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Assume that a website offering a free application desires to place a button in a very noticeable part of the homepage. What would be the best choice for the label (and link) of the button: "Learn More" or "Download"?

"Learn More" gives the user the capability to learn more about the software before downloading but poses a problem if the user just came to the website to download the software.

"Download" is more efficient but also very direct, which I fear may spark suspicion, is it so?

Note also that there is a "Download" link on the header.

Any opinions on this would be appreciated.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Download.

There is no advantage in promising one thing and delivering another. Users who expect to 'learn more' will be annoyed by a file, especially if they're suspicious of unauthorized downloads. Users who you could convert will not see a download link at first glance ("'Learn more'? I don't want another brochure, I want the product!") and miss a great opportunity to turn them into paying users.

Being direct does not spark suspicion. Quite the opposite. Suggesting one thing and delivering another creates confused, annoyed users who'll avoid your site in future.

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I'm sorry, perhaps I didn't make it clear that the "Learn More" option redirects to an "About Us" page, while the "Download" option redirects to the download page. Do you think that the second option is still better? –  Chris Smith Sep 26 '11 at 14:17
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Ah, I misunderstood. In that case, it's hard for me to answer without seeing your site and the whole information architecture. I know that sounds really woolly, but these choices depend a lot on context and the information your visitors have already been exposed to. –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Sep 26 '11 at 14:22
    
Sure. From top to bottom: Header (logo and links), still image with caption, tagline and the button, features, footer. –  Chris Smith Sep 26 '11 at 14:33
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@ChrisSmith Please make the download button actually download the application. IF i don't trust you I won't click it. If I want to download I just want the darn download. See mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new . Always do that. I'm so tired of software sites where "download" is a tiny little hyperlink in the bottom left of the page, which then brings me to a list of mirrors, and I have to pick one of THOSE before I can even download. –  Ben Brocka Sep 26 '11 at 16:04
    
@BenBrocka I'm using the exact same method Mozilla is using: beginning the download and showing a "Thank You" page. –  Chris Smith Sep 26 '11 at 16:23

Put all information on the first page (below the fold, maybe) and add “Download” button (maybe “Download for free?”). Visitors will know where to press when they will know enough. They should know from the start that this software is available for them at any time, it will keep them calm. If you do not put “Download” button on the first screen, you will loss a noticeable amount of users who will not be able to find it.

If you have too much info or it not so important, you may put “Learn more” link too, but only in addition to “Download”.

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I would create two different call to action buttons on the landing page. One linking to your "Learn More" page and the other linking to your "Download". Call to actions seem to be the growing trend when it comes to grabbing users attention.

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I am restricted to one button. –  Chris Smith Sep 26 '11 at 14:14
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@ChrisSmith well download should be a button, and Learn More should be a link, maybe at the end of a brief intro paragraph. Surely you can do both. –  Ben Brocka Sep 26 '11 at 16:06

Consistant and prominent download button on ALL pages (assuming this is the sites primary conversion goal), same place, same prominence. Additional button or possibly just a link (if the design causes conflict of CTAs) for more info.

If you have the luxury of time, then do it with both and run a split test experiment using something like a https://optimizely.appspot.com/ trial where you turn the more info link off and compare results.

As long as there's still a consistant download link on the more info page, it's win-win really.

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