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A competition flash
2010-06-23: As you may have noticed, I've created a free competition to win holiday accommodation for two for a week in Scarborough.
I thought I'll just put up an icon to draw people to the competition page, so I made a sunshine shape and put it on the top header of the page.
Win a holiday promotion flash
Result? The bounce rate became 71% worse (the bounce rate is the percentage of people who arrive and leave immediately).
Can't be right, surely. But it stayed at that level, so I removed the promotion flash and the bounce rate returned to normal, the average time a visitor spent on the site rose 68% back to normal.
So, contradicting what I said in the previous post, I think one place where graphics works (or doesn't) is in that first impression moment.
That sunshine flash isn't 'bad' graphically, but I think what's wrong is it's bad from a brand point of view. So this is interesting .. I say that's a branding error, not a graphic design error.
My theory about what went wrong here is that we moved from portraying The Paragon as a quality B&B with great service and a beautiful view to looking like a market stall, and trying to give away our rooms to anyone who will take them.
There's also an issue about 'nagging', that flash is trying to take your attention on every page. It's distracting. People don't like that.
Visitors need to form their first impression consistent with our brand before they learn about our prize draw, so the links to that page are now embedded in the text at appropriate moments.
Other than that it's going really well.
If you have a different theory about this, do let me know and I might follow up with another blog entry.

By John Allsopp
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