Fat Finger Mistake Yields 7 Landing Page Lessons: A Cautionary Tale

Fat Finger Mistake Yields 7 Landing Page Lessons: A Cautionary Tale

By Amy StarkOct 31 /2011

Have you ever transposed a couple of characters when typing in a URL -- only to find yourself on an Internet site that you don’t recognize? I once made a "Fat Finger Mistake" while searching for an image. A terribly offensive collage of pictures appeared showcasing a subject matter not even remotely connected to the topic at hand. The following warning statement popped up:

Seven landing page lessons

“This page contains several images that may be offensive to some people. Please select one of the following options:


Yes -- these are the images I wanted to see. I'm cool.


NO! -- take me to a page filled with cute little kittens FAST.”


I selected the cute kittens. It was a brilliant move on the website's part because my feelings moved quickly from horror and disgust to “Awwww, they are so sweet!”

That Fat Finger Mistake was harmless but not ALL mistakes are cute:

Fat Finger points to U.S. stocks dive:

“The biggest intraday point drop ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average may have been caused by an erroneous trade entered by a person at a big Wall Street bank - one that in turn triggered widespread panic-selling that wiped about $US 1 trillion ($1.1 trillion) from the collective value of US stocks.”

Last Friday (October 28, 2011) I apparently typed something other than “twitter.com” into the URL field. As I looked at the landing page I soon realized that it was a "Survey SPAM Trap". I was wise enough NOT to proceed but after I looked at it for a few moments I realized it was a great teaching tool chock full of lessons. Let’s break down this landing page into 7 zones and first examine how easy it is to be drawn into this never ending SPAM survey and then let's take a look at the 7 positive takeaways.


  1. General Appearance – This looks like a twitter page with: a similar background, same color scheme, text fields with the same shape and placement, and identical fonts. The only difference between a real twitter landing page and this Survey SPAM Trap's landing page is the URL. Who would think to double-check the URL when everything else looks so twitter-like, right?  It is purposely deceptive.
  2. You’ve been selected”-- Of all the millions of tweeters they want YOUR opinion because they value your advice. Makes you feel special, doesn’t it? A more truthful statement would be, “Based on your Fat Finger Mistake you’ve been selected to get drawn into a rabbit hole of some imaginary treasure that will always be within sight, but just out of reach.”
  3. 30 seconds” -- Even the busiest person has half-a-minute to spare.
  4. Enhance user experience” – Not only will your experience be enhanced, but your valuable input will benefit others. It would be selfish for you NOT to contribute 30 seconds to the betterment of all tweeters.
  5. Exclusive prizes” – These aren’t your everyday prizes for just anybody -- they're exclusive and special. Plus it’s always nice when a selfless act pays off.
  6. October 28th” – Uh-Oh! You have a limited amount of time to complete this survey which will enhance everyone’s experience and culminate with you getting that exclusive prize.
  7. Question 1 of 3” – Only 3 questions and you already know the first answer without even thinking. If all of the questions are this easy, it will only take you 10 seconds. So the survey won't waste your time or mental-bandwidth. 
It's easy to justify continuing on with the survey by answering at least that first question. Fifteen minutes later you realize you've been duped.

If we remove the deceptive elements of this page, there are 7 positive lessons that can help you design an effective landing page and calls to action:

  1. Keep the overall appearance simple and cater to the taste of your intended audience.  
  2. Make people feel special. We are all individuals (just like snowflakes) and we want to be valued for what we bring to the table.
  3. Ask nicely for a payment of time with the intention of honoring the commitment.
  4. People want to help others. If their engagement on the landing page will help the greater good in even a small way it should be highlighted.
  5. Offer real value in return for their payment of time and personal information. Always under-promise and over-compensate.
  6. Post a time limit -- or constraints -- and mean it. Everyone is used to deadlines and it's an opportunity to build trust by keeping your word.
  7. Give an up-front contract and make it easy for your intended audience to complete the task at hand.
The photo "Halloween kitty licks her lips.."by abbamouse
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