The ugly duckling gets the…worm?

My team took on a piece of work a few months back to optimise the process of creating a job ad on mobile. Our aim was to increase the conversion on small screen devices.

The (not-so-ugly duckling) racing for the win…Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

My team took on a piece of work a few months back to optimise the process of creating a job ad on mobile. Our aim was to increase the conversion on small screen devices.

We knew from previous user research that there were key behaviour drivers on mobile when it came to posting ads. The most relevant was the easy comparison of products.

We did a sketch up and came up with a few ideas which I pulled together into a couple of designs to take into research. So this is what we had:

  • the current version
  • a swipe-to view products design
  • a very functional, desktop-looking, tabbed design option.

This last one placed comparability as the highest priority but was soooo not right for mobile due to its inability to scale. Erm…horizontal tabs on mobile…nuh-uh…

Round 1 — Scrolly scroll-a-lot VS. Swipey swipe VS. Tabby Mc Tab face

In the research, the tabbed, ugly duckling, smashed the other patterns out of the park.

The main reasons cited by hirers:

“ (It’s) better to see all the prices at once.”
“Easier to compare without having to remember” (what was on the other pages)
“Much, much quicker.”

I iterated on this design with my dev team, and we switched it to vertical tabs which allowed you to see the prices straight away but also allowed what I like to call ‘skimming comparability’. This is where you can skim the number of ticks beside a product, without having to read the full dot point.

We ran this new version, plus two other mobile-friendly design patterns past a bunch of hirers again, quietly hoping that one of the less ugly designs would win.

Round 2 — Not given pet names because…eh…

Nup. Tabbed won again…

“I liked that it was all in the one spot.”
“Easier due to the way you view the examples.”

So after a few tweaks and some protests from visual people (justified) off it went into production to be A/B tested.


After a few weeks we could honestly say there had been a 35% overall uplift in conversion on the not-so-gorgeous tabbed design. Holy, heck!

The moral to the story?

Your visual design sense maybe curling up and dying inside but if your usability sense is partying like it’s 1999 all over again, maybe it’s ok?

Or controversially:

Beauty just isn’t what people want, when they just need to get a task done?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Whatever.


I have put this one in my backlog for a follow up later as I reckon there has to be some way to make it pretty without losing that conversion. 💪🏼

Much love goes to my fearless and intrepid visual designer Scotty who has had to deal with his beautiful designs being knocked down time after time. Sorry bro. 😿


I’m starting on my writing journey and will be sharing more reflections on random stuff including getting my write on, adventures with my rad team and how I’ve become the facilitator of design instead of The Designer in our team. 
Would love your feedback, and also if you joined me on my travels by following me!