January 4th, 2006
I’m curious how many people are interested in eating at a restaurant that serves unexcelled food? Last weekend, I drove by the Century House Restaurant in Peabody, Massachusetts. What struck me was the sign displayed prominently in front of the restaurant: The Century House: Unexcelled Food.
I’ll admit I’ve never eaten at the Century House before. But now that I’ve seen how they choose to describe their food, I’m not all that eager to try out the restaurant anytime soon. Even when I visited the Century House web site, the designers chose to display the ‘Unexcelled Food’ description prominently on the home page.
If the designers of the Century House’s site had tested the copy, would users have found the description persuasive? So far, I’ve asked more than a dozen people what their impressions are and many assumed unexcelled was a negative term meaning that the restaurant’s food was poor or ‘not excelling’. Actually, the term has a very positive meaning: not capable of being improved on.
While the copywriters intended to persuade users to dine at the Century House, the words didn’t seem all that persuasive to the people I surveyed. This is why it’s so important for design teams to test out the effectiveness of the site’s copy with their users. By testing your own site, it really brings home the huge importance of words on the web.Tweet