Don’t blame user error, your ‘calls to action’ suck

Calls to Action are the real test of whether you have nailed your website.  Recently I wrote about common traps when it comes to designing Calls to Action (CTA), and why “Asking for Action” is the fourth of five essentials to a behaviourally effective website. Now it’s time to learn some lessons in what not to do with the help of four examples from market.

1. What should I do now? Whoops, not that.

First up we have an example from Hootsuite, a social media dashboard site which generally does so much, so well. Unfortunately its auto-scheduling tool loses points for its confusing calls to action.

Figure 1: Hootsuite’s AutoSchedule

After nominating the date and time, I was looking for a CTA to “schedule my post”. Instead, in the bottom right my options were to save (good ol’ floppy disk icon) or Send Now. Well, I didn’t really want to do either but I guessed that the “Send Now” really meant “Send at the time you have just scheduled”. Whoops. It actually meant “Send Now”, posting my message and defeating the purpose of setting a future time. P.S., I’m still not sure what I should have done to activate the scheduled post!


2. Arrgggh! I did it again!!!

Officetime is a great App for keeping track of where your day goes. Most of the user interface is pleasant and easy to use but one element keeps tripping me up.

Figure 2: Office Time

After nominating start and end times the required action is “Done” – you might see it if you peer closely at the top right. But what is the most prominent CTA? Duration. Time and again I have accidently clicked big green, third step in line ‘Duration’, wiping out the steps I have just taken to log my time. Annoying.


3. Pay anyone from the wrong account

My bank’s app makes transferring money very easy. Sadly, in some cases it’s too easy.

Figure 3: Bank App

On this screen the default account is defined by the bank and visually represented by the associated card. I have mistakenly paid from the wrong account because there is no CTA to select the account – you have to remember to swipe to the correct one.

4. Order online, if you can find out how

Last, a nice big prominent call to action button that invites the visitor to order online. What a shame it’s not actually clickable.

Figure 4: Button to nowhere

If you have other examples of bad CTAs I would love to hear about them. I keep a gallery of behavioural examples on my Pinterest site, which you can view here and you can read more about Calls to Action and the 5 Essentials for an Effective Website by visiting my website here.

Bri Williams runs People Patterns Pty Ltd, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues.



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