Seven – Digital Marketing

Internet guru Seth Godin, says: “If you have more than seven items in a pull down list, you have failed.” I don’t think he’s wrong particularly when he applies this to drop down lists; it’s worth reading [read Seth’s blog here].

There is undeniably something about seven…

I won’t go into a numerology debate, but it is undeniably true that if a drop down list on a web site contains more than about seven items, it’s too long. I know, you can’t help if you have to list every possible country that might be purchasing from you but making someone search for the UK under U, on a web site that sells predominantly to the UK, is just plain daft. Similarly if I’m trying to buy the company’s best selling line – a ladder- then should I have to trawl through an alphabetical listing of access equipment to get to it?

It’s all about something that I keep banging on about – and for which I make no apology. Put yourself into your customers’ shoes and just take a look at your public profile. If your web site is littered with occurrences of more than seven choices, do something about it.

About Nick Pauley

is the founder and managing director of Pauley Creative. Aside from managing the strategic direction of Pauley Creative, Nick is primarily involved in the early planning and marketing direction of each of Pauley Creative’s fabulous clients. Follow Nick on Twitter click here.

One Response to “Seven – Digital Marketing”

  1. Pritesh Patel

    Me again.

    Excellent topic. One which i have not seen covered.

    It’s all about usability and creating a user friendly approach to you website. You are quite right in that ‘why do i need to select U.K. from the bottom of the list?’

    Now these drop down boxes commonly appear on ‘checkout’ pages or as we like to call them ‘conversion’ pages. These pages are very important, make it complicated or too long and you could wave bye-bye to your buyer. Conduct an A/B test to see if the conversion rate is higher for a page with a drop down box or a simple ‘auto-fill’ field and measure which page does well or not so well at converting customers. Also measure the time it takes to land on that page to the time they press ‘next’ or ‘submit’. Which form or page is quicker? Remember make it nice, simple and quick for the user.

    Some businesses offer a large quantity of products and have to resort to listing all of their products in a drop down box. Wrong!

    Look at which products are popular (top content or landing pages) and just list those within the drop down box. Top 5 or 7 at the most and call it ‘Quick Browse’ or ‘Hot products’ or ‘Most Popular’. As for all the other products use internal links to get users to those product pages but don’t over do it.

    Bottom line: Put your customers shoes on and ask yourself, can I get to what I want in 3 clicks? If yes then great. If no then go do some A/B testing, multivariate testing and improve the usability of your site.


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