July 10th, 2012 / 12:24 pm
Author News

Web Purchase Is The Purest Narrative

On my adventures in corporate American marketing, I’ve come across a literary form that I believe is the purest, most perfect expression of human desire, passion, tragedy, longing, comedy, and love. In modern user experience design and eCommerce, this form is known as “Call To Action.” In its most common form it’s a digital image of button, with copy. It appears at the end of a poem about a product. When you see the button, you understand everything that there is to understand about your relationship to capital markets, to objects, and to human labor. Shorter than the novel, more emotive than the poem, and far more popular than the TV serial, the CTA is certainly in a golden age.

The CTA is a haiku for designed experience. The CTA expresses the purest intentions of corporate profit in the consumer realm. The button strikes a balance between the hyper control of a industrial democracy (be the chooser, be the user) and the hyper repression of a corporate socialism (understand your obligation to click for the greater good). It suggests everything and wants nothing in return. And yet – a simple click unlocks the darkest secrets of the Nu Testament of the post-industrial economy: the electronic information transfer, the money wire, the text field privacy drain. It is the memory of a machine interface – the image of control – yet totally designed to control the inner self. The CTA is brilliant, terrifying, and everywhere. Here are a few that I really like.


  1. drew kalbach

      i really liked the little T and F buttons at the very end.

  2. deadgod

      [Unsubscribing is futile.]

  3. Rivas

      Jesus.. fucking.. Christ. Should I laugh.

  4. shizhen