Metrics are Dangerous for Users

Published 23 October 2018

It is always a good idea to measure what you are doing and see the impact of changes, deciding on what to focus, and what to stop doing. It is an industry standard to measure conversion based on changes, and to do extensive A/B testing in order to choose a better approach.

There is one slight problem with these ideas. It is users who don’t necessarily want to buy something, or subscribe to get more information about your products, but just want to look around – since they don’t pay anything, nobody cares about them, and companies try to solve problems of potential and existing customers. That all makes perfect sense, and is a good example of good intentions leading to bad results.


Now, let’s say we have several user categories which are interested in our product but they would like to contact us using different methods, but they are too lazy to find our contact page and reach out personally with their questions. And let’s say that the first group prefers a phone call, second group like to leave an email so that they have access to the conversation later, and the last group just wants to ask couple questions quickly.

In order to support all of them, we will add the following:

The true challenge happens at the moment you discover that your users still can’t find these features in your app, and you decide to follow best practices, which means to show this option to everyone in the whole screen, usually in some sort of the modal. The interesting part is that adding modals for both phone call and email conversation, along with automatic chat opening on the side might increase conversion! It sounds counter-intuitive, but actually works, so nowadays every second website after loading (sometimes even before) starts to offer you a subscription, short call, chat with customer support or something else.

Combined with regulations and the overall complexity of final solution, it creates an unforgettable experience – what it is like to browse web in 2018.

Now, this article is basically a rant. I don’t know how to improve this situation, but I just have to say that it is extremely annoying to use web nowadays. Proposed solutions like reader mode are good, but they don’t really solve the problem.