Do Your Users Feel Safe and Appreciated?

Paul Boag

This week on the Boagworld Show, we explore the role of appreciation and how reducing risk can improve conversion.

This week’s show is sponsored by Balsamiq and Fullstory.


Paul Boag: This week on the Boag World Show, we explore the role of appreciation and how reducing risk can improve your conversion rate. This week's show is sponsored by Balsamiq and Fullstory. Hello and welcome to the Boag World Show Podcast about all the aspects of conversion rate optimization, user experience and digital strategy. My name is Paul Boag, and joining me on this show is Marcus Lillington. Hello Marcus.

Marcus Lillington: Hello Paul. That was a new intro. You confused me.

Paul Boag: Yeah, well I was looking at it, and I was thinking we don't talk about development at, so why do I include that in the list.

Marcus Lillington: We might to do a little bit sometimes I might talk a about that next week.

Paul Boag: Might you? Oh, well I'll have to change you back next week.

Marcus Lillington: I might not. I don't know.

Paul Boag: Well, I just figured, as we're doing an entire season on conversion optimization, conversion rate optimization, I should at least mention that in the introduction.

Marcus Lillington: All right. Then I was thrown. I still am.

Paul Boag: Okay. I've just ruined your day. Well, if you've read the notes, you would have known I was going to say that.

Marcus Lillington: That's just like the intro. It's like if you're reading back through a proposal, inaudible 00:01:30 Chris has written a proposal and I'm reading back through all the stuff that the same in all proposals. I don't read. I should.

Paul Boag: Yes, you should. I'm sure Chris would disapprove of your lackness. I bet he reads it all.

Marcus Lillington: Of course he does.

Paul Boag: He does, you.

Marcus Lillington: Yes. You mentioned the wrong clients and the project management bit.

Paul Boag: Yeah, exactly.

Marcus Lillington: Things like that.

Paul Boag: We're doing this season on conversion rate optimization, but I'm a bit distressed. Can I say I'm a bit distress today?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. You don't look it. Do your distressed face Paul.

Paul Boag: I'm not really much of an actor, right? Yeah. Because you know, I created this master class that, that basically this entire season is a massive big ad for. Please go to While someone has written a really good book. the east probably actually just as good as the master class and I think costs one pound 50 or something ridiculous and it's really irritating me. I'm very down about that.

Marcus Lillington: Do you know what, there's a real big flaw in everything you just said.

Paul Boag: What's that?

Marcus Lillington: Can you recognize what the flaw is? You didn't. Actually have to tell anyone then no one would've known and everything would be fine.

Paul Boag: Well, I've committed myself to it now, so I'm going to say the book because I've just finished reading it. It's really, really good. You should definitely check it out. Actually it doesn't overlap that much bizarrely with … Well it kind of does. You know how things have got like a different angle or a different perspective on it. So they're kind of complimentary in a way. But anyway there's a book called Making Websites Win which is created or written by the conversion rate expert guys. The guys that actually came up with this term conversion rate optimization, or at least they claim they did, who knows, you know, people make up all kinds of shit on the internet. I wouldn't trust them. In fact I would suggest that probably their book is not a good idea to buy it at all. So there.

But if you want to. It's called Making Websites Win. But just to be clear, it's not as good as the masterclass. So how are you Marcus? What you up to? You're going on holiday tomorrow again?

Marcus Lillington: What do you mean, again? crosstalk 00:04:05 holidays, about April.

Paul Boag: Well exactly. Most people have one holiday a year. One big holiday weekend.

Marcus Lillington: It's a long weekend. It's our wedding anniversary and we're going to the west country, going to komo 00:04:15, it's not like sort of Caribbean nonsense or anything like that. It will be lovely. The weather looks good. So, I've been married for 29 years.

Paul Boag: Wow. And you're still alive? Well done.

Marcus Lillington: She hasn't killed me yet. Tried many ties but-

Paul Boag: crosstalk 00:04:34 more to the point. Still married.

Marcus Lillington: There you go. So yeah, inaudible 00:04:42 and then next week I'll come back. We'll come back Monday. We'll record the next week's show on Tuesday and then I'm flying to America. It's all got a bit kind of crazy.

Paul Boag: Is that a client in America?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah.

Paul Boag: Please tell me you're not going to Washington DC again.

Marcus Lillington: Correct. I'm not going to Washington DC, hooray.

Paul Boag: Where are you going? Where are you going?

Marcus Lillington: I'm going to Detroit or just outside Detroit. A place called Ann Arbor.

Paul Boag: I'd never been to Detroit. Isn't Detroit the city that's like now a kind of post apocalyptic landscape since all the car manufacturer is closed down.

Marcus Lillington: I kind of think that's sort of true, but where I'm going is like super posh. It's like Cambridge in America, or Oxford. Maybe not quite that, but that's the sort of thing. It's, it looks very oldy worldy, lots of grand looking buildings, lots of green spaces. It looks very nice.

Paul Boag: I've never been to Detroit now. So there we go.

Marcus Lillington: I honestly don't know if I have or not. That's quite scary, isn't it? I might have been. We went everywhere in the states back in the old bandy days, but maybe crosstalk 00:05:53, that's quite near.

Paul Boag: You were saying on the slack channel that you want to buy a new game, you needed game recommendations. Are we took mobile ballgames or are we talking proper games?

Marcus Lillington: I don't do proper games. I do games on my Mac and things like that. I don't own a console. The last console I had was a Wii, that's going back some, isn't it?

Paul Boag: Yes. Yeah, first bit.

Marcus Lillington: But I realized that actually, I think it was Paul Edwards did give me a recommendation for a new game because one of my favorite games is limbo.

Paul Boag: Yeah. I know.

Marcus Lillington: They've done a new one. I'll try to remember what it's called. Play dead games.

Paul Boag: At the moment. I'm just obsessed with red dead redemption two coming out.

Marcus Lillington: I don't know what crosstalk 00:06:44 that is.

Paul Boag: They've just gone to ridiculous levels of detail in this game. They've been working on it for eight years. My all time favorite Marcus, have I got your attention because you need to hear this one because this is … This just amused me so much. In red dead redemption two, when it gets cold, right? The horses testicles pull up. Seriously.

Marcus Lillington: Contracting because it's cold.

Paul Boag: Exactly. Can you imagine somebody's job it was to create the texture for that and the animation for that. I just think that's got to be the best job in the world ever. So yeah, that amused me.

Marcus Lillington: That's a level of detail. But they probably didn't really need to bother with.

Paul Boag: No, I would. I would tend to agree. But the whole game is a bit like that. So did you find out what the new limbo game is called?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, it's called inside. crosstalk 00:07:43 in the … Matt in the chat rooms got there before me.

Paul Boag: Okay, cool. Good. Anyway, enough of such pointless banter. what's your thought for the day Marcus? Share your profound wisdom with us.

Marcus Lillington: My first thought for the day is go away on Skype Chris. Recording podcast. We're so professional aren't we?

Paul Boag: We are. Shouldn't you have some kind of music behind the thought for the day section. Do they have it on radio for when they have thought for a day, do they not have-

Marcus Lillington: No you're thinking of Simon Bates-

Paul Boag: Confessions, or whatever it was called.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. That was awful, wasn't it?

Paul Boag: Yes.

Marcus Lillington: Tear jerker stories.

Paul Boag: Yes.

Marcus Lillington: We're showing our age, Paul.

Paul Boag: We are. But then you've been married nearly 30 years, so that kind of gave it away that you're pretty old.

Marcus Lillington: Did get married quite young though. Yeah, I'm also a granddad twice. 22, got married … I'm now 51 if you can do the sums.

Paul Boag: Okay, cool. Now what's your thought for the day? I bet with the drone on about the head scape website, again, aren't we?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah, because I can't think of anything else to talk about. Or what we're going to do next season anyway. Yes. More on the head scape sites objectives and user requirements or more put more succinctly what's the down site for, who's using it and what we're using for. We've done these exercises on previous headscape website redesign, so I don't think it's kind of … It's purpose isn't a million miles off even before we'd redesigned it. But it was worth looking at this stuff again. So I'm just going to go through our thinking on firstly, what do we want the site to do? What do we want to achieve for headscape? In a kind of sort of priority order, we want people firstly to get in touch. We want the website to encourage people to get in touch when they have a project. Preferably I'll come onto that in a minute.

We want people to recommend us to their friends and colleagues and I think that's a really important one because we agency mindset is we're speaking to the three people that might be interested in working with us and have a project, but actually it's obviously much wider than that and people just go and check us out because somebody said they might be … Go and look at what these guys have done. They've got no chance … Not chance, crosstalk 00:10:20. Yeah. It would never work those people, but they might recommend us to other people they know. That's a really important one. We want people to understand what we do. That's a really important aspect and this is a really important one. We want people to think that we're good at what we do. Going back to the points about people getting in touch and people recommending this idea when there's a project.

If the friend or the colleague has a project we want to understand … We want people to understand what price level we're at. That's really hard other than saying getting into numbers and things like that. I've never been keen on doing that because I think it can be misleading. You can talk about hourly rates or you can talk about projects, but that could, that could say to somebody, well, your massively complex project is going to cost X when actually it's going to cost X times five. I've never been keen to do that. We have decided that our portfolio, I go and look at the people we worked with, kind of says this is the level we're at. If your … That obviously it doesn't give you a great deal of detail, but it does mean that … Do, do we fit with those kinds of people?

Is our organization similar to theirs? If it's yes, then chances are that we'll be a good fit from a pricing level. There are way more potential … There are way more objectives for the site, but I think they're the important ones. Getting people in touch what we do and showing that we're hopefully pretty good at this kind of thing. Who are our audiences? Audience number one, and this is really the one that we care about the most I guess is people with projects who are looking for an agency and they, as I've already said, relating to the previous point that could be … It could be somebody who knows someone who's got a project, who's looking for an agency. That's audience number one, and then the rest of them are much less important for the website.

Other audiences will be things like existing clients might be checking us out, a new project we've done, prospective staff but we haven't employed anyone for a million years. That's not a particularly important audience. I guess to a certain extent, other people in the industry, but quite what they'd be looking for, I'm not sure.

Paul Boag: Those are the kind of people that potentially could end up recommending you to somebody else.

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. Or competition, checking us out, that kind of thing.

Paul Boag: Do you have a feel as to … I mean obviously the first audience you identified there were people that are potentially going to hide you for a project. Do you have a feel as to whether who those people are? Are they actually the people that are signing off on the project or are they somebody … So for example, in my case, most of the people that come to Boag World are not actually the people that hold the purse strings right? At least not initially. There's kind of two levels to it, there's the people that are coming along that want to know, that are initiating the project and they care about my skills and my capabilities and those kinds of things. Then there's another group that comes along later who are kind of doing their due diligence.

They're the people that actually with the money that just want to check that their subordinate is right in their assessment of me. They're slightly different audiences with slightly different tones that you want to speak to them at. The first audience is much more informal. You're much more sharing best practice Boag world in my case is more for those kinds of people and then a Boag works is more for the people that are doing the due diligence and checking me out for where's my client list, that kind of thing. Does that apply, do you think in your case as well?

Marcus Lillington: A little bit. I think the audiences of somebody who's interested … Somebody that works in the web team for example, who wouldn't necessarily have the say on the budget would be interested in checking us out. Definitely. I mentioned last week that we've been lucky enough to win a couple of projects. One of those projects was definitely the webby person who wanted to work with a company like us who have kind of very strong processes, that kind of thing. Their boss was really more interested in how we can get their brand online, more of a kind of a look and feel kind of thing. A bit of both I suppose. It's also worth saying that I think that within that audience there's another way of kind of splitting them as well. There's people who visit the site who've got some background on us. I.e they've had a recommendation, but there are also people that have no background on us and I've always kind of slightly dismissed those in the past thinking, well, you know, someone who's just found us via a Google search or whatever isn't going to be a good fit, blah, blah blah, blah blah.

But that new client I just mentioned, they found us via a web designed by head scape link on a site they are like.

Paul Boag: Oh really?

Marcus Lillington: They didn't know anything about this at all. That was a bit of an eyeopener about, okay, well there, this was obviously a genuine opportunity, so you need to bear in mind that some people do need … They know nothing about us when they arrive at the site, but I think it's also fair to say that the majority are probably checking us out based on some sort of recommendation. I've gone all over the place on my notes now.

Paul Boag: Sorry. That's because I threw you, didn't I by asking, asking complicated questions.

Marcus Lillington: You know what I'm like, can't be complicated Paul. Almost there. I think that the main task that, that for these users who've got a project, whether they know about it or not, is that they need the site to be some sort of validator. Someone has heard something about us, they're checking us out and the site needs to at least validate what we do and we're good at what we do. The site follows pretty traditional agency model and I think that's a good thing. I think consistency is good. We've changed some of the labels but I'll come onto that probably next week, and also the stats showed us that the main areas of content, so team case studies, what we do, that kind of stuff are the most popular with users, so there was no point in changing them. There are some extra ones. We do offer a blog. We have offered that for a while to show some sort of differentiator … That's kind of coming back to what you were saying about what Boag world offers.

I'm not sure how valuable that is, but I think it's something worth doing for us. It's nowhere near as valuable as it is for you, but I think it's a good thing to encourage us to continue writing about subjects. We're doing stuff at the moment with offline sites which is fairly new stuff. I'm encouraging the guys to talk about that. Whether that means that somebody is going to choose to work with us, I'm not sure.

Paul Boag: Yeah, I mean I think in your case I would tend to, with blogs tend to focus more on here's a project, here's how we went about doing it, here was some of the challenges we were facing. Almost more like a case study really is kind of a case study. It's kind of a case study but more detailed maybe, more breakdown of how you approached it and what technologies you used and how you did the design and that kind of thing.

Marcus Lillington: We tend to focus in on particular … If we find a new process that works, we'll talk about that. Not necessarily about specific project, but we'll talk about doing it with that project. Yeah. But the main extra and I guess this kind of comes back to this trying to cater for people who don't necessarily know is we've created sector specialism pages which we never had before, because we figure that eventually they might become something that people will land on via Google search. I'm in the law sector, I'm looking for people who do web design and law sector. This is hopefully fingers crossed I'm going to end up being something that they might land on. It's going to be really interesting to see how they perform. Because we've done loads of work within law, higher education, charity and heritage, so we thought it would be a good idea to create some pages along those lines.

Paul Boag: I just noticed, I know Andrew in the channel has just said something which I think is really interesting. He's just said to somebody who's recently gone through the tender process, blogs are really useful to figure out what an agency is really like. I agree with that because-

Marcus Lillington: Cool.

Paul Boag: Because they're … A case study is very tailored and very considered and there's been a lot of thought into it. While blogs tend to be more instinctive, more reactive, more representative of the people within the organization, they're not quite so controlled. I think they do give quite good insight. Absolutely. I totally agree with that. Helps us to figure out whether we're a good … They're a good fit for our culture is just added, which is right. You want something like that, somebody who's mentality and working process is as similar to yours, you know, an attitudes are similar to yours.

Marcus Lillington: Cool. Well thank you for that Andrew, because I wasn't sure, but it's … I will be encouraging people more to write, including myself.

Paul Boag: Yeah. Because Andrew would fall very much. Because Andrew works at a university so he would fall very much into the kind of client you want to win as well. Say you've dropped the ball there, Marcus.

Marcus Lillington: No, we haven't dropped the ball Paul. I just wasn't sure of the value, and now I've had it validated back to me of the value.

Paul Boag: User research that isn't it? Right. Okay. So let's talk about our first sponsor. He says minimizing the chat window so he doesn't get pulled into the conversation. That's just kicked off there. Let's talk about Balsamiq. Basically Balsamiq have supported this show for such a long time and I'm so grateful for that. There was an interesting thing that came up recently in terms of I was mentoring a client and one of the challenges that this client was facing is that, he felt constrained by his geography, right, that he was working with local companies. He's in Australia, right and, and you know how far everything apart is in Australia. He was kind of faced with this, this challenge of, of only getting to work with clients in his local area and he wanted to branch out from that. I said well, geography shouldn't constrain, you should be able to work with clients all over Australia or even further afield.

He was going, well, I don't want to travel a lot. I was saying we don't need to travel. But then he was starting to go, well, my working methodology relies very much on work shopping exercises, doing things like crazy eights or six up or stuff like that. How can you recreate those if you're not actually meeting with a client personally, how do you create, discuss and iterate on ideas for design? He was saying we've tried it before and he's ended up having to email approaches back and forth and in this endless delay. That was where I introduced him to Balsamiq and he was aware about something most people are but hadn't really thought about it as a tool that enables you to run effectively. Interactive workshops with clients in real time that you can … You bring them up in Skype or whatever else and then you can use Balsamiq cloud as a way of effectively developing a wire frame, doing a crazy eight exercise or doing a six up exercise or, or just working on wire frames together in real time.

Because a lot of us know I've got in our heads Balsamiq is the desktop app, right? But actually now with a cloud based app, this kind of collaboration is really easy and really good. If that's a problem that you suffer from, if traveling to clients becomes problematic. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of sitting down with clients face to face, but it isn't always practical, especially if budgets are smaller, or if you've got a geographical constraint like this particular mentor did. You can check out Balsamiq cloud by going to You get a 30 day free trial, to give it a go. You can try it out for maybe a few workshops, see how you get on it. I mean it's going to take a bit practice because it is different doing it than doing it face to face. But it does work. Then once you tried your 30 day free trial, you can actually get three months for free when you actually sign up for Balsamiq cloud. If you use the code Boag World alongside your billing information when you create an account.

Marcus Lillington: I'm going to try that Paul, because we've had … Most of the projects we do, we do kick off with face to face projects. Yeah, multiple ones. But we have … It is usually for budget constraint reasons. Sometimes you can't do it and there are a nightmare trying to do workshop exercises remotely. Like I remember one we did with a client where people from all around the world, you know, Brazil, Canada, Australia. It was like pulling teeth, but if you'd had this kind of thing that you could focus on, that would have really helped.

Paul Boag: Good. Excellent. Right. Okay. Let's get into our, our topics for this week. It's a bit an eclectic mix this week. We're going to look at two different areas as part of our season on conversion rate optimization. The first one we're going to look at is the idea of appreciation, right? Actually showing your users that you appreciate and care about them.

Marcus Lillington: Like you do with me Paul. Oh No, it's not. It's the other way, isn't it?

Paul Boag: You're not a user. I don't care about you. I'm never going to get money out of you. Actually, that's not true. I do get money out of you because you pay me a nice little dividend at the end of every year if you've been successful, which is very nice of you.

Marcus Lillington: I'll take all that back or be nice. Keep saying it. Be nice.

Paul Boag: Well, I mean in some ways you feel like you shouldn't even be discussing this because it should be just kind of common courtesy that you're nice to your customers. But it feels like, in my experience that most customers feel pretty under appreciated by companies, don't they?. I think about the companies that I buy from and you do feel that they're actually value, they're more interested in just extracting as much cash from you as they possibly can. It does open up a lot of opportunities then. If you are that company that really does appreciate its customers and lets them know how much they're appreciated, that is an opportunity to really differentiate yourself in the marketplace and to stand out. You know, those customers that do … Those companies that do go above and beyond. It's really good.

It's like the difference between going into a restaurant where your waiter is really chatty and really nice and really pleasant and one that just brings you the food. They both deliver what it is that they're supposed to deliver, but one of them creates a much more pleasant experience in the process.

Marcus Lillington: crosstalk 00:26:57 though, don't you think?

Paul Boag: Why is that?

Marcus Lillington: You got be really careful with that. Because the overly chatty, overly Smiley crosstalk 00:27:05 put a smiley on the bill waiter just gets on my nerves. You mustn't do overdo it. You need to be sincere. Sincerity is everything.

Paul Boag: Yeah, absolutely. But also this is a really tricky one as well because of culture of course, because you know, that really happy smiley person that goes over the top in America would be fine, right? In Britain, it really wouldn't. Because then you end up thinking they just want to tip and we're because we're such a cynical nation of miserable gips basically. We just presume people are … Yeah, you're right. It's all about sincerity, isn't it? It's all about, being sincere. Now, the interesting thing with it, however … You should be doing it for sincere reasons, absolutely, but you've also got to sell this idea internally, right? You've got to convince managers that putting a bit of effort into making customers feel appreciated is worthwhile, so you have to effectively put a business case behind it. Putting a business case behind being a nice person is not particularly easy.

There is one thing that you can latch onto in order to help convince people. That is this psychological principle of reciprocation. Right now. Reciprocation is the idea that if we … If we receive something right, that is unsolicited, we want then to give back, right? We feel indebted to that person and so we then want to return and equal out that indebtedness. I could give you an example of what I mean. MailChimp right, is my email provider. I send out my newsletter via MailChimp and I've been a customer of MailChimp for absolutely years. I, one day out of the blue received a package from MailChimp with a, I don't know if I've got it handy, I haven't, with a silly little wooly hat in all. All right. This kind of willy hand was in the shape of that. They're kind of character that's Freddy the ChiMp. It just had a little handwritten note in it that said, thanks for being an awesome customer or something like that. I can't remember the exact words. It was like, oh, that's really nice.

That really showed me that I was appreciated. The fact that the note was hand written was an extra bonus and it was just lovely. It was a lovely thing to do. There was no call to action in it. There was no. Now upgrade to our business accounts for 20% off. There was nothing like that. It was just a thank you. Immediately, not only does that create a warm fuzzy feeling in me, it also immediately made me want to reciprocate. I shoved the hat or my teenage son much to his disgust, took a picture of him and posted it onto Twitter, thanking MailChimp for their gift. Right? That was my way of reciprocating. Now the great thing about that from a MailChimp business point of view is I've just promoted MailChimp to 46,000 people.

All right, because that's how many followers I've got. That's the kind of business benefit of reciprocation, but it, it's really important you don't confuse reciprocation with an incentive, right? Let me explain briefly what the difference is. What MailChimp did was a reciprocation, was triggering reciprocation because they sent me the hat unconditionally, with nothing around it. It was just a gift, right? However, if when I was going through the purchase process for MailChimp and it said something like, "Sign up today and get a free hat." Right, that would be an incentive. Okay. Because what happens is, when I'm, I'm, making that purchase I then factor the Hat in as part of the purchase. It becomes a part of the transaction. Okay? That's a very different thing. Incentives do work as a way of incentivizing people to sign up, but it won't create that sense of reciprocation.

That sense that you're indebted and you want to give back because you just figure it's a part of the cost. Does that make sense Marcus, I'm I explaining this All right?

Marcus Lillington: Totally. Yes.

Paul Boag: Okay, cool. Actually doing little things like I'm offering free gifts or thank you's or that kind of stuff. Really, really good thing that said I'm shit at doing it. I'm terrible at doing it with my clients. I know I should do it, but I never do. Now you do need to be a little bit careful sometimes because with some organizations that can cross a line with those organizations. For example, a government bodies, they have to declare if they've received any gifts because it could be seen as manipulative behavior or bribery or whatever. Even in situations like that, there are other ways of making people feel appreciated.

Little things like just thanking people, makes such a difference. That handwritten note that came with the MailChimp thing. It had no monetary value, but it meant a lot to me. I will always do this on websites as well. One of the websites that I run, you can barely call it a website really because it was just thrown together in Squarespace, but, I support a charity called Hopa Bethesda that helps girls in India get educated. Well not just girls actually, but rural people in rural India who don't get very good education. It helps that. I run their website, On that website when someone clicks to make a monthly donation, right? They said, oh, I'm going to make a monthly donation. They've clicked on the monthly donation or even the one off donation for it.

They're taken to a page where they then have to select the amount they want to give. But the first thing I do on that page is actually thank people for being willing to make a donation. Right? They haven't done it yet. Then haven't finished it, but I thanked them straight away. Now the reason that I do that, A nice but B, it also encourages them to follow through and finish what they've done. Right? The reason for that is because of something called the commitment bias, right? If we are seen to start something, we then feel obliged to commit and to finish doing it. Because we like to people to perceive us as being consistent in our behavior. Right? If we start doing something, we want to finish doing it, if we're seen to be doing it. Now you could say, well, just putting up a message thanking us isn't any.

Nobody is seeing me do that. Right? But this is where a really weird thing happens. We don't actually have to really be observed in order to trigger that behavior in us. There was a brilliant scientific experiment which proved this exact point, right? What happened was, is in an office, there was an honesty jaw. Okay? When people took tea or coffee, they had to put some money in the honesty jar basically to pay for the tea and coffee in the future, but people weren't doing it. A set of researchers, because this was actually in a university. Psychology researchers decided to do this experiment and the experiment was, they would put up a picture above the honesty jar, right? One day the picture would show … Or what week I think it was, they did it a week at a time.

One week it was, they would show a set of eyes, right and then the next week just some flowers, something very neutral. They discovered, and they ran this over a series of months. They discovered that, when you put the eyes there, when people thought … There was just this inclination, this indication, they were being watched, the amount of donations that went into the honesty jar jumped. Actually even just thanking people is enough to encourage them to follow through and what they're doing. You see what I'm getting at?

Marcus Lillington: Yeah. I mean, we've got … We work for the REF Benevolent Fund as did you a few back. We adopted the idea of thanking people throughout the process. You did the wire framing, if I remember rightly.

Paul Boag: Yes I did. Yeah.

Marcus Lillington: It's still there and we have redesigned that donation form and tweaked it and changed it. It's almost completely different to whatever you wire framed, but that thank you is still there. It works basically.

Paul Boag: Absolutely, it's good to know my bullshit actually is true. Who knew that?

Marcus Lillington: There you go through a real example, Paul, you can add.

Paul Boag: There we go lovely jubbly, the only … And then the last thing I wanted to say on this whole kind of appreciating users, is actually listening to them and taking on board what they've got to say. I do this all the time. About this show for example. I listened to what people like or dislike, what they struggle with, what they find hard and I don't act on absolutely everything people say. Otherwise we would cut out all the waffle that's at the beginning of every show, but you still take on board comments and actually reply to people. I get stuff back all the time from people, different forms of feedback and I always take the time to reply even if I'm replying by saying, okay, but we're not going to be doing that.

I still interact with them. That kind of stuff is so important that people don't feel like they're screaming into the dark, they feel like they're appreciated, they feel like they have some kind of connection and influence with people.

Marcus Lillington: I have to crosstalk 00:38:26 at this point.

Paul Boag: Go on then.

Marcus Lillington: crosstalk 00:38:32 Yeah. Yes, basically. What's … I've learned about this on the show before, if this is my, it's my platform where I can have this complaint. 50% of my job is responding to a request for proposals, invitations to tender, that kind of thing. We put a fair amount of work into these, sometimes quite a lot of work. You're never going to win them all. We know that, that's just life, but probably one in five that many.

Paul Boag: Don't even bother coming back. Sorry.

Marcus Lillington: Yes. That's it. Thank you Paul, because there's no point in drawing this out, but nothing.

Paul Boag: I know, it's so rude.

Marcus Lillington: You'll chase it with specific questions about can you just help me out on this one? No problem. Good luck with the project. You know, you've obviously chosen to go with somebody else and they were good for whatever reason. It will be good to know where we were lacking, all of this kind of thing and nothing at all. All just, yeah, that feels rude, doesn't it?

Paul Boag: One of the things Paul in the chat room is saying that, he would prefer, rather than being thanked, during the process, he just wants that process to be as quick and easy as possible. I actually do completely agree with him that things like reciprocation, appreciation, those kinds of things. They are … If you haven't got the fundamentals right, if you, if you haven't got an easy to use clean website, these are nice to haves and I often think of a website, almost like a pyramid where you've got to have the foundations of the pyramid and the foundation of the pyramid are things like it's got to be accessible, it's got to be relevant, it's got to be usable before you start worrying about all this fancy stuff like appreciation and things like that. Paul, you are absolutely right. And I 100% agree with you.

Marcus Lillington: Sorry, just one more point on the thank you on the REFPF site. It has two jobs it does, the thank you, make you feel the way that you were describing pool, but it also states back to you made this selection. It's doing two jobs at once.

Paul Boag: Yes, absolutely. Yeah. It's not … Because as a danger it turns into a happy talk, it's not got any real value to it. Yeah, getting it to work hard on getting you a copy to work hard is something you should always be doing. Right. Let's talk about Fullstory. Our second sponsor. Again, that has been a longtime sponsor of this show. We really appreciate the loyalty we get from our sponsors. Makes a big difference, makes my life a lot easier because I don't have to constantly look for new sponsors. Fullstory is the session recorder. If you haven't come across session recorders before, they are an absolutely a valuable tool in a designer's arsenal to give you a broad at what's going on with your product. I'm using them more and more, especially with this, as I'm optimizing the landing page for the masterclass that goes along with the season.

I'm using session recordings a lot to understand what's going on and how people are thinking. Don't get me wrong, nothing ever is going to beat the visceral personal understanding that you get from usability testing. But equally you get that from … You get a degree of that from session recorders as well. There's nothing like watching real users interact with your life pages. There's nothing false about it. It's entirely real. Session recorders enable you to uncover UX issues, let's you uncover general design issues that can't be sussed out using any other technique really. They won't discover them even from, from a user interviews or analytics. These are things that you can only get. They're really, really, really useful. Okay, so why Fullstory in particular? Well, Fullstory offers the highest fidelity session replays that are available because it indexes every single event on the page and you can search and segment based on any action.

You can see if users furiously rage click a particular button or you can see how many people have interacted with a certain element. It's all just there. You get insights. Fullstory, provides insights that are invaluable. You can search on different things and that kind of stuff is absolutely brilliant. You can sign up today and get a free month of the pro account. No need to enter a credit card. They'll let you continue to use the service absolutely free after you have the pro account up to a thousand users sessions per month, which is a perfect example of appreciation really of just giving people a tool that's really useful. You can find out more and do all of that by going to Right. The second area I wanted to briefly touch on, although I've spent far too long on the first area, is reducing risk.

This is a really important one when it comes to encouraging conversion. Is actually to reduce the risks that create barriers to purchasing. To give you some ideas of the common things that people worry about. If you want them to sign up to a newsletter they worry about privacy, right? If you want them to enter credit card information they worry about security. When newsletter sign up again, they get irritated by spam, so they're worried about that kind of thing. They're also ways on the alert for hidden costs. Always am I going to get stung with something later on that I wasn't expecting. The biggest one is those what if scenarios, what if I change my mind, can I get my money back, you know, all of those kinds of things. For example, if you have … What you need to do is address as many of these concerns as possible. For example, with my master class that I'm doing at the moment, well let's take with my newsletter I make a point of saying, you know, I never share your email address with anyone else. I'm only going to email you once every other week.

I'm make it very, very clear about those kinds of things. I've got a privacy policy on my site that talks about security and how I hold in for all of the people's information. With the master class page I give people a 365 day unconditional return policy. If they feel that the course isn't helpful where it hasn't solved anything from them, then they could just get their money back and walk away. It's really important to address those concerns. Obviously the most logical thing to do is if possible, reduce and remove those risks entirely. For example, the risk of what if I changed my mind is completely removed with my master class because you know, you can just get your money back, but also even if you can't always remove a problem, you can certainly make it easier for people to find the answers.

I've been in usability test sessions where someone has gone, oh, I'm really worried about the delivery charge. Are they going to stick me with delivery? You tell the client this afterwards and they get really exasperated because, well we say it on our site. There's this whole section in the frequently asked question section that says we offer free packaging and returns both ways and, there are no hidden delivery charges, etc. But if the user isn't seeing that, then that's no good. Often the problem is that those concerns aren't being addressed where the call to action is happening. It doesn't say free deliveries on the product listing page or it doesn't say on the shopping basket page, it just says it in an FAQ section where people aren't looking also with things like security.

The other one that I see all the time is that they don't use language that people can actually understand or associate with. For example, when we were working on Wiltshire farm foods back in the day. On the checkout page, we were displaying the verisign logo, right. To show people that the site was secure, but the audience didn't understand that. On a hunch, we decided to replace that with a padlock and a sentence saying, your data is as safe as it would be with a bank or I can't remember the words we use. It caused a 6% increase in conversion. Using those kinds of .. Go on.

Marcus Lillington: That has kind of highlighted one of my sort of personal bug bears. This insistence on what's the right icon for this process or whatever. When just use words. Yes. It's kind of like we've got this wonderful code that people use that they understand what it means when you use it and it's called words. We had this conversation yesterday, because we're doing all this offline type stuff, service worker related stuff and it's like … Ed was saying, what do you think is the right icon to show some something as being offline? I said, well your offline maybe and it's kind of like, well that's going to tell people more quickly than any icon, possibly. Sure associated icon with it and it might become this thing that gets used consistently across the world and then you can replace it with that thing. But for now use words. People understand them.

Paul Boag: Totally agree. Couldn't agree more with that. The final thing you can do to, to reduce risks that we're facing is to put the user in control. A lot of people's perception of risk isn't necessarily based on reality. A lot of what feels risky is down to I'm not in control of this situation. An order process is a … No, let's pick something else. Let's take, for example, signing up for a web design service, right? Signing up to work with heads scape, one of the risks of that is that people don't understand what the process will be. They don't understand what will happen, so they feel out of control with that experience. If your website at some point actually explains what we tend to do, a discovery phase up front, and then this happens and then that happens and the other happens, then people feel a sense of control that they know what they're going.

Marcus, are you writing notes down? Have I actually inspired you to create new content for the head scape site? No.

Marcus Lillington: Doodling.

Paul Boag: You're doodling. Thanks. Thanks.

Marcus Lillington: No problem. It was taken on board though. It's in there.

Paul Boag: That's it. I'm done with this show. I give up now. I'll ask to you. Actually, that was the last point I wanted to make. Yeah, in, in conclusion, make sure that you are doing everything you can to reduce risk and actually sit down at the beginning of a project and think what in this experience is going to feel risky and scary to users so that you can address it. Actually in that book I mentioned right at beginning of the show, the making websites win, one of the things that they suggested, that book, which I actually love, is to create a list of objections which is very similar to writing a list of risks. Write a list of objections that people might have, things that might put them off and then write a list of counter objections. How should you respond to that and how should you deal with that. Really good piece of advice that I recommend that everybody does when they're creating a website.

Okay. There have been debates and guesses in the chat room as to what your joke will be. Did anybody get it right?

Marcus Lillington: Yes, but I've changed my mind because Kat pointed out another joke that I missed from the bad jokes channel, which I absolutely love. This is from David Phillips. Not knowing about Greek mythology is my achilles horse.

Paul Boag: Actually that is really good. I like that one a lot. I have to avoid the bad joke channel. I never look in there because otherwise by the time you tell … Yeah, when you tell the joke on the show, I've already heard it. That's not good. Okay. That is a good one to … Sorry, don't get distracted by the chat room. That's a good one to end on. Thank you very much Marcus for that. Thank you everybody who's joined us live on the show and for those that are listening to it as well. I'm hoping that we now have got the chat room a little bit more under control so that, I'm not getting too distracted by them and their constant attempts to derail me. If you want to know more about the masterclass because that book is good, but it's not as good as the masterclass, let's be honest. If you want to check out the masterclass, you can do so by going to But know that if you do, I am watching you with session recorders.

If you don't then buy. Now other people are going to go to that page and do really weird things just to freak me out and to confuse me, aren't they. Nevermind. Thank you very much for listening and goodbye.

Thanks to Ammily CP from Shutterstock for allowing me to use this image.