Looking for a college is like looking for new cereal at the mega-grocery store. You have a rough idea of what you want, but your choices are endless. You find yourself just staring at the boxes, dumbfounded.
Plenty of websites have popped up to help students move from “dumbfounded” to “college-bound.” We’re going to tear down some of their landing pages to help build your expertise, starting with DegreeLeap’s College Finder Tool.
Whitespace is not blank-space
I commend the designers of this page for their minimalist approach. It’s always good to have plenty of whitespace so it’s easy to look at the page and so you don’t find yourself squinting and wondering what the heck it’s trying to say.
But this page goes a little too far. Almost one-third of the main section is completely blank, and it makes the bullet points look like they’re crammed under the headline. The whitespace appears to be encroaching on the other elements, rather than letting them relax and spread out, which completely defeats the reason for having whitespace in the first place. These guys should test spacing out the bullet points and adding some content below them. Perhaps an image of a smiling student next to a quote about why they love DegreeLeap?
There is also a good-sized piece of unused real estate under the form. Right now, that space is showing off the page’s nifty background, which isn’t doing much for conversions. I would test adding a trust logo, testimonial, or some other call-out to make this section start achieving some goals instead of wasting space (like a lazy college student).
I know what to do — why should I care?
Enough tearing down, here’s what I like: First, the headline is clear as day. How many times have you written a three-word headline? Not many, I suspect. People don’t have to guess what they can do on this page. It’s more obvious than a bad wig.
The page also makes great use of bolding. Instead of emphasizing hype-words like AMAZING and INNOVATIVE, the designers made the bullet points easier to scan by putting their main points in bold. It only takes a glance to know that this site uses a matching engine to pair you with up to 10 schools, whether online or off, and that it’s been used by more than 100,000 people.
What these bullet points lack, though, is an answer to why factor. Why should I bother filling out this form instead of going to one of the other millions of college search sites? What’s so great about this one? What exactly is your site going to help me accomplish? A list of features doesn’t do much to get me excited.
When does it all END? Oh, very soon.
The progress bar on this page is a nice feature, especially since the form is displayed gradually. Rather than making people wonder whether they’ll ever finish the form, the little progress bar tells them “hey, chin up, you’re almost there.” Which is good, because if you leave people guessing, the first thing they’ll wonder is “why don’t I try another website?”
Faster than the speed of words
Images are magical little things. They can communicate faster than words. You can look at an image on a box of Canadian cigarettes, for example, and instantly realize that you’re not doing yourself any favors by sucking one down.
That’s why we love the school logos at the bottom of this page. They instantly tell people, “hey, you may not know us, but look, these are our pals! Everyone knows our pals!” The visitors are comforted in knowing that they’re not in some nasty back alley of the internet. It makes them more willing to share their information.
We’d love to see more imagery applied to some of the unused space on the page. Seals showing that a website is “trusted” or gives a “100% satisfaction guarantee” can instantly tell people that they should lay their concerns aside and start filling out the form.
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