How we improved conversion by changing one word

How we improved conversion by changing one word

Dana Calderone
Product Manager
March 22, 2022

Words are everywhere, including in just about every app we use. This means that words matter.

And sometimes, what matters even more than words, plural, is a word, singular. It’s one shiny gem rather than words strung together like beads on a necklace to make a sentence.

And sometimes, believe it or not, the word doesn’t have anything to do with jewelry or jewelry metaphors at all. In this case, in the Shortcut app, that word is “Workspace” where it once said “Company”.

And it gave us a higher conversion rate.

Allow us to explain.

An experimentation mindset

No test is too small when you have an experimentation mindset. Just think of our Growth and Activation squad as a team of mad scientists, concocting all kinds of things behind those kanban boards.

At Shortcut, we believe that small changes can make a big impact, especially when developing software using agile methodologies - which is to say we are constantly building, measuring, and learning.

To drive consistent optimization, the cadence for all this building, measuring, and learning must be quick, and the best way to accomplish this is to foster a team with an experimentation mindset.

At Shortcut, we think of releases as experiments, and we don’t release anything that we can’t measure. Our team has a consistent pulse on how we’re performing against our KPIs, and we are constantly ideating, building, and releasing experiments that we think will improve those KPI metrics.

KPIs - classic business stuff!

For example, our Growth & Activation squad is responsible for the completion rate of our signup flow.

When subscribers first sign up for Shortcut, there are a few steps they take in terms of a sign-up form before delving into the product. We call these couple of steps our “signup flow”.

Much like we enjoy putting the flow in your workflow, we also like to put the flow in our signup flow.

It’s the Growth & Activation Squad's responsibility to optimize the number of people, our potential customers, who get through this signup flow successfully. The more people who get through the signup process, the more people who get to experience our lightweight but powerful product - the product software engineers are calling, “Not bad at all.”

Identifying the problem

As the Growth & Activation squad measured the completion rate for the signup flow, we noticed something odd: a lot of people were getting stuck on the very first step of signup. This step was as simple as filling in a “Company Name.”

Because Shortcut is a B2B tool meant for collaboration, we used the phrase “Company Name” so that your teammates could join you in your Shortcut instance.

Seems straightforward, right?

But when we looked at the data, we saw that almost half of the users got stuck at this step.

Searching for answers

We scratched our heads - how often do people really do this while thinking, by the way? Alas, an experiment for another day - and wondered why people seemed to struggle so much with filling in their company name when prompted.

Were they in the wrong place?

Did adding a company name feel like too big of a hurdle? And if so, why?

What better way to figure out the problem than to stop scratching our heads and instead collaborate with our researchers, to survey our customers and ask them.

So we did just that. Using a tool called Chameleon we launched a survey that would appear to users after they spent more than 30 seconds on our “Company Name” landing page of signup. We gave them several drop-down selections to answer the question: “What is preventing you from completing this step?”

They could choose from the following:

  • I don’t have a company name
  • I’m not sure about a company name just yet
  • I’m trying to join my teammates in Shortcut
  • I’m not ready to move forward
  • Other

As we ran this survey for several weeks, a clear trend seemed to emerge.

By far, the biggest reason users struggled with this step was because the user didn’t have a company name.

A quick iteration

So they didn’t have a company name, but what exactly did that mean?

What’s in a name, after all?

Were they exploring Shortcut for personal use? Were these potential users looking for a different kind of app altogether?

To get to a more detailed answer, we quickly added a follow-up option to our survey: “I am working on a personal project”.

This way, we had a way to measure the distinction between users who don’t have a company name from users who are using Shortcut for a personal project.

And what do you know? Lots of our survey respondents started to select that the user was working on a personal project.

And NOW we were getting somewhere.

Leveraging data to create a hypothesis

So we knew users who struggled at this step of signup largely (1) did not have a company name OR (2) they were working on a personal project. This insight led us to the following hypothesis:

The word “Company” in “Company Name” is too specific, and users who don’t identify with having a company struggle to get beyond this step as a result. By adjusting this form field to represent something less specific than a “Company,” we can increase the completion rate of this step.

So what is less specific than a company in Shortcut? A workspace, of course. A gem of a word.

So we moved quickly to act on our hypothesis. We launched an A/B test where we changed one word. “Company Name” became “Workspace Name”.

Experiment results

The results were astonishing. Not only did the “Workspace” variation outperform the “Company” control, but we quickly saw our A/B test hit statistical significance.

📚 Read a case study: Thirty Madison Scales with Shortcut During Explosive Growth


No test is too small when you have an experimentation mindset.

Sometimes things that seem small to you make a big difference to your users. But if your team is regimented about consistently uncovering problems, hypothesizing how to solve those problems, and leveraging rapid experimentation to validate your hypotheses (aka build, measure, and learn) then you will see results.

So. Bottom line. Experiment mindsets, mad scientists, words, jewelry, making tweaks, action buttons, conversion rate optimization…. The devil, as they say, is in the details, and no detail is too small when it comes to creating the best possible user experience for our Shortcut customers.

So check out how we put the flow in our signup flow, and get started by setting up your own Workspace - whether that’s for a personal project or an entire company.

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