Learn from Great Design: Pixate

by Tom Kenny (@tkenny)


We’re in a time where there are a number of great prototyping design tools to choose from. Pixate is one of these tools but from the demos I’ve seen, it seems like it’s quite powerful and they must be doing something right because they were bought by Google on July 21st, 2015 having raised an impressive $3.8 million funding in 2013.

Pixate announcing on their homepage that they’ve joined Google

Pixate announcing on their homepage that they’ve joined Google

They have in fact joined Google’s design team, likely hiring them more for their design skills than the Pixate app itself.

What this means for the app isn’t clear at this stage but Google clearly values the design talents of the Pixate team and so do I after seeing their design work for myself.

The Signup Experience

Pixate offer a cloud based service which requires creating an account and it’s their unique and well designed signup experience that I want to highlight in particular.

Here’s a video of the signup experience so you don’t have to create an account to see it for yourself:

The full screen design focuses on a single text field at a time with large type and dots to the right indicating the section you’re on.

It’s a smart adaptation of a common pattern used by one page designs. Pixate use the dots as a progress tracker to indicate how far along in the signup process you are and they’re also interactive allowing you to return to previous sections to make any changes.

More could be done to increase the obviousness that the dots are are progress tracker but because their target market is designers, they’ll understand it without very little thought.

It’s immediately obvious that the password field is where you type your password because the place holder text is a series of dots, using the method made popular by Apple with iOS.

“Let’s make something amazing”

Great copywriting is an important part of great design, so ending with a positive phrase is an attempt to inspire. It’s certainly better than simply saying your account has been created.

Increase Signup Conversions

This signup experience is particularly interesting considering an interesting discovery I made when working with a client on their signup form process.

When we split their signup form into multiple steps, conversions increased.

While there hasn’t been a study on splitting out a form into multiple steps on the web, we can examine a seemingly unrelated study to explain the psychology of why this works.

In a Californian market, a study was carried out with jam jars. The experiment consisted of having either 6 or 24 jars of jam on show. 60% of customers took notice of the larger selection, while only 40% stopped by the small one. Interestingly though, 30% of customers who were presented with the smaller selection decided to buy while the selection with more choice only produced sales from 3% of customers.

In the case of the jam jar study, giving people less choice made it more likely for them to complete the task of buying something. People are more likely to complete the task at hand if you give them fewer options at once. Give them too much choice and it becomes harder to make a decision.

Less is More

Give people less and they’ll do more. It sounds counterintuitive but results suggest otherwise.

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by Tom Kenny

I’m a freelance web designer and front-end developer with over 7 years of experience designing for the web. Follow me on Twitter here.