The picture with this post is of the shampoo and conditioner containers from a recent hotel stay. My first thought upon seeing them was: “Why are they two different sizes?” As I thought more about that question, it made sense to me on three levels.
Maintaining brand identity
First, the housekeeper who has to restock the rooms each morning can now just reach in his/her cart and grab one of each size without having to read the labels. This saves time and probably leads to less errors where you end up with two shampoos and no conditioner. Yes, it’s a very first-world problem, but it does happen from time to time.
Second, I as a not-yet-quite-awake consumer of the products can just remember to grab the bigger container before the smaller one. I don’t have to read tiny print when I’m hardly awake and don’t have my glasses on.
Third, the brand identity is maintained. I’m guessing Peter Thomas Roth values their brand color and identity as much as Kodak or Coke. That means the packaging has to be the color green it is. So, in order to maintain brand identity, they could really only change the size or shape of the containers. They stayed with a similar shape and modified the size enough to make stocking and use of the product easier.
Did they succeed? Since my user experience with the product resulted in a blog post, I’d like to suggest yes.
In the digital world
Take the above lesson and apply it to your online presence. How much time do you spend thinking about the size, shape and color of the buttons that facilitate your calls to action? Does green work better than red? Is a big button better than a small one? How about round, square or oval? Which one has the highest conversion rate?
You can write the greatest copy in the world, but it’s as useful as substandard writing without equally good design if no one follows through on your calls to action. The entire user experience has to be near perfect in this world where we have about nine seconds to connect with our audience.