UX Expert Ian Everdell on CRO Failure, Warm & Fuzzy Orange Buttons, and Craving for Chicago Pizza

Editor’s Note: With Conversion Conference Chicago just around the corner, we thought it’s about time you get to know more about our speakers. From this day until the conference, we’ll be featuring a speaker and their answers to conversion and event-related questions.

You can join in and engage our speakers in pre-conference networking by sending in your own questions through email, Twitter, or our Facebook Wall. Big thanks to @In4mationHQ and @gtslawfirm for sending in their question (see question no. 2). Just like them, you too can have your burning questions for our speakers answered and featured here!

Your wait is almost over – it’s just two weeks till the first Conversion Conference in Chicago!

Today we’re introducing you to Ian Everdell, currently the manager of User Experience & Research at Mediative, where he manages several key accounts and leads the company’s ongoing research projects to better understand search, buyer behaviour, mobile, and user experience.  Ian has an impressive background in neuroscience and eye-tracking – so if you’re looking to pick some brain (either of your customers or that of a user experience and usability expert), you should add Ian to your list.

And here’s something you probably don’t know about Ian: He has made it his personal crusade to point out bad web forms and he also writes about how to avoid them (which increases his awesomeness factor in our eyes).

Here’s Ian Everdell on the most challenging aspect of CRO for newbies, his favorite conversion color, his excitement about neuroscience and the human brain, and that one place he will be visiting in Chicago:

1) What do you think is the biggest challenge encountered by folks who are new to conversion rate optimization?

There are the standard challenges of choosing a tool, getting it implemented, figuring out what to test first… but I think the biggest one most people face is the fear that their first test won’t go well. The test might fail completely, or it might just not show any improvement over the control version. It’s easy then to think “I don’t know what I’m doing” or “this optimization thing isn’t for me” and throw in the towel. 

But that’s what CRO is all about – trying things out to see if they work or not. Sometimes they won’t, and we have to learn from those tests and move on. Don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to fail!

2) What’s your favorite color for encouraging conversion? Why?***

Orange for a button – there are lots of case studies showing that orange converts better because it makes visitors feel warm and fuzzy inside. 

Blue for a text link – sounds boring and old school, but it works. Google and Bing both tested dozens of shades of blue to figure out which was the best one for their search results.


There’s no single answer here. You are not everyone else, and there’s always an exception to the rule. It’s important to consider what fits in with your brand, what matches with (but still stands out from) the rest of your design, the mood you’re trying to create with your visitor… so you can start with what works most of the time, but you should still test to make sure.

3) Which speaker(s) are you most excited to hear, beside yourself, at Conversion Conference Chicago?

I’m looking forward to hearing Tim Ash, Susan Weinschenk, Philip Klien, Jim Hudson, and Brian Massey – their talks are all focused on neuroscience, psychology and the people who are potentially converting. So much of what goes into successful conversion rate optimization is knowing who your potential customers are and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Brains are awesome!

4) What’s your favorite Chicago hangout? Why?

I’ve only been to Chicago a couple of times, and I like to try new places when I go. This time around, I want to hit up the Chicago Pizza & Over Grinder Co. near Lincoln Park. I saw their pizza pot pie on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” and knew I had to go!

Got a question for Ian that can’t wait till the Conference? Post it on the comments section below, tweet it to us, or post it on our wall and we’ll make sure he gets it.


About Ian

With a background in neuroscience and computer science, Ian brings his knowledge of human behavior, human-computer interaction, and web design to the Service Delivery and Research team. As a Research Analyst and Usability Consultant, he is able to combine his skills in eye tracking, experimental design, and statistical analysis with his desire to provide clients with usability testing results that are both reliable and actionable. Ian enjoys the challenges of making interfaces as user-friendly as possible. Ian focuses his expertise on improving landing page experiences and conversion paths to maximize conversion potential and total campaign performance.

See Ian Live!

Ian will be talking about key behavioral nuances that exist in the mobile environment at Conversion Conference 2012 on June 25th and 26th in Chicago. Join him in his session on “Small Screens, Big Conversions: Insights on Mobile Behavior.” See the full agenda and read more about this session. Follow Ian on Twitter to say hello and do some pre-conference networking.

P.S. Regular Pricing for Conversion Conference Chicago ends Friday, June 22, 2012. Don’t wait the last minute, register now to enjoy some savings while you still can (and before passes are gone!).


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