6 Ways to Use Clarity to Improve Your Conversion Rate

Today I’m going to show you how to increase your conversion rate by increasing your website’s clarity.

Many conversion optimization experts, like myself, consider clarity to be among the most important of the top six conversion factors.

And don’t worry, there’s nothing technical about improving your website’s clarity.

It’s all about stepping into the shoes of your visitors and seeing your site from their perspective.

Let’s dive right in!

What is Clarity

In conversion optimization, clarity refers to being clear about what you offer, the value it provides, and the next action you want your visitor to take (e.g. download, sign up, buy).

There are two things to consider when it comes to clarity: design and content.

Design clarity is about designing an experience that creates a free and clear “eyeflow.”

Content clarity ensures that your images and text combine to minimize the time it takes for your visitors to understand your offer.

clarity - conversion optimization

Why Clarity Matters for Your Conversion Rate

Of the six conversion factors, most marketers struggle with clarity.

After having a clear value proposition, clarity is the most important factor in driving more online sales.

If who you are, what you do, why people should choose you, and the next steps are not immediately clear, your conversion rate (and sales) will suffer.

For example, when landing on the Sierra Designs homepage I can fairly easily answer those questions.

  1. Who you are – Sierra Designs
  2. What you do – Outdoor gear and apparel
  3. Why people should choose you – Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice Award
  4. Next step – Learn more
clarity on the sierra designs homepage
Sierra Designs using clarity in their homepage design to drive conversions

How to Improve Your Site’s Design Clarity

Here are three ways to improve your site’s design clarity:

#1 Add Whitespace

White space is the area between design elements. It’s also the space within individual design elements, including the space between typography glyphs (readable characters).

Despite its name, white space does not need to be white. It can be any color, texture, pattern, or even a background image.

Whitespace helps you draw attention to the most important parts of your site, like your value proposition or call to action. 

If you want to be sure something comes across clearly, add whitespace around it so you can eliminate the threat of distractions.

In this example from VSSL, they wanted to highlight some of the key features of the VSSL flask.

And how did they do it?

By adding whitespace, of course!

VSSL using whitespace on their product page to improve clarity

#2 Include Useful Images

When you’re choosing images for your site they should either:

  • Support the interaction, content, or page
  • Explain something useful
  • Persuade the viewer

Your images should tell the same story the rest of the page is telling.

In this example from Salomon, even when I blur out the content on the page you can still tell that this page is about trail running.

When design and copy work together to create clarity, amazing things happen.

Design clarity on the Salomon website
Salomon does a great job of using useful images to to improve their design clarity.

#3 Create Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the arrangement of elements in a way that suggests importance. 

For example, try ranking these circles in order of importance.

visual hierarchy
An example of how visual hierarchy works

Purple, green, yellow, and orange…

Right?

That’s visual hierarchy.

If you have the wrong elements at the top of your visual hierarchy, your site likely lacks clarity. 

Make sure your logo, value proposition and call to action are at the top of your hierarchy.

Remember that every page of your site has a visual hierarchy, not just the home page. 

If you’re an e-commerce site, analyze the visual hierarchy on your product pages, checkout funnel, etc.

Now, here are three tips to improve your content clarity:

#1 Make Your Content Scannable

In today’s world, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever, we’re busier than ever, and content overload is real.

If you want people to actually read your content it needs to be scannable.

Here’s how you can optimize your content by making it scannable:

  1. Use short sentences & short paragraphs (3-4 paragraphs).
  2. Use descriptive subheadings to help sort and organize copy.
  3. Use at least 16 px font with a high contrast (dark font on a white background).

In this example from College Outside, you can see that there’s very little contrast between the background image and the headline font.

Also, when hovering on the “Apply for access” call-to-action (CTA) button it becomes “hollow” and the text isn’t clear enough to read. 

Small mistakes like these can be very costly, especially when they’re on high traffic pages, like your homepage and CTA buttons that drive business growth.

content clarity on the college outside homepage
The College Outside homepage hero section lacks design clarity

#2 Use Consistent Language

Consistency is incredibly important. 

You need to write in the same style, follow the same grammar and formatting rules, and match your button copy to your body copy.

Also, be sure you use consistent language in your call to action button. 

If you ask me to “Sign Up Now” on your homepage, make sure you use that same language on all other pages.

#3 Use Your Customer’s Language

If you want to increase your conversion rate, you must feed your customer’s words right back to them.

If you don’t know what words your customers use for a particular message, go back to the research phase and find out.

Use those words and phrases to improve clarity on all of your pages.

Use your customer’s language to improve your content clarity

Now, let’s find opportunities to improve the clarity of your site.

To evaluate design clarity, ask yourself the following questions for one of the top pages on your site:

  • Is there a strong visual hierarchy in place? Does it follow your most wanted action?
  • Are less important things also less important/prominent design-wise?
  • Is there enough white space to draw attention to what matters?
  • Are the visuals in place that support the content?
  • Does the call to action stand out enough?
  • How much top priority information is below the fold?
  • If there’s more information below the fold, is it clear that they should scroll? Are there any logical breaks that stop the eye flow?
  • Is the eye path clear?
  • Is the body copy font size large enough for easy reading? In most cases the optimal size is 16px, but that depends on the font.

To evaluate content clarity, go back and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where am I? What is this page about?
  • What can I do here?
  • How is it useful to me? Why should I do it?
  • Can I understand what the product / service is, and how it works (in a reasonable amount of time)?
  • Are there supporting images and/or videos that help me understand it?
  • Is the product information adequate/sufficiently thorough for making a decision?
  • Are all important associated pieces of information clear (pricing, shipping info, warranty, return policy etc)?
  • Is it clear what I have to do next?

Beyond doing these two self assessments for clarity, you can also conduct a five second test.

According to UsabilityHub, a five second test allows you to “optimize the clarity of your designs by measuring people’s recall and first impressions.”

Here’s how a five second test works:

  1. People are shown a page for exactly 5 seconds.
  2. Users are then asked questions to see how much they remember about your page.
  3. The more they remember and accurately respond, the more clarity you have achieved.
Example of a five second test

Use these questions in your five second test:

  • Who is the company?
  • What are they offering?
  • Do they appear credible?/Why should you choose them?
  • What’s the call to action?

Now It’s Your Turn…

I hope this growth tip kickstarted some ideas for your outdoor brand.

If you’re feeling generous (and a little smarter), please share it with your friends. 🙌🏽

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See you out there!

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Jason Garcia - Founder, New Oceans

Hey, I’m Jason Garcia – founder of New Oceans Digital.

I’m a digital marketer and a certified conversion optimization expert.

That means I’m passionate about driving revenue growth by improving website performance.

Every 2 weeks I send a newsletter with actionable growth tips for outdoor brands in 5 minutes or less.