Every week we take a look at a new website and analyze the design. We’ll point out both the areas that are done well in addition to those that could use some work. Finally, we’ll finish by asking you to provide your own feedback.
Today’s site is Alertful, the free reminder service.
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Alertful reminds you of important events by email. There’s no registration and the service is completely free. Alertful is owned and managed by a marketing company called 4040 Media Limited based in the UK.
Here is a screenshot of the homepage:
This week we published an article on Designing a Web App Homepage so this critique will serve as a perfect follow up to apply those principles to a live site.
My first impression with Alertful is very positive. I really like what they’ve done with this landing page and the service is genuinely awesome. There will be plenty to discuss on what went right and a little bit on some ideas for improving the page.
For weeks I’ve been ranting in these critiques about vague messaging on home pages. The entire purpose of this page is to communicate to users where they are and to entice them to come in further.
I think this site nails this. The left side of the page is dominated by a large message: “Alertful reminds you of important events be email.” The concept isn’t that complicated so I immediately understand that this is a service that will allow me to set up email reminders for different types of events.
This is the kind of straightforward message that you should have if there can be any doubt as to what your service is all about. As soon as I hit the page, I will either find something that catches my interest in the first 3-5 seconds or I’ll move along. To me, someone who uses email incessantly and has a horrid memory, this headline is quite appealing and is successful in pulling me in.
This message is then taken further with the bullet points below it. Again, the headline has caught my interest, but this is where they really snag me.
To be honest, the relative sizing of the text and the checkmarks feels very odd to me here. I’d suggest making the checkmarks smaller and the text a little bigger.
Regardless of the physical appearance, “no registration” and “no cost” are two very enticing points. In fact, it might be the case that “no registration required” needs another, more prominent home on this page. For me, registration is one of the biggest barriers to trying out a service. I’m busy and simply don’t want to take the time to sign up for yet another service with a username and password that I’ll have to remember down the line.
The fact that I can use this service right away with no commitments is fantastic and would definitely cause me to take a closer look. The key is to communicate this more effectively on this page so that users really grasp the idea that giving this service a shot literally only takes a few seconds.
The graphics on this page really help reinforce the messaging. When you load the page, the very first thing your eyes will be drawn to is the illustration of the man in the tie. He’s quirky but friendly-looking, which creates a welcoming environment and makes the service feel that much more human.
The key here though is that this guy has been structured to both grab your attention and direct it back at what’s important. He is both looking at and gesturing to the left side of the page. Where you will find not only the headline and bullet points but a collection of sticky notes that help you understand the service even further by showing you some suggestions for the types of reminders that you can send with Alertful.
Again, this page really nails the communication aspect. There’s a simple headline that introduces the service, some bullet points containing the killer features and some clear examples of use cases, all in an attractive, minimal and uncluttered space.
Ultimately, the goal of all of this is to direct your attention to the “Get Started” button, which is made even more obvious by the presence of a large arrow and another reminder that the service is free.
The extra statement about the service being free may feel redundant here, but it’s actually very important. When you hover over that button you want to feel safe that nothing bad will happen when you press it. The reassurance here that the service is free helps you know that you’re not accidentally making a financial decision.
Snagging More Users
As great as this home page is, the more I look around the site the more I wonder if it’s necessary at all. Again, Alertful is a free, no registration service. The struggle that you’re currently facing is trying to get as many people as possible to click a button to try the service, which then takes them to a few other screens that ultimately lead to a simple form.
One quick note about this page, the man should be pointing at the form! He’s currently drawing your attention outside of the page.
I can’t help but wonder if this page should be combined with your home page. To really drive home the idea that this is a quick, free service with no cost, why not let anyone who hits the homepage try it out right away? I land on your home page and see your headline about email reminders combined with your bullet points and the next thing I see is the service itself, ready and waiting for me to use.
Currently, the road from visitor to user is several screens long. Condensing this to only one would cut out the fat and hopefully result in lots more people using Alertful.
It’s possible that this new simpler version of the app would somehow make users see the service as too basic to be useful. Consequently, I recommend setting up some A/B testing.
Have half your visitors see the current homepage and the other half see a reformatted page that allows you to directly try the service right then and there. Then compare the results of the two to see which grabs more users.
Now that you’ve read my comments, pitch in and help out by giving the designer some further advice. Let us know what you think is great about the design and what you think could be stronger. As always, we ask that you also be respectful of the site’s designer and offer clear constructive advice void of any harsh insults.