Caricatures Get a Makeover

September 8, 2010 Steve

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a short post on Matt from Caricature King, the man behind the company that made the [flattering] caricatures for all the Affiliate Docs (it’s not too late to enter the competition to win a caricature btw ;-) ). Matt took the brave step and submitted his site to Affiliate Doctors for a general review and some pointers on how he can improve his conversion rate. Matt asks:


I would like some opinions on how to increase the conversion rate at Caricature King.

Traffic is healthy, and while many may be just stopping by to look at the images, I feel there is more conversion upside that can be achieved. I have tried various approaches, but with a product that is not just click and buy, KISS is essential. I think it is, but is it?

Many thanks.


Click To Enlarge

Here’s what Dan and Kier had to say …


Hi Matt, how are you? I think you are right when you say that simple is better for this site.

Using & ordering through the site is a very complicated experience at the moment.

The site has quite a complicated ordering process. That’s likely to be the hardest thing to change, so I won’t cover that here. Instead I will just give you a few ideas of things I might change, and show you one example of how you could simplify the ‘artist sample’ page.


A lot of people will tell you to dive into google analytics & find the drop off points, run some A/B testing, and things like that. I think though, before you do any of that, just go through the site a few times pretending you are a potential customer. There are lots of confusing elements on the site and, I think if you pretend you’ve never seen the site before, you’ll easily spot them & be able to clean them up.

If you go through each page, look at each element, asking “by having this here, am I making this page more or less confusing? would a new visitor be more or less likely to buy when they see this?”

Here are a few examples of things to fix:


At the top of every page on the site, it says “A caricature artist’s market place. Promoting artists since 2005.” That doesn’t really tell a visitor what you do. I suspect if you asked 10 people on the street “what is a caricature artist’s market place?”, you’d get 10 very confused looks. Instead you might want to choose something simple like “Order wonderful personalised gifts from the world’s greatest caricature artists”.


There’s a “sign up for our email to win a free caricature” box right in the middle of the homepage.

There are 2 things I would fix there:

1. It doesn’t actually work – it gives a server error if you use it. Obviously error messages make sites feel untrustworthy.

2. You’re giving people the chance to win your only product. Perhaps you could give them a ‘how to draw caricatures’ guide instead?


At the moment you just show caricatures on the homepage. I’d be tempted to show the ‘before’ photos too. That’s just a gut feeling.

I’d remove the ‘buy in US $ | buy in AUST $ | Buy in EURO’ from the homepage. I doubt that you’d lose any sales by asking the visitors to view more samples of each artist, with “View more samples from Ben” rather than just “More samples” for example.


Taking Shane’s page as an example. I think you could hugely simplify these pages. The page begins with ‘CLICK HERE to see estimated delivery times for Shane’. So I click that and it takes me to another page that just lists all the artists & their delivery times. I think “hang on, who was the artist I was looking at again?” & I try to click back but you’ve popped up a new window so the back button doesn’t work. I finally go close the window, go back & then I have to remember that it’s 10 working days. All of that could be avoided if you just published the estimated delivery times on the artist pages.

Further down this page, you tell the visitor that there are discounts of 8%, 11%, 15%, etc. But there are no prices on that page so this is meaningless information at this stage.

Rather than carry on like this, I thought I’d illustrate one way of simplifying it with a mockup.

Click the thumbnails below for a ‘before’ & ‘after’ example:



These complications & confusing elements continue through the price & order process. I would go through the rest of the pages on the site, following the same process of removing/fixing anything that’s confusing & simplifying everything where possible. Do it page by page to make sure results are improving rather than decreasing & you should be onto a winner.

Let me know if this was any use & if I can help in any other way.


P.S. 2 bonus thoughts:

Bonus thought 1: It gets recommended by everyone but, just in case you haven’t read it, “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug is a great book on fixing problems like this through user testing.

Bonus thought 2: If you do want to see what some actual users think, & have some very cheap user video services.


Hi Matt

I’ll admit to not knowing a huge amount about caricatures but the first thing that struck me when I looked at the homepage was that the caricatures you show on the front page could be good or bad but I don’t know, because they aren’t of people I know! Until I click through and see the photos of the people involved it makes it a difficult process to choose more. As such I’d advise you get your artists to knock up some caricatures of instantly recognisable celebs for the homepage so people can judge the quality of their work more easily.

Overall the site feels far too cluttered. There’s lots of interesting stuff in there to make people want to buy, but it’s disorganised and the purchase side of things feels like an afterthought. I would consider substantially simplifying the options in the navigation panel on the left so there is more focus on what you want people to do, which is BUY. You can keep the same content in there, but make it more organised and further from the homepage where the user will land by having nested options within the navigaion, and of course, on each page make sure that the user can go straight to the purchase process at any time. The purchases process itself is far too complicated and text heavy, get this as clean, intuitive and simple as you can. If someone is ready to buy then you want to put as little resistance as possible between them having that intention and following through on it. Also kill that floating competition box, it’s really frustrating!

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Filed under: Conversion, Surgery

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2 Responses to “Caricatures Get a Makeover”

  1. Thanks guys. Sorry for the late reply – I was away.

    I will be sitting down and making changes over the next few weeks along the lines of your recommendations. I will do most offline then upload, so it will be a major change rather than incremental.
    Thanks again!!

  2. I have been implementing some of the suggestions and the conversion rate does indeed appear to have climbed, as well as the pages looking cleaner and more functional.
    Thanks guys!!

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