When Subtraction Adds Value
Sometimes the winning variation of a page is one in which you haven't added anything at all but in fact removed elements from the page. We have seen many teams improve conversion metrics simply by adhering to the design mantra “Less is more.” The products of this approach—simpler pages, shorter forms, and fewer choices—can make a very big difference.
In Chapter 2 we discussed one of the most significant tests we ran with the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund: adding an image and shifting to a two-column layout.
Another one of our hypotheses had to do with the actual donation form itself. When you're asking the user to take an action, every bit of effort counts, and so we wanted to look at the form to see if there was any way we could streamline the user's experience. We noticed that the Foundation had included fields for “phone number” and “title,” hoping down the road to be able to use this information, possibly to make phone solicitations. The fact was, however, that the Foundation was stretched so thin that it wasn't actually calling anyone, so this additional information being requested of users wasn't being put to use. We hypothesized that getting rid of these two optional fields, even if it came at the cost of some potentially useful data, would be more than made up for by added donations in virtue of the simpler form (Figure 4.1).