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My users can be part of multiple organisations, which may or may not have a paid account.

When we discussed lately how we should make paid accounts stand out in a list, concerns were raised by senior staff that highlighting premium accounts using the words "Premium" and/or "Paid" repeatedly might be seen as "offensive".

What would be an neutral, subtle way of listing paid accounts as "premium"?

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As relevant you could call them "Personal" vs "Small Business" or "Corporate" accounts to represent different levels without making one seem strictly "better" but instead more applicable, depends on what your service is though. –  Ben Brocka Oct 18 '11 at 16:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If at all possible, grade your plan levels in a descriptive way, usually describing their use or who will use them.

Here's an example from Cannybill.com: enter image description here

Instead of the "Crap" "Okay" "AWESOME" style of goading people into buying the most expensive plan you can use these descriptive names to show who is using the plan or why, for instance you could have "Personal", "Professional", "Small Business" and "Enterprise."

Personal is cheap/free and is missing features, but most users won't need them. Professional is a full featured suite for people that need advanced features. Small Business and Enterprise may have various amounts of support or infrastructure dedicated to that plan that might be irrelevant for a single user.

Cater this idea to the specific user groups and pricing plans your product has and you should help eliminate confusion (I'm a professional user, do I need the Premium or Regular plan?) and sidestep the image of one plan being "better" than the other. They're not "better," they're different!

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This might not work in your system, but I think using Good | Better | Best type of options might help diffuse the "paid/premium" verbiage.

Now, while literally using the terms "Good" (free) or "Better" (first step paid) or "Best" (second step paid), giving the different levels a name might even diffuse it even further. Soundcloud does this with Free, Light, Solo, Pro, and Paid Pro accounts. They're still referred to as premium accounts if they are not free, but the verbiage is a little more carefully hidden.

Other examples:

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Why did you choose to highlight the difference in the first place? If that reason is important enough, then it may still be a good choice to highlight the difference. For example, most sites do this intentionally to encourage free users to upgrade.

If you want a very subtle way, then you could just use a colour code or add an icon of some sort next to their name. I think this would add a level of confusion though without adding a lot of benefit.

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