Does scaring users help an e-commerce site?

23 Jul 2009 - 4:23am
5 years ago
6 replies
916 reads
Batyah Rubin
2009

I am doing freelance user interface design for an e-commerce web site
which sells protection products against a certain insect.

I strongly recommend that the company avoid using scary pictures of
the insect on their site. I feel the user is already in a state of
panic and that these scare tactics do not promote sales. If the user
sees a picture of the scary bug, I expect it would add to the user's
stress, cause him/her to close the site and look else where for a
'soothing' solution.

1. Do you agree with my claim?
2. Does anyone know where I can find research to back up my claim?

Many thanks,
Batyah

Comments

23 Jul 2009 - 4:37am
Matthew Niederberger
2009

Hi Batyah,

I think your claim is correct. According to research your client
should try to reassure the visitor by telling them that their
solution will keep them safe, protect them and basically solve their
problem. By creating a sense of "comfort" and "reassurance" I
think your client will stand a better chance of selling their
product.

Like you stated, the visitor is there for a reason. If a kid is
scared of something you don't go rub it in as a parent, no you make
the child feel safe and secure. It is with these emotions your client
should win the hearts and minds of the visitors.

I don't have insect examples, but Identity Theft is a hot topic. Try
looking at how http://www.lifelock.com/ acknowlegdes the problem, the
fear, but talks more about the safety of their solution. Good luck.

Take care,
Matthew

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23 Jul 2009 - 5:05am
gMulder
2009

Hi,
I agree also. Those stressful pictures would only make sense if you
needed to make people aware of a problem. Given that they do not need
to do that - that the insect is a problem for the target group appears
like a given fact - what you want to do is provide a solution. You
don't show pictures of car crashes when selling an insurance... or
do you?
Cheers
Günther

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23 Jul 2009 - 4:50am
MediaMetrics India
2009

Hi Batyan Rubin,

Even though i dont have very concrete statistics to prove my answer
here, i strongly feel what your thought is right. I follow that for
most of my design work for my clients.

I basically work on the method of Web Analogy or solution based
system. In that context i feel you are right, i would advise that
you can take the design in solution oriented communication. I feel
for products like what you are doing, people would be interested to
see how its getting them protected and what are things that would be
useful as precaution using this product and mainly they would like to
see some good pictures and videos of happy life without those infects.

These are just points that i feel would be extremely useful while we
are tracking about user perception at the time of visually seeing the
website. I always like to measure that as one of the key things of
user experience.

I can share more information about my works if you need you can write
to me at sales at mediametrics.co.in

Sathish Sampath
www.sathishsampath.com
www.mediametrics.co.in

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jul 2009 - 8:35am
Alla Zollers
2008

Hi,

I think you intuition on this is totally spot on. If you want to try
to convince your clients to go with the "soothing" solution, I
would recommend putting two mockups in front of a few people. One
scary one and one not, and get their reactions to it on video. Then
show the video to your clients, and I am pretty sure they will be
convinced in no time :) The video helps because its not YOU telling
them what they should do, but rather reactions of real potential
customers.

Good luck!
Alla

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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23 Jul 2009 - 9:02am
Scott McDaniel
2007

Just more anecdotal stuff:
I'm a mild arachnophobe.
A few years ago, there was some product or service - I forget if it was
insurance, financial services or whatever -
where they'd have magazine ads involving a big, hairy spider designed to
look like it was sitting on the page of the magazine.
It showed up in at least 3 different magazines to which I subscribed and the
convulsions and swearing that would
happen when I came upon such a page is only comical now years later.

They later moved to a cartoonish spider, but it was only marginally better.
My girlfriend took to making post-its with cartoon pigs on them to cover up
the spiders.

If I ever find out what company this was, I will make sure I never offer
them my money in any form.
I would have written a letter, but I couldn't look at the ads long enough to
figure out who they were.
And I was afraid they'd mail a spider to me in reply.

Scott

On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 10:23 PM, Batyah Rubin <rubin.batyah at gmail.com>wrote:

> I am doing freelance user interface design for an e-commerce web site
> which sells protection products against a certain insect.
>
> I strongly recommend that the company avoid using scary pictures of
> the insect on their site. I feel the user is already in a state of
> panic and that these scare tactics do not promote sales. If the user
> sees a picture of the scary bug, I expect it would add to the user's
> stress, cause him/her to close the site and look else where for a
> 'soothing' solution.
>
> 1. Do you agree with my claim?
> 2. Does anyone know where I can find research to back up my claim?
>
> Many thanks,
> Batyah
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

--
"You always have the carny connection." - Clair High

23 Jul 2009 - 2:53pm
Anonymous

There is a classic business case from years back in which a company
that marketed insect repellent ran some focus groups and asked people
from their core target audience to draw a picture that showed their
feelings about insect infestation. Some of the pictures, later used
for creating the subsequent ad campaign, showed people using the
spray from the can to literally kill the insects: it wasn't enough
that the chemicals could kill the bugs - they wanted to be in control
of the process and use the spray to beat the little buggers into
submission. This illustrated that users weren't satisfied with a
"passive" use of the product. They wanted to be in control and
feel safe, as pointed out in an earlier post.
-David

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=44020

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