In a Californian market, a study was carried out with jam jars. The experiment consisted of having either 6 or 24 jars of jam on show. 60 percent of customers took notice of the larger selection, while only 40 percent stopped by the small one. Interestingly though, 30 percent of customers who were presented with the smaller selection decided to buy while the selection with more choice only produced sales from 3 percent of customers.
In other words, reducing the jar selection from 24 to 6 increased the number of jars sold by more than 6 times.
Giving people less choice made it more likely for them to complete the task of buying something. People are more likely to complete the task at hand if you give them fewer options at once. Give them too much choice and it becomes harder to make a decision.
Reducing distractions by giving people fewer things to focus on can help improve conversion rates in web design which is why you’ll often see the header navigation missing on the checkout process of an eCommerce site.
You know what a visitor likely wants to do at this stage so removing unnecessary distractions allows the shopper to focus more easily on completing their purchase.
Checkout pages aren’t the only place isolating pages is effective. Registration pages can benefit from this technique too. As you can see in the screenshot below, creating a new account on Amazon is also isolated from the rest of the site, with no navigation.
Another example is Gilt’s registration page:
One more example from a software service called Freckle:
In fact, pretty much any page where you want a user to complete one task benefits from isolation. Landing pages and sales pages are good examples. We only want people to sign up with their email and all the information they need is on that page.
Once you know about this simple but effective technique, you’ll notice it everywhere, because it works and it’s very simple to implement.