Archives.com

Archives creates easy, affordable access to the world's largest database of historical records.

Archives was sold to Ancestry mid 2012, and hosts the 1940 Census for the National Archives.



Broadly speaking, I optimized Archives visitor flows for membership sign-ups and emotional engagement with the content.

I worked on visual design, front end development, and behavioral analytics over the course of dozens of multivariate tests.

Here are a few snapshots of my work:

This landing page started off as a plain search form, and I sought to find the perfect emotional hook. After doing market research and testing countless images, I settled on this portrait of a smug 1930s newsie, and positioned it to disrupt visual flow across the page and provide an evocative point of first contact. This image alone increased conversion by 20%

archives smug newsie


I ranked content by relevance to user motivations and re-arranged it to correspond to likely visual pathways. Beyond clickthrough, this subtle change increased conversion by a substantial margin.

archives visual flow


I arranged the background image to provide immediate emotional engagment as well as reinforce the visual pathway around a central call to action-not to mention establishing a nostalgic aesthetic that reinforces the brand identity and tone. Conversion rose significantly.

archives visual flow


This design introduced subtle visual barriers between form fields on a checkout page. This broke a taxing task into cognitively digestible peices (working memory is only 2-3 bits!) and set a series of implicit milestones.

archives visual flow