I'm just running an experiment on the UX Pin homepage. One group got a "shaking" button (the big orange sign up starts to shake after few seconds) and the other group got traditional "static" button.

According to some attention theories, motion of an element should grasp people attention.

Is it possible that such a simple trick will increase conversion rate?

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    For me, a shaking button would be reason to run as fast as I can. It's intrusive, and resembles someone shaking a fist at me. But hey, that's only my opinion, maybe others like buttons shaking at them... – Marjan Venema Jan 6 '13 at 11:39
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    @marcintreder, The shaking of your button is so subtle that I wouldn't call it "shaking". In fact, I find it more discrete than the OS X Dock Notification (those bouncing icons), so it might not be interpreted as intrusive, but "shaking stuff" is generally perceived as a dark pattern. Interesting A/B-test you're running, but I wouldn't put the credit on the "shaking" if this group gets a higher conversion rate... The CTA of your button(s) are very clear as is (imho). – Jørn E. Angeltveit Jan 6 '13 at 12:32
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    I personally don't think its too intrusive. People might not even notice it and may be more interested by it if they do spot it. So its definitely a worthwhile test. – icc97 Jan 6 '13 at 13:08
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    Honestly, I like your nudging button. Not too outstanding, not too much nudging. – Zar Jan 6 '13 at 17:27
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    I hope you excluded the traffic coming from this forum, otherwise your conversion rate will be buggered when everyone is staring at the wobbely button and not signing up. ... ;-) – Steffen Kastner Jan 7 '13 at 7:28

We are naturally drawn to movement, so shaking any button will cause people to notice it more. That however is not necessarily a good thing. It isn't someone noticing it in a good way. You are very likely to annoy or people who are getting their attention drawn to something that they may not want to be looking at. Think of those annoying banner adds that would do things like this.

There are situations where it is useful to draw attention, but those are when you are telling users something useful. The MacOS dock is a good example - if an icon shakes, I know that something has just finished and requires my attention. It one of them constantly shook because author of the software wanted me to use it more, I would simply not use it.

So in short, having a shaking button will draw more attention and might increase conversion rates in the short term, but in the long term you are going to annoy people. You need to decide which is more important to you.

My personal opinion is that you shouldn't, and if I come across a site or app that does it, I will close the page or remove the app.

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    "having a shaking button will draw more attention and might increase conversion rates in the short term, but in the long term you are going to annoy people" - strong assertions with no citations. Please add some! – Rahul Jan 7 '13 at 2:55

It depends on the goal of the button. As a "Buy now!"-button on a commercial website, it proved very negative in experiments (A/B-tested, audience ~4 million in total). But I can imagine that a late-stage "Questions? Chat with us live!"-button appearing in your screen and giving a shake might prove much more positive. Of course, I'm assuming you would take into account the costs of having people respond to chat requests and compare it to the increase (or decrease!) of sales, and how much sales are valued even at a higher cost.

Personally, I loathe them. A website throwing a non-crucial element at me that takes up a prominent spot and shakes will swiftly be removed by a browser plugin such as adblock. At that point I will never see that button ever again. But I'm far from the average internet user.

I'd advise against it, but I'd love to see explanations as to why your experiment proved positive. Makes me wonder if I should retry my own experiment.


Shaking is going to draw attention to the icon, but at the cost of attention to other elements on the page, and possibly decreased consumer confidence.

You're right to think that animation will grab a user's attention - human peripheral vision is very sensitive to motion, much more so than to colour - so an animated button will get more looks than a non-animated one. But if visibility isn't the bottleneck on conversion, then all you're going to do is stop users from being able to read the rest of the page.

Worse, if the users have to read the rest of the page before they convert (i.e. to be sufficiently convinced), your distracting button will actually impede conversion. And given how suspicious users are of the web, anything that's perceived as 'spamminess' could be a double liability if you're trying to convince users you're trustworthy enough to give money.

There are much better ways to make an element visible, such as keeping it in the reading line and reducing the weight of surrounding elements. Try those out first before resorting to 'shaky' buttons.


What about glowing (pulsing) instead of shaking. Won't be as distracting and seems more inviting.

Edit: adding link to nice piece on color as it applies to call-to-action buttons:


  • Nice idea @Max, but do you have any reference that pulsing is better? – Benny Skogberg Jan 7 '13 at 7:53
  • Relating directly to pulsing animation? No. Here is a nice little bit about color and call-to-action buttons: paulolyslager.com/call-to-action-buttons-psychology-color Movement would of course garner more attention from the eye but my own opinion is that I dont want buttons to move on the web. – Max Jan 7 '13 at 17:40
  • Good one. Feel free to add the link to the answer, and more attention isn't always better :-) – Benny Skogberg Jan 7 '13 at 17:54
  • Please have a look at the button we designed to hopefully increase conversions, it has movement, but one that makes sense and is not irritating (in my humble opinion) livecasinodirect.com/games/online/lucky-angler – Denis Volovik Jan 8 '13 at 14:55

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