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Dickbars Don’t Work

Josh Clark, back in March:

Hey, please, under no circumstances should you pin social buttons to the top or bottom of mobile screens. In an effort to try to boost mobile use of share buttons, About.com experimented with fixing them to screen bottom and separately to screen top, so that the buttons were always visible when scrolling. While this did modestly increase share-button usage, it also caused overall session engagement to go down.

You read that right: adding a locked toolbar to the small-screen experience shortened sessions and reduced page views. The very small increase in share-button usage was far outweighed by reduced site usage. (I can’t explain why this is the case, but I’ve seen it elsewhere with locked toolbars, too. They chase small-screen users away.)

Read the whole article. First, Clark’s advice is based on actual results, not just opinion and hunches (like mine). Second, he doesn’t advise against ever showing custom sharing buttons — but he does say only to show them to visitors coming from social media referrals. And but even then, don’t put them in fixed position dickbars.

As for why dickbars actually decrease site usage, I think the answer is obvious: when people see user-hostile fixed position bars at the top and/or bottom of their display, especially on phones, they’re annoyed, and the easiest way to eliminate the annoyance is to close the fucking tab and move on to something that isn’t annoying.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017