A website I've recently worked on has a fairly extensive product search. The search returns results from the company's affiliates as well as products that the company produces and sponsors.

A requirement of the search is that these "sponsored" items be highlighted, or shown in a manner that the users gets a sense of greater importance about them. Our attempted solution was to give the sponsored items a background color and the company's logo to highlight/draw attention to them.

Unfortunately, after some usability testing users were prone to skipping over these items and not giving them a second glance. In fact, some users even commented that "Sponsored Products!! Those must be ads." and proceeded to skip them.

What would be a good web design technique to draw attention to these products without giving them the feeling of an advertisement, or something "forced"? Does anyone have any resources/suggestions on this subject?

Thanks for your help!


Why not call them "Featured Products"? That way they are still clearly labeled as products for sale but still notes that they are special.


Or: Recommended. Or: Editors pick / webmasters pick / Best value / etc

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.