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Units matter

I was reading the Austin Statesmen online today when an ad caught my eye. At first I thought it was because the design used a particular shade of green known around our house as Ellen Green because my wife wears it so much. Then I thought it was because the designer had accomplished the difficult task of combining the blue, green, and aqua with the pink background. Finally I realized I was attracted because something was missing.

Do you see it? (or rather do you what isn’t there?)

Screen capture of Dillard's display ad for an Estee Lauder promotion

Screen capture of Dillard's display ad for an Estee Lauder promotion

It is missing the dollar signs.

The lack of units makes the ad harder to read. 75.00 what? 27.50 what?

Compare the original to the version in which I added dollar signs. Which is easier to read?

Comparison of the original version of the ad and a version I edited to include "$".

Comparison of the original version of the ad and a version which I edited to include the missing dollar sign.

Looking beyond usability, the design impinges on the whole point of the promotion: value for your dollar. You are getting $75 worth of product for $27.50. It is almost 3 for 1 value. Not convinced. Below is what you get after you click on the ad. Notice the first three word: “free”, “pretty”, “smart”.

The interstitial page that the ad takes you to before the Dillard's site

The interstitial page that the ad takes you to before the Dillard's site

Becoming pretty and smart for free; that’s a value. But value is measured dollars, so where is the dollar sign?