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I see that it is really popular with web services nowadays to have their phone number in the header of the website. Is it really that effective? Does it make the company look more legit?

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This is a bit vague. What kind of company is it? Does the company actually want customers to call them as a means to communicate with them? –  msanford Jan 10 '13 at 3:39
    
as @msanford said, try to elaborate a bit here. If that number is core to your business or website and is a primary means of communication with users, you may want to do it. It depends a lot on the context. –  Mohit Jan 10 '13 at 8:48
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In general, adding information like phone numbers or physical addresses to a site, makes it appear more trustworthy (or 'legit'). In a number of tests that I know of, this has been the case.

However, the side effect of putting your number in your header is that people will call you more, so don't do it unless you can actually handle the support calls. Zappos place their phone number very prominently in their header because they want to be called, so it fits in with their overall strategy.

Don't just put a phone number in your header to look 'legit'. Do it because you are 'legit' and because you want people to call you.

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"In a number of tests that I know of, this has been the case." do you have any examples for this? –  JonW Jan 10 '13 at 10:57
    
@JonW In the marketing world, Corey Rudl tested this extensively many years ago, and found it to be true. –  JohnGB Jan 10 '13 at 12:06
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We made a user test about it. We have a hotel reservation portal and we have telephone support for it. People look around in the portal, choose a hotel, but before reservation they like to ensure about it, and call the number in the header. It makes the page reliable.

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Out of interest, did you test it with and without the number in the header? Is the number displayed anywhere else? –  Matt Obee Jan 10 '13 at 9:00
    
Just with the number in the header. It's just display here in the site in all subpage. –  Gyula Fülemen Jan 10 '13 at 9:26
    
"It makes the page reliable." how do you come by this statement? As you yourself state you haven't tested it without the phonenumber there so it's not really an accurate test, it's just anecdotal currently. Who's to say that you might get more business through the website without the phone-number being displayed so prominently? –  JonW Jan 10 '13 at 10:47
    
Before dealing with small e-commerce sites - I always phone to make sure a person answers the phone and that it sounds like there actually is a company behind the website... –  PhillipW Jan 10 '13 at 21:26
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If it's a common user task to visit the site to get the phone number and then call, then your users will appreciate it. If the business wants then to do this, even better!

It's a UX pattern I always apply when designing a site for a business where the service performed is not necessarily done online.

If the number is needed to help a user out of a jam or as a means of getting support, consider fixing the site issues that lead to the calls.

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