VWO acquires Concept Feedback

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | BY Siddharth Deswal

As you might know, we have been looking for a new owner for Concept Feedback for quite some time. Someone who can give it the time and attention it deserves. And today with great excitement, I wanted to let you know that Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) has acquired Concept Feedback.


VWO makes what is the world’s easiest A/B testing tool and I have known Paras Chopra, the founder and CEO of VWO, for over 3 years. So when he expressed desire to acquire Concept Feedback, it sounded like a great fit and here we are today. I want to thank all 26,000 of you who have been incredible in shaping up this great community and giving great feedback to the world over.

On that note, I wanted to hand it over to Paras to share his thoughts on the community going forward.

Note from Paras

I first came across Concept Feedback in 2010 when we got great feedback from the community on the design of the VWO homepage, and one of the users even sent us a mockup for a complete redesign. So it goes without saying that we at VWO are very excited to be acquiring this awesome community of 26,000+ expert designers.

Concept Feedback ties in well with what we've been working on for the past four years; helping marketers make website and landing page experiences that truly rock. Our users frequently ask for expert help on their designs, so what better than to introduce them to the Concept Feedback community.

Going forward we have many interesting plans, but rest assured the core of this community will stay intact. The Concept Feedback community will only blossom more from here and I really look forward to interacting with all of you.

Sincerely,
Andrew and Paras.

NB - Here's the VentureBeat coverage.

An Update from the Founder

Friday, March 23, 2012 | BY Andrew

It has been over a year since my last blog post here. So what happened? I'm glad you asked. Let me tell you!

We spent close to 2 years building Concept Feedback, growing the community and adding functionality. After amassing nearly 10,000 members, we hadn't made much progress on generating revenue. For those of you with business experience, you understand that the inability to make money can be problematic. In fact, it led me to launch Demo Duck, where I am currently Founder and CEO. We create explainer video (online videos that explain a business, product or service in around 60-seconds) for startups and web companies. We've been doing very well and having a lot of fun too!

In a few weeks, I'll be launching a new service (also created by the web wizards at DevBridge) called Video Brewery. Like Demo Duck, Video Brewery will offer web video production services for companies of all sizes. Unlike Demo Duck, everything will be done online, from payments, to contracts to project management. It's kind of like eLance for video. So make sure to stop and signup!

Concept Feedback will continue to chug along, and everything will remain free. We want the community to enjoy what we've created, and even though it's not making money, that's okay. I learned a lot from building the website and have been able to use those lessons in the creation and growth of Demo Duck and Video Brewery.

You can follow my new blog at Demo Duck or find me on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

How WriteWork.com Boosted Engagement 110% in Less Than 6 Months

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | BY Andrew

A few weeks ago, Jens Schriver, a long-time Concept Feedback member and co-founder of the online marketing agency, ClickLab, approached me with exciting news -- he had lifted engagement on his website, WriteWork.com, by over 100%, and increased the number of people ending up on the payment page by 150%. Here's how he did it, and how you can do it too.



1. Gather Feedback on The Original Landing Page

After identifying the problem (high bounce rates and low conversion rates), ClickLab posted the original homepage for WriteWork.com on Concept Feedback and UserTesting.com. They did this before starting on a new spec, wireframe or design (also read Why Everyone Has The Feedback Process Backwards). This process helped them identify the main issues with the page, primarily messaging and poor use of space. They also discovered that they had too much info below the fold, the header was too large and their average user (students) was using a small-screened device, like a netbook.


2. Summarize Feedback and Create a Wireframe

ClickLab consolidated the advice from Concept Feedback, UserTesting and hundreds of user surveys, and started creating a specification for a radical redesign. Using Balsamiq, they developed a wireframe from the spec, which they refined using Five Second Test. Once they were satisfied with the wireframe, they again posted it to Concept Feedback. Leveraging the power of the crowd, ClickLab was able to get advice from multiple people, each approaching the project from a unique perspective.

According to ClickLab, "...we made a mistake here by working too long on the wireframe. We should have posted one of the first iterations, because the longer you work on a design, the more you invest yourself in it."


3. Design a Mockup and Test

Again, ClickLab consolidated the feedback in to a list and cleaned up the wireframe based on the feedback they received. From the wireframe, they created a design mockup, which they put through a number of simple usability tests. Once the design was polished, they once again posted it to Concept Feedback, where they received more nuanced feedback regarding colors and alignment.

Once the mockup was complete and coded, ClickLab started an extensive split testing campaign using Visual Website Optimizer (also see Using Split Testing to Validate Website Feedback). From running tests against the original version, they were able to track bounce rates and quantify the results with 99% statistical significance.


In less than 6 months, ClickLab was able to double engagement rates and increase revenue on WriteWork.com. According to Jens, the best piece of advice he can give is, "get feedback very early...you can save so much time by getting on the right track straight from the beginning."

If you have a conversion rate success story, process or technique you'd like to share, please let us know in the comments!

Why Everyone Has The Feedback Process Backwards

Monday, January 24, 2011 | BY Andrew

If you're like most people (see below), you wait until after you launch your new website before asking people for feedback. If your intention is to get a few pats on the back, then this might be the right approach, but if you're honestly seeking ways to improve your website, increase conversion rates and see an ROI, then you need to change your process.


Get Feedback First

Don't wait until your website is live to start asking for feedback. In fact, it should be one of the first things you do. Before you start developing a spec, hiring a designer or writing a single line of code, go out and get outside feedback on your existing website. Or, if you're building a new website, get feedback on a simple sketch or wireframe.

Getting feedback after launch is usually an exercise in futility. The team in charge is so emotionally invested in the new design, that making changes based on post-launch feedback rarely happens. Not to mention the time and money you'll end up spending on changes, and in some cases, a complete overhaul.

An outside perspective can help you identify ways to improve your user experience, clarify your messaging and increase conversion rates. Moral of the story: get feedback, but make sure to get it early!

You may also be interested in:

5 Timeless Principles for Selling Online

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | BY Andrew

Unfortunately for the fashion impaired, like myself, trends change every year, and websites are no exception. From Flash, to web 2.0, to clean and simple, it's hard to keep up with without spending thousands of dollars on a redesign each year. Fortunately, generating conversions and revenue is not as much about annual redesigns as it is about adhering to the principles of selling online. While your customer's tastes and preferences might change, the way they make a purchasing decision will not. With that in mind, here are 5 principles for selling online in 2011 and beyond.

1. Have a clear call to action

Visitors need direction. With ever-decreasing attention spans, you have moments to engage your visitor and guide them to the next step in the sales process. What do you want your visitors to do? Buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, call you? Whatever it is, it needs to be exceedingly clear. This could be your phone number in the header, a newsletter sign up form or a big green “Buy Now” button. Whatever it is, it needs to be obvious.

A clear call to action isn’t just about adding a big button, it’s also about reducing clutter. If you place your call to action in a sea of competing objectives, it’s going to be difficult for your visitor to determine which path you want them to take.


2. Reduce the clutter

Minimizing distractions is a must. If you place your call to action in a sea of competing objectives, it’s going to be difficult for your visitor to determine which path you want them to take (if you have multiple customer types, try providing multiple, customized paths). Remove any irrelevant content, images, icons and links, and stick to the essentials. Each page on your website should have a clear focus and next action. Ruthlessly cut everything else.


3. Write compelling copy

Easier said than done, but great copy is critical to higher conversion rates. Copy is what helps drive your visitors to take action. Without an effective headline or explanation of your value proposition, most visitors won’t make it past the homepage. Compelling copy should be short, simple and motivating.

Try to write with your customer in mind. Instead of talking about features, focus on the end-user benefits. When paragraphs are unavoidable, use headlines, bullet points and section headers to organize text. Use simple language and short sentences. Every message should be boiled down to its core, avoiding industry jargon and acronyms. Above all, your copy should drive action!

4. Be credible

Everything about your website should ooze credibility, and it’s not just about a fancy seal on your checkout page. From a clean, professional design, to prominent testimonials and press mentions, your customers should feel comfortable doing business with you. It may be shallow, but a visitors first impression of your company is formed within seconds of landing on your homepage. Strive to create an environment that is transparent, professional and forthcoming.

5. Create a cohesive customer experience

Your design should reflect your brand. It should also resonate with your prospective customers. For example, a home furnishings website targeted at young mothers should “feel” like a place where young mothers want to buy things for their home.

Visitors should be able to navigate your website without getting frustrated, lost or confused. This includes adhering to web standards, providing clear, consistent navigation and creating an intuitive user interface.

I realize most of these principles are broad and lack specifics. However, this article is meant to act as an outline, guiding you and your team as you evaluate your website and start to make changes (for a list of online tools that may be helpful during this process, please see this earlier post on website optimization). If you have principles and tips of your own, please include them in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 31, 2010 | BY Andrew

It's hard to believe this is Concept Feedback's first New Year celebration! Let's take a quick walk down memory lane and review a few milestones we reached during 2010:
  • We exceeded 4,000 concepts and 30,000 reviews posted
  • Aaran Casey was our first member to break the 10,000 reputation point mark, and it looks like he's well on his way to 20 :)
  • We released new services, including private (R.I.P.) and expert feedback
  • In an effort to make feedback more actionable, we upgraded our review tools to include visual markup and note categories
  • We redesigned the logo, the homepage, the website and just about everything come to think of it
  • We started posting weekly Pro Bono concepts to help non-profits improve their websites and further their cause
  • We launched an affiliate program
  • And much, much more...
Thank you for your support and patience throughout the year, CF wouldn't exist if it weren't for our loyal and brilliant members! Here's to a healthy, happy, prosperous and feedback-filled New Year!

The CF Team

The Curse of Knowledge

Wednesday, December 29, 2010 | BY Andrew

This past weekend, I spent a fair amount of time in the car while my wife and I drove to and from Minnesota to visit my folks for Christmas. During the 6-hour drive through Packer-country, while downing 5-Hour Energy and passing the Cheese Chalet, the "World's Largest Culvers" and the Wisconsin Dells, we listened to Made to Stick. Written by Chip and Dan Heath, Made to Stick examines why some ideas thrive while others die (read an excerpt).

I was particularly interested in their concept of "The Curse of Knowledge". According to Chip and Dan, The Curse of Knowledge is "a natural psychological tendency that consistently confounds our ability to create ideas". In other words, "once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has 'cursed' us".

Made to Stick

I find that this concept of The Curse of Knowledge holds particularly true when running a website. We invest so much time planning, designing, tweaking and navigating our own websites, that it becomes nearly impossible to generate new ideas, or see the forest from the trees. This universal problem was one of the main reasons I decided to launch Concept Feedback - to provide a way to get an independent, objective website evaluation from an industry expert.

It can be easy to get complacent, assuming you've "done your best" and visitors will find what they need. Unfortunately, that usually isn't the case. Utilizing online tools to gather website feedback from users (usertesting.com), customers (kampyle.com/uservoice.com) and industry experts (conceptfeedback.com) is essential to avoiding The Curse of Knowledge.

Although I haven't finished the entire book at this point, Made to Stick offers some great insights, and I would recommend it to anyone. If you have your own experiences with The Curse of Knowledge, let us know in the comments!