What does the future of work look like? Flexible, do what you love, and be measured by outcome, not hours.
I have never been a victim of the traditional 9-6 job. As mentioned here, I am selective to find companies and teams that I know I'd enjoy working there so much that I put in a 300% effort.
Ever since COVID-19 happened and my last team moved to a fully remote environment, I've imagined what working will look like in the near future.
It is going to be more decentralized (the next level of the gig economy), with individuals not just executing freelance projects for employers, but they also build sustainable, paid products that can support their lives. This is already happening, and I documented some examples in my Building in Public Definitive Guide.
And that brings us to why I'm talking about Contra.
Getting to know Contra
Last week, I stumbled upon Contra. I'm not going to tell you what they do just yet, because that's the whole purpose of this post.
I was impressed by their vision and community, so I browsed some more and saw that they were looking for ambassadors. I clicked in, motivated by my curiosity, and saw an application form with a question "How would you change / improve our current landing pages?"
I wanted to apply and connect with these awesome people!, so I did. And this post is my answer to the question they posted.
An exercise: visit this homepage
I want to take you through the entire thought process. You'll take a look at their homepage just like any new visitor. Click below and read the entire page.
Click here to enlarge this image below:
What I love
Branding is strong. Contra shows a lot of character and personality, and I want to learn more about the futuristic concept of this platform. The site uses a lot of human faces which is great for any website, but particularly a people-oriented product.
The site doesn't overwhelm a new visitor. CTA is very clear: they have an exclusive platform and whoever wants to get in must get an invite.
For people who want more info, they have a detailed FAQ page.
My first visitor experience
Now, you and I have both visited the website. We have a first impression of what Contra is about. Next I am going to share what I was thinking when I visited the first time.
- When I landed on the homepage, I read the words "professional network" and I saw some faces of young working professionals. This showed me that it is a "social" "community" type of network.
- I scrolled down, I had no idea what "Waka Coffee Branding" meant. I read more words "not a resume", "celebrate with people" and "showcase skills". This reminded me of a network like LinkedIn, but I was guessing this is a different network that is more engaging and fun. "Create a supercharged referral network", what was that?
- I scrolled down more, I read "not networking", "community of people that I'd want to work with", and "discover opportunities". I was thinking it is not a platform for people to network, but for people to find opportunities (whatever that means). "Take back your news feed", what was that?
- I scrolled down again, I read "your independent journey", "find flexible work opportunities". Ahhh, finally it made sense. It is a network I can find work.
- I saw the testimonial section with Li Jin saying "do what they love and earn an income". Okay, this all made more sense: find work and make an income.
- I went over to the Mission page, "empowering you to do what you love" and "give everyone the freedom and opportunity to work independently." I fully got it at this point. It is a platform that helps people get away from 9-5 job, find work they love, and make an income.
How I'd improve this landing page
⭐ Core value proposition
It took me some time until "find flexible work opportunities" to get the first glimpse of what this company does. Most people don't have the same patience and would bounce after reading "resume" as the word implies Contra is a new solution to replace a traditional resume.
If the platform stands for "helping people get away from 9-5 job, find work they love, and make an income". This can be communicated above the fold, so visitors can understand the outcome immediately, then go on to find out what features Contra provides to make that happen. I'd move the 3rd point "find flexible work opportunities" up to the 1st point.
🌄 Visuals with intention
Branding is nice, yet some visuals are confusing to a new visitor. "Waka Coffee Branding" created confusion for me as I was unable to relate it to a new version of resume. I'd use the UI of the profile page to show how each person has their own creative way to showcase skills.
At this point, visitors understand Contra is about finding work opportunities, so having a profile to showcase makes sense.
📌 Copywriting that is direct
Words like "not resume" and "not networking" are used to draw a clear line between Contra and resume/networking. However, the words were doing the opposite when I first visited.
When I read "not resume", I instantly pictured that it is a new profile to showcase a person. And when I read "Not networking", I imagined Contra to be a way to connect people but not in the boring, traditional way. These are the value propositions of Contra, but what I observed is that it took me a lot more time to imagine and figure out the truth. I'd rewrite using straightforward words so that visitors can get it instantly without second guessing.
🍳 Hidden easter egg
The above-the-fold animation on the avatar is cool. It told me that this brand emphasizes social and fun. Since most people don't know about the hover effect, I'd suggest to not rely on these bubbles to present key messages.
Takeaways for designing landing pages
- Place the core value proposition upfront. Aim to show it to a new visitor within the first 5 seconds.
- Landing pages are often a collaborative work between Marketing & Product teams. Most people on the teams already understand the product inside out, so it is common to lay out the information on the page in a logical way. The hardest part is to erase that memory in one's brain and pretend to be a new visitor who is just reading the page for the first time. The way I think about it: each 5 seconds must provide valuable information to get the visitors to stay 5 more seconds.
- UI designers create the visuals on the page. They must be provided with the intended message behind each visual before they design them. Ask: what is this visual supposed to tell the visitors?
- Be very careful with the "we're not" statements. Do they help or trick the visitors?
As usual, it is much easier for an outsider to comment from a fresh perspective. This is by no means saying that the team at Contra is doing a bad job. My intention of this post is to share a few ways I look at landing pages, hoping it'll inspire others to review their landing pages and convert more visitors.
Lastly, check out Contra if you're an independent worker or plan to be one.