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Can using irregular shapes for calls to action on e-commerce sites improve conversion rates? 

This question has been raised by Linda Bustos on the Get Elastic blog, and it is perhaps something that etailers should consider testing. 

The idea comes from Bryan Eisenburg, who points out that one of the secrets of great call to action buttons is to use 'irregular shapes, neither rectangular nor oval'

He uses the example of Amazon's buttons, which are a combination of ovals and rectangles, and stand out more clearly: 

However, Eisenberg cautions against using round buttons, as this may be mistaken for graphical elements, since people expect a vaguely rectangular shape. 

Linda provides some ideas for shapes to use for buttons, as well as some examples used by online retailers, and the idea makes some sense, since the key for any call to action is that is stands out, and irregular shapes could achieve this aim. 

There are other key factors to consider in the design of call to action buttons; the use of colour, size, wording and contrast can all make a difference. 

Graham Charlton

Published 7 May, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

Matthew Curry

Matthew Curry, Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney

Yeah, this is dodgy territory, and completely is dependant on the nature of the busines, design of the site and the audience.

My firm belief, at least with my audience, is big chunky buttons, than look like buttons, and are descriptive to the point that the user knows what will happen when they click the button before they do, will always be winners.

But to be honest, there's a hell of a lot etailers can do first before they start faffing around with button shapes.

over 6 years ago


Sam Lacey

I agree with Matt. In the main, most websites need to refine a whole lot more before button shape comes into it. As well as the audience, you'll also need to be mindful of the overall look of the site to ensure there's sufficient contrast and stand out. In essence this is an aspect that shouldn't be looked at in isolation.

over 6 years ago



I agree with both that it can increase sales but otheroptions where mots users used to but now button in rectangle rectangle shape.

I like to see but now default button, that my personal view but i have seen that some people get attracted with different shapes and this i have seen from my experience with clients as compared to rectangle default CALL to action button.

over 6 years ago

Mike  Darnell

Mike Darnell, Social Marketing at Treepodia Ecommerce Video Solution

I'm with you guys.

There's so much more that goes into it:

  1. Button color & contrast with the surrounding content.
  2. Button size.
  3. Page clutter - what, & how much, is competing for users' attention?
  4. Button wording - how compelling and obvious is the call to action?
  5. Button location - how does it relate to the fold zone for a 1024x768 (still very popular and better err on the side of caution) screen.
These are all issues Graham touches in his post linked for the bottom of the page, so it's hard to comprehend why bother with a post which treats the button question from such a narrow perspective. I can understand that if you're a vendor of Amazon's scale, and have done user and A/B testing out-the-wazoo for everything else, you might want to start dealing with the shapes of your buttons, but for us mere mortals I think there are other things we might want to spend our time on before that... Personally I'm very fond with the entire conversion flow on the addthis.com page - and the button is, IMHO,  a good example of how one should look and function. Mike @treepodia http://Treepodia.com Video solutions for ecommerce 

over 6 years ago


Andy @ FirstFound

Yeah, I agree with Matt. As a rule of thumb, a button that looks like a button will do better than something that looks like part of the design.

over 6 years ago

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