How do you get people to stop, turn around and look at what you have? One way is to turn something on its head. Case in point: Cee Lo Gren’s Fuck You song.
He took an Al Green-like melody and Motown sensibility and sings beautifully, smiling the whole time, telling this girl, “Fuck Yoooooouuuuu”. It’s funny and toe tapping and DIFFERENT. That is the key. He took a basic premise (Motown Music) and turned it on its head with modern lyrics.
You can do this in micro-UX ways that have macro-UX impact. If everyone calls the login page “Login” call yours “SpeedBump”. If everyone uses Arial, try embedding a font for a different look. If everyone goes top to bottom, go left to right. If everyone wears jeans, try khakis. Look for ways of standing out. Specifically, look for ways of producing unexpected wow. It is the most important aspect of that first impression.
Play offense, not defense. Don’t copy the competition and make it 12% better. Turn it on its head and see what happens. What are some examples of seeing something turned upside down that have inspired you?