Calls to action are what drive user traffic where you want it to go. It can make or break a site to have great, or poor, calls to action; unclear directions can send users in any direction, but most likely, it will be away from your site entirely. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your Calls to Action stand out, take charge, and do the job, all without being as obnoxious as we’re sure you’ve seen on sites in the past. Here are a few ideas on how you can add some extra horsepower to your calls to action, many of which are simple to implement.
- Add visual variety. In this case, we’re not referring so much to the shape of the buttons, or the font, but more on the colors themselves. Contrasted colors give users a better idea of which option they want to consider, and what they may want to keep in mind. A blue button couched with a red button can look great if you want one call to action, in blue, to be the contemplating or researching option, while the red option is more of the impulsive, “get it now” call. These contrasts can all be based on the way that we feel about color psychologically, and often are in fact, and should be utilized intelligently in your design.
- Keep it simple. If in doubt, consider that your buttons usually exist in negative space; there are certain cases where that won’t be true, such as the rising trend of “Ghost Buttons” which can be placed on background images or hero images and themselves use negative space in both their borders and fonts, but for the most part, you will be dealing with a visual island on a white screen. That being said, simple calls to action buttons do look great, as long as they aren’t gaudily designed. Stay away from bezels and pseudo-3D “bubble” looks. Flat design is popular for a reason, and that reason is often the clean, crisp look of those colors against a white field without any fancy gimmicks.
- Manage your flow. When you place your calls to action, they rarely exist in a vacuum. Often times they are accompanied by images. Whether those are banner images, or they’re images of a product that you’re trying to sell, the flow of the user’s line of sight is often the best way to design your Calls to Action to actually be heeded. Pay particular attention to images of people looking into directions; point them toward your Calls to Action, not away.
With the right touch, you can ensure that your Calls to Action won’t be ignored, which is where a lot of sites tend to make big mistakes. Heat maps and traffic pattern analyzing tools can give you a great idea of how long it takes a user to click on a call to action; check them out for yourself, and study your own site’s performance.