in the “how it works” graphics. It’s hard to tell which of all these changes hurt or helped. Overall, the copy makes it look like this app is selling based on simplicity/efficiency/speed. I think Variation I covered part of the top graphic (which was an indicator of simplicity in variation H) and exposed the process in a way that looked not simple. With the benefit of hindsight, it seems that Variation… Read more »

Ty Cahill

Interesting take on “storytelling.” I’ve always thought of it more like Universal Principles of Design describes: “A method of creating imagery, emotions, and understanding of events through an interaction between a storyteller and an audience.” My first thought was that a “how-to” isn’t storytelling, but I can see how it fits. Regardless of the storytelling aspect of the design, things seem out of order. Sell me on the benefits and social proof before you try explaining how it works. If it seems like a possible solution I’ll search out the “how it works” details, but if I don’t easily see… Read more »

Vlad Malik

Agreed that it’s not a true story. It’s a flow, which is one aspect of a story.

Ivan Burmistrov

Agree. This is not storytelling. But true storytelling doesn’t work anyway. See page 7 in Curagami (2014) Why E-Commerce Marketing is Broken (http://bit.ly/1T6xVmq):

“Testing “storytelling” on the product page proved harmful to conversion. Longer content not easy to scan on their ecommerce site’s product page hurt conversion.”