What happens if you know that your company could instantly increase conversions by a million a year, but you know that most of your valued employees will be upset and potentially leave the company. What would you do? Would you stay calm and find options to find something that would satisfy both parties, business goals and your employees? Would you implement the changes in the meantime or wait until the team is in alignment?

Optimization managers have to make decisions like this all the time when testing ideas. It is a good idea to test ideas that you think will increase conversions and some ideas that won’t. That way you can insure that your thinking aligns with what your web traffic is doing. Through a happen stance way, the font Comic Sans was tested on article pages on one of our websites. It increase conversions by 80%. That number is hard to ignore, but the polarizing effects of the test were immediate. Not only was a majority of the employees unhappy that the font could be used to represent their work, but many of them threatened to leave.

So this brings up an interesting scenario, who do you listen to? The web traffic that is supporting your company with conversions, or the people that work everyday to insure that the company runs smoothly? To answer this I want to go back to my UX approach. Who are the users? What are the business goals? And where can we find the common ground to make a decision to move both parties forward?

So looking at the business goals, this seems like a no brainer. Business goals are to increase revenue and decrease overhead costs. Changing the font is an easy change from a resource stand point. It takes the developer maybe an hour to change fonts across the site and QA to make sure that things are not broken across the page templates being used. Of course in depth QA will still have to be done, but this would happen with any new change to the site, so opportunity costs wash out.

So what about the users? Well that can be a tricky one depending on who you consider users of the site. Web traffic can be transient, many people visit one or two pages and then leave. Return visits are infrequent to this site and are only a small percentage of what first impression traffic is. So knowing that it feels like conversions are really based on what is presented on a page at the time of the first impression. So pushing the font to capture as many conversion as you can while searching for a way to not lose you employees starts to sound like a good decision. But maybe we need to think a little farther ahead.

Who are the real users that we are worried about here? Are they the ones that are barely using the site or the employees that use the site everyday? It seems to me that the people that know how the site works and are actively pushing content and monitoring site health are the users that we need to really be listening to. I understand that conversions might not be as strong as they could be, but remember our business goal of reducing overhead. If even one low level employee decides to leave and needs to be replaced, then cost of operation just went up. Finding a replacement for an employee is time consuming and expensive.

So with that in mind I would view the best course of action is to test out font choices that have similar attributes as Comic Sans. Find out the attributes that the web traffic responds to the best and then use that as a starting point to transition the site brand to. Doing all of this as A/B tests will help to minimize costs, both in terms of lost conversions for ideas that don’t work but also in terms of how current employees view the permanence of each suggested change. After several iterations, the team should come to an agreeable place while still seeing an increase in conversions.

I will continue to add to this post as the test develops. As always I hope that you enjoyed this post. Please feel free to email me at steve@thinkerro.com if you would like to chat more about UX and UI design. Thanks!

Written by Steve Erro

I am a designer that is interested in how design, humans, and business interact with one another. I currently live and work in San Diego.

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