Testing, and being tested: the Nerd Twins try out Unbounce and Instapage


I am far from tech-stupid. M even less so: he’s a bonafide techie, and a genius to boot. But Unbounce tested us both a bit, and that’s not a good sign. If two self-confessed nerds with higher-than-average computer skills find the UI frustrating, what chance does the average user have?

In our quest for a landing page creation platform, Unbounce was our first port of call, and we came to it with great enthusiasm, as it had been recommended by a Proper Marketing Person. We screen-shared on Skype, and admired the name (“Un-bounce: get it? As in, you don’t bounce off the page!”) and the variety of different templates on offer. M signed up for a free 30-day trial on one of the Pro packages, while I created a free account. Our next step was to add me as a team member on M’s account, so we could collaborate on building our pages. First hurdle: it really isn’t immediately obvious how you may achieve this. It took almost ten minutes of increasingly agitated clicking and muttering to finally complete this seemingly simple task. I then had to consult the Support section to figure out how to rename the Default Client, when all I wanted was to get started on building our page. This did not serve to ease my frustration.

I am not a reviewer, and this is not a review; I am not going to go into a detailed description of the page-building features of Unbounce, or the holes I dug myself into in the three hours I spent navigating it. (Suffice to say: there was slamming of fists on desk, and several repetitions of the word “fuck” and variants thereof.) All I can tell you is that, once I finally came to actually building this page – with slightly less enthusiasm than when we started – I found it just that tiny bit too complicated; just enough to send me bouncing off in search of other alternatives. And yes, I am certain the experience would improve with time. And yes, it would no doubt help if I took the time to consult the Getting Started guide provided. But, really, I just wanted to go straight in there and create a functional page. So I bounced off, and landed on Instapage.

In Unbounce’s defence, it arguably isn’t targeted at the average user I mentioned before; it’s made for marketing professionals who, presumably, have both the time and the motivation to study the thing, use all the available resources (and there are a lot – these guys have a whole Academy of tutorials and e-courses) and get the best out of Unbounce. But that’s not us: we want a platform that’s easy to use, and that takes the effort out of our marketing efforts. And we don’t want to invest too much time in trying to figure it out because, frankly, our time is best spent on other things – namely, creating these products we’re trying to promote.

Giving things a chance is good, but you gotta know when to give up. So we closed down the Unbounce account, and (after a cursory look at a couple of other platforms) promptly signed up for Instapage. I like Instapage: it’s clean, it’s friendly, and there aren’t anywhere near as many holes for me to fall into. It just makes sense. M and I both ventured into the page builder last night, and came out the other side undamaged, with a couple of pretty cool landing pages [check mine out] and smiles on our faces. And that is a good sign. Oh, and Instapage have been talking to us on Twitter. Which is nice. And I’m a sucker for nice. So I think we’ll stick around.


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