The below is a screen-shot (click to enlarge) I took the other day while doing a routine “what the heck does that mean” check on Wikipedia. Instantly, the banner struck me as a fantastically well thought-out and I believe will likely prove to be an effective device for raising the necessary funds. Why? I shall tell you (‘sitting comfortably’ optional)…

Colour psychology

It may sound a bit “wishy-washy” to some but plenty of research has been compiled over the years that shows the impact of colours on our behaviour and mental states.

Yellow for example has been found numerous times to induce thoughts of joy, hope and cheer whilst making people feel warm and energised. Some noted impacts of blue upon behaviours include an increased level of trust and loyalty as well as creating perceptions of power and serenity.

Based on the fact that Wikipedia’s ‘brand colours’ tend to be white, black and a far darker shade of blue (the classic hyper link blue), it would seem that these colours have been hand selected here, perhaps for the benefits described above. After all, if you are asking people for monetary donations over the internet you need them to be in a joyous/cheerful state with a high-level of trust in your brand.

Reducing potential obstacles

One of the absolute key focuses of any campaign to encourage or adapt certain behaviours should be making the path to that behaviour as easy as possible. One study found that the vast majority of people who fail to keep to their New Year’s resolutions each year do so because of a difficulty in understanding how to achieve their goal.

Wikipedia have made giving to their cause as simple a process as possible by including the initial donation form right next to the call to action. You don’t have to click on a link (which may not load, or could be perceived as potentially harmful/suspicious) or search around for how to help (which may lead to frustration and lost time for the user).

It has been found before in the behaviour change literature that once a person has initiated a behaviour they are more likely to see it through, so offering the option to start donating immediately will likely result in a higher proportion of completed donations than similar campaigns that require a user to go to a new webpage to kick it all off.

Message framing

A final element to point is the clever wording used throughout the appeal. Message framing is the concept that the words and phrases we read can have a significant impact on mental, emotional and physical states.

Some examples of intelligent message framing techniques from the copy include:

  • We will never run ads” – web users well-documented dislike of ads makes this feel like a benefit to them
  • Independence – campaign began during the week of the Scottish referendum so feelings are high around this word in the UK and perhaps the design was hoping to tap into some of the emotion.
  • Library/public park – community assets we fight to keep. Wikipedia is a part of our “community” and thus worthy of our protection.
  • “We can all go to think and learn…” indicates this is for us/you/me!
  • Take one minutei.e. – this is quick AND easy!
  • The whole bit in yellow – this puts the requested donation amount in to a relevant term for readers. We all spend a little frivolous money from time to time on the latest latte or iced frappé on offer and Wikipedia are essentially telling us here to forgo our next one and donate to them to keep this vital resource going. This also cleverly triggers some element of guilt in not donating because it frames the request in such a way that if we do not give, we are essentially choosing a low-cost low-need purchase (a hot drink) over helping.

I believe there is a lot that can be learned from this small appeal by those who are charged with creating content for digital signage (and all mediums). Whilst full animation graphics are all well and good, especially at capturing attention, if your content doesn’t aid in the viewer in making a change to their behaviour then it very well may not be giving you the ROI you had hoped for.

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