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Lift Model

Lift Model


The Lift model from Widerfunnel is a commonly used framework for evaluating a digital experience using a heuristic evaluation. It identifies six key factors that influence your conversion rate; the value proposition (which is core to any optimisation process), relevance, clarity, anxiety, distraction and urgency.

1. Value proposition

  • What is your value proposition  communicating to visitors and what is unique about your proposition compared to your competitors. A strong tagline can help this process by instantly communicating the nature of your proposition.

2. Relevance

  • How relevant is your message and content to the user, does it meet their expectations and how does it relate to the source of traffic or their buyer persona? A good buyer persona template can help you communicate key characteristics and needs of users to your design and marketing team.  Remember, content is not king – it has to serve a purpose and add value for the user.

3. Clarity

  • How clear is your value proposition, communicate a single compelling messages, what the next steps are, have a clear  visual hierarchy and call-to-actions? Ensure you use high-contrast design to make it easy for users to read and navigate your site.

4. Anxiety

  • How do you minimise anxiety at crucial stages of the user journey,  do you display security seals when appropriate, only ask for information that is needed, place non-mandatory fields on a welcome page and summarise your privacy policy using plain English? Not following web conventions can create anxiety because visitors learn to use them to easily navigate a website.

Another common mistake is not providing positive feedback to users in the form of progress indicators and the like. Remember the goal gradient effect means users are more motivated by how close they are to a goal rather than how much they have achieved. Even the perception of progress can help speed users along.

Image of the goal gradient effect

Avoid creating new icons for navigation because these can also create anxiety. Even the hamburger button performs worse in most tests than a simple menu label on a button. Labels always perform better than icons and hidden navigation reduces engagement.

5. Distraction

  • How do you prioritise content to reduce distractions, avoid complex backgrounds and have a single compelling CTA? Seek to minimise cognitive load by designing your site to avoid overloading users with unnecessary content and complex graphics.

6. Urgency

  • How do you create a sense of urgency for users to take action now rather than later? Do you use scarcity and loss aversion to create a urgency? Create a sense of scarcity by showing stock levels and display end dates for promotions.

7. Bonus

  • Visitors are not included in the model, but don’t forget about users and their decision styles. According to the nature of your market people make decisions in different ways. We naturally assume people are rational in their decision making. In reality visitors often use shortcuts to decision making, such as following recommendations from experts or peers, copying the behaviour of the crowd (the bandwagon effect) or simply guessing based upon simplistic criteria, such as who is top of mind.
Image of marketing strategies for each decision style

Image Source: Copy,Copy,Copy by Mark Earls

A/B testing with free tools like Google Optimize is the best way to validate an heuristic evaluation. If you are working on a major website or app, it’s always best to test changes first in case it has a negative impact on conversion. If you are a developer and code tests check out these top tips and tricks for coding experiments.


Heuristic evaluation – How to conduct a heuristic evaluation of a website.

A/B testing software – Which A/B testing tools should you choose?

Types of A/B tests – How to optimise your website’s performance using A/B testing.


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