Gmail's Big-Ass Button

The world of how to balance usability with tasteful design and also conversion optimization is a constantly fascinating one. It's an area where one can run a lot of creative tests and have a lot of experience but still end up surprised at which test one, yet one often consistent theme is how often it helps to really create as much intuitiveness and simplicity as possible... i.e. to the degree that what might seem boring, ugly or rude from the producer's perspective is actually needed from the user perspective. One of a Web marketer's hardest jobs is to practice learning to get over themselves - and to learn to trust both indirect and direct intelligence (site/ad-side reporting, industry benchmarks, statistics and other data) - in striving to find "what works." With very, very few exceptions... you are not your audience and you never will be, so you realistically only can have so much instinct for how to put yourself in their shoes.

Case in point: One thing that took me a long time to warm up to was the idea that users often need big-ass buttons, as a very clear way to keep their eyes on the desired action. Personally I find large buttons easily gaudy, yet time and again marketers produce test results showing that they can make a world of difference.

Check out the latest update to Gmail's main page. Even if you're a long-time Gmail user just looking to look up your stuff, you simply can't help but notice that the main thing that's on Google's mind here, in this test that they're running, is the importance of driving acquisitions:

Gmail's Big-Ass Button

Google is a great behemouth in terms of how much data they have at their disposal, to help them make smart design decisions, so count on this being a pretty calculated experiment on their part... (and if you're like I used to be and are still holding dogma against big buttons - welcome to the club of the respectively schooled).

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