Pricing Tables: Examples And Best Practices

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Pricing tables play an important role for every company that offers products or services. They are a challenge from both a design and usability standpoint. They must be simple but at the same time clearly differentiate between features and prices of different products and services.

A pricing table should help users pick the most appropriate plan for them. A company should carefully examine its product portfolio and pick the most important features to present in its pricing plans. Visitors should be given only the information they would be interested in: available features, options and costs. The rule of thumb is: every unnecessary cell in your pricing table increases the probability of losing potential customers, because you make it more difficult for them to compare various plans and select the best one.

Once you have identified the most important features, go ahead and create a more detailed list of features for users who are interested in a particular plan. Users must know what kind of a product they are spending their money on and all of the features associated with it.

For a good grounding in exactly how to design and present a pricing table, let’s examine some that other designers have created and analyze them according to the following important criteria:

  • Design: colors, style, typography, icons.
  • Usability: What happens if we turn off CSS and JavaScript? Is it still usable?

You may also want to take a look at the following related articles:

Best Practices and Guidelines

Designing a pricing table is a tricky task. A pricing table is a design element that requires the designer to communicate information clearly and precisely, exposing as many features as possible and making it as easy and as intuitive as possible for a user to make the best choice.

1. Communicate not too much and not too little

Intuitively, one would assume that a feature-rich pricing table with dozens of various aspects would make a good impression on potential customers. However, the more information you provide, the more information visitors need to absorb.

TypePad8 (screenshot below) uses a quite lengthy pricing table. Although it’s informative and goes into detail to explain the differences between various plans, it is really hard to scan: users need to remember which plan each column represents. Furthermore, although the plan titles are mentioned at the bottom of the table, the prices are not mentioned there. So a user who has landed below the middle of the table will have to scroll to the top to see how much each plan costs.

TypePad Price Table9

ConceptShare10 is an example of a short but concise and visually appealing form. Notice that the fourth row of the table combines two aspects (users and reviewers) in a single row and avoids a fifth unnecessary field. This is a beautiful and informative pricing table.

ConceptShare Price Table11

Still, it’s important that your visitors get a good understanding of the differences between different plans. Communicate not too much and not too little. If a potential customer walks into your store and wants to know the difference between two specific devices, you wouldn’t explain the similarities between the devices first, right? Communicate the information that your visitors are looking for; they will be grateful. This leads to our second point.

2. Communicate differences, not similarities

Instead of focusing on displaying similar features of available plans, communicate the differences between them. It is often a good idea to visually distinguish between similar features (available in all plans) and special features (available in only some plans). To achieve this, you could place the most distinctive features at the top of the table while leaving the common features at the bottom of the table.

Take a look at eTribes.com’s pricing table12 (screenshot below). The design manages to communicate the differences effectively while conveying additional information. The choice of icons fits the overall design and supports, rather than distracts, the visitor. This is effective and user-friendly.

etribes.com Price Table13

3. Make the price stand out

Price is the first thing users want to see when they visit a product or service website, and leaving it out is the number one design mistake on B2B and B2C websites. So, you had better make sure you show it to your visitors as quickly and as clearly as possible.

Font selection usually depends on the type of product or service offered, and it also must be consistent with the overall design. On many pricing tables, the font size of prices, titles and important headlines are larger and stronger to make them stand out. As a designer, you need to make sure that the price is given the appropriate weight, both visually and semantically.

Wufoo Price Table14

Basecamp Price Table15

It is also a good idea to sort pricing plans by price, from highest to lowest or vice versa. Because users scan websites in an F-shape, some designers put the cheapest offer on the left side of the table, so that users see it first. It’s in designer’s best interest to make sure that users see the most attractive offer first.

4. Use visuals sparingly

Unfortunately, many of the designs we are considering in this showcase have one major shortcoming: they use overly vibrant visuals too often and often for the wrong purpose. Designers try to make pricing plans look as attractive as possible, and, apparently, numerous green check marks and red crosses are supposed to help to achieve this effect.

And if these icons are spread widely across the table, then with each additional feature it becomes increasingly harder for visitors to read the table and identify differences between plans.

Beanstalk16 communicates its information effectively while avoiding the visual noise. The support of a feature is indicated by a neutral circle that doesn’t distract the eye but conveys the message. Plans that do not have a particular feature simply do not have a circle in the corresponding cell.

Beanstalk Price Table17

Planhq.com18 uses green check marks but not red crosses. In fact, why should crosses be used at all? If you can remove unnecessary elements from your design, you should remove them, right?

Planhq.com Price Table19

Goodbarry.com4120 uses color to indicate the main details in the table. Notice how the font-size is used to make the different pricing plans more distinctive. Also notice how well green is used to animate the visitors into trying out the product.

GoodBarry Price Table4221

So, use visuals sparingly and avoid visual noise. Feel free to use icons if you are sure they are not too vibrant and if they help a user’s understanding of the table and, more importantly, convey some information. For instance, a green check mark next to the word “Unlimited” does not convey any information.

It’s important also that icons and thumbnails be extremely useful. For instance, if a table compares physical products, then thumbnail of those products should be present.

Dell.com Price Table22

Almost all of the pricing tables we’ve examined use different background colors to differentiate pricing plans. Designers use color theory and vivid colors to keep the visitor’s focus on the specific plan that the company wants the most sales on.

CrazyEgg.com Price Table23

5. Illustrate the difference vividly

Some designers use illlustrations and vivid images to clearly illustrate the difference between various plans in a memorable way. Metaphors (e.g. cartoons) are used very often. For instance, if a company is offering the poll service in several various plans, you may want to use a “lightweight” box with tools for a lite version and a bigger, larger toolbox for the corporate version. In fact, that’s what wany designers do.

Movable Type Price Table6224

Dropsend Price Table5425

Litmus Application Price Table4026

Jigsaw Price Table7827

6. Be consistent in your design

All website elements, not only pricing tables, should be consistent with the overall design. BigFilebox.com28 makes the mistake of breaking this rule:

BigFilebox.com Price Table29

The second pricing table’s design is not consistent with the website’s whole design.

7. Don’t lose your customers

On a product or service website, pricing tables play an important role in making a successful sale. Pricing tables are the window to a product; therefore, it is important that they be usable and accessible to everyone.

Pricing tables should support not just modern Web browsers, but all forms of Web browsers, screen readers, etc. Companies can create pricing tables that are rich in features and effects, but they should make these features unobtrusive for users with browsers that do not have CSS or JavaScript enabled.

This is one example of how a pricing table should look when CSS and JavaScript is disabled:

FiltrBox Price Table30

An example of a pricing table that uses JavaScript obtrusively is on mailchimp.com31:

Mailchimp Price Table32

If you go to this pricing table and click on the “View plan details…” links, you will see a JavaScript accordion effect showing hidden elements. If we disable JavaScript in our browsers, the links don’t work anymore. One solution to this problem would be to show all hidden elements when JavaScript is disabled.

Pricing Table Showcase

Horizontal or vertical? Which should a designer choose? Either a horizontal or vertical layout is good as long as the plan’s features are clearly separated; although there is a strong trend towards column-based (vertical) layouts.

ActionThis33

ActionThis Price Table34

Squarespace35

Squarespace Price Table36

Tickspot37

Tickspot Price Table38

Litmusapp.com39

Litmus Application Price Table4026

Goodbarry.com4120

GoodBarry Price Table4221

Bigcartel.com43

Bigcartel Price Table44

Blinksale.com45

Blinksale Price Table46

Polldaddy.com47

Polldaddy Price Table48

iPhone T-Mobile49

iPhone T-Mobile Price Table50

Fluxiom.com51

Fluxiom Price Table52

Dropsend.com53

Dropsend Price Table5425

Brightbox.com55

Brightbox Price Table56

Spokeo.com/hr57

Spokeo Price Table58

Movabletype59 (the pricing table is no longer available)

Movable Type Price Table60

Zendesk61 (the pricing table is no longer available)

Movable Type Price Table6224

iPhone63

Apple iPhone Price Table64

Harvest65

Harvest Price Table66

Github.com67

Github Price Table68

FetchApp.com69

Fetch Price Table70

RescueTime71

RescueTime Price Table72

Shutterstock73

Shutterstock Price Table74

Intervals75

Intervals Price Table76

Jigsaw77

Jigsaw Price Table7827

Cozimo.com Price Table79

DabbleDB80

DabbleDB Price Table81

activeCollab82

activeCollab Price Table83

Zoho Projects84

Zoho Projects Price Table85

TiVo86

TiVo Price Table87

Apple MobileMe88

MobileMe Price Table89

Analysis-one90

Analysis-one Price Table91

ProofHQ92

ProofHQ Price Table93

Backboard94

Backboard Price Table95

ExpressionEngine96

Expression Engine Price Table97

You can find more examples of pricing tables in Christian Watson’s showcase Pricing Tables98.

Best Practices: Summary

  • All elements, including pricing tables, should be consistent with the overall design of your website.
  • Use background colors to visually separate different plans, but sparingly.
  • Just as photographers draw attention to where they want in their images, so with price tables, make the sections that you want to draw attention to stand out.
  • Use different font sizes and colors for titles and important headlines.
  • Place important features at the top left of the table, according to the F-pattern99 of scanning Web pages.
  • Use unobtrusive CSS and JavaScript techniques when designing a pricing table.
  • Always show the prices of your plans.
  • If your feature list is too long (i.e. doesn’t fit in the browser’s visible area), then make sure to present your plan names, prices and selection options at both the top and bottom of the pricing table.
  • Mention the currency of your prices to avoid confusion, because a “$” sign could represent US, Canadian or Australian dollars.

Related articles

You may also want to take a look at the following related articles:

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György Fekete is a Web developer with 5 years of experience in Web design and development. He is the founder of Primal Skill Ltd., an established Romanian Web design and development studio.

  1. 1

    so coooool~ :-)

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  2. 2

    Really cool. Just what I was looking for. I have been looking for some ideas for similar table styles for my next project and boom, smashing magazine made i easy for me.

    Keep it up guys. You work very hard on these. Thank you.

    0
  3. 3

    Great one!

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  4. 4

    Nice post :)

    1
  5. 5

    Good post, better than the movie posters for sure.

    1
  6. 6

    Master of the collection is really good all-round, thank you

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  7. 7

    Very nice article, I just happened to be working on a site where I can directly apply this, very inspirational!

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  8. 8

    Great post. We’ll be using some of these techniques very soon in mailings to show how we compare to our competitor pricing, etc.

    Keep up the fantastic article ideas!

    0
  9. 9

    Nice Post……

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  10. 10

    Great article. Inspired a lot for projects in the future.

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  11. 11

    Every site has its own design, but keeping these in mind certainly takes them to the next level. Very inspiring SM. Thanks!

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  12. 12

    Great post idea. I love the way apple.com does it too.

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  13. 13

    great article. lot of inspiration for projects. thanks

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  14. 14

    wherearetheothers

    October 13, 2008 11:07 pm

    This is an awful post, I read it with a real interest.

    @ “Place important features at the top left of the table, according to the F-pattern of scanning Web pages.”
    - Right, & I noticed that times the cheapest price is put to the left, and other times on right.

    From your point of view, as the Westerner order of reading is: left – right, the cheapest price should not always it be put to the left, and the highest on right, to show an evolution?

    -1
  15. 15
  16. 16

    Hi !
    If you want some examples of pricing tables, you can visit my website, where i publish One Pricing Table / Day Tarifiweb

    Thanks for the article !

    -1
  17. 17

    Invaluable source of information, thank you very much TSM !

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  18. 18

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    October 14, 2008 12:25 am

    @wherearetheothers (#14): please read the article carefully. We have written: “Because users scan websites in an F-shape, some designers put the cheapest offer on the left side of the table, so that users see it first.” And please, don’t misinterpret the article.

    2
  19. 19

    very nice article and also great practices thanx a lot

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  20. 20

    Thanks Smashing Magazine, as I’m about to redesign our web hosting site and this is exactly the sort of post I needed to get started.

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  21. 21

    Thanks… its a great article. all these days i was struggling hard, but this post…. awesome.

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  22. 22

    Love it! The posts you guys publish are absolutely awesome! Keep up the fantastic work!

    0
  23. 23

    Like the concept share sign up form it is really clean, simple and clear. Dream host has a pretty good well designed sign up form. Always impressed me, I thought I would see it here.

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  24. 24

    Cool. I saw the name of the article and thought it would bore me. I looked at every single one with interest and ideas. Haha.

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  25. 25

    Very exhaustingly! Some designers did really good work.

    0
  26. 26

    A nicely written article with some great examples. Thanks!

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  27. 27

    Thanks, was looking for a similar article just last week

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  28. 28

    “In fact, that’s what wany designers do.”

    You are supposed to write “many”, right? Nice article anyways!

    0
  29. 29

    In my projects I frequently use tables, is elemental to financial websites!! Nice post!

    Cya
    Andy Montoya

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  30. 30

    Excellent Article and Showcase, as a designer I hate designing tables and charts but “you gotta do what you gotta do” will be using this as a reference on future table torture jobs.

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  31. 31

    Great article! Just needed this for a current project. Thanks a lot!

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  32. 32

    Cool stuff man, i dig it!

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  33. 33

    awesome informative article. will change the way we do our pricing tables for sure!

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  34. 34

    Very good examples of pricing. I have reworked our pricing page a bunch. Each time it gets more more simple. I work in an industry where it can be very difficult to represent pricing in an easy way. We tried very had to bring down the amount of content it took to describe our pricing. I wish I had seen this article before I did this last re-design but I didn’t so I was hoping I could get your opinion if you have a second. Please check it out and let me know

    0
  35. 35

    Christopher Ross (thisismyurl.com)

    October 14, 2008 7:17 am

    Great article! I remember reading something similar in How magazine years ago, it became a staple for laying out tabular data. Chris

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  36. 36

    Good Job!!!

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  37. 37

    dev(Www.iHaCK.ASIA)

    October 14, 2008 8:29 am

    Some of the design really good, love it,and some of them not really good in color

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  38. 38

    Nice post. I have always been a fan of Expression Engine’s table(s). Simple, yet very clean and effective.

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  39. 39

    wherearetheothers

    October 14, 2008 11:00 am

    @Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz (# 18): I didn’t notice this sentence, so I apologize for the too quick comment.

    “And please, don’t misinterpret the article.” : It was not with the intention of harming, I simply want to know more about it.

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  40. 40

    Very chuffed to appear on this list (etribes) which was very influenced by Basecamp

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  41. 41

    WOW! Thank you so much for this great resource, inspiration, whatever you want to call this. I can definitely use this as a reference when creating tables for my webdesigns.

    Jad Graphics
    http://www.jadgraphics.net

    0
  42. 42

    nice collection of pricing tables, György. I’m currently working on an internal application for a client, with lots of information displayed on tables and grids. This article came at the right time! Thanks!

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  43. 43

    noice! we have just started looking into creating a product matrix these will come in handy for the artwork.

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  44. 44

    Thanks guys, this is really informative and well researched. We’re using it as the basis for a pricing table we’re putting together ourselves at voeveo.

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  45. 45

    Excellent article! Very useful for those who start their business and need to create good visibility on their offer and pricing.

    Pricing tables are the best tools to present our differenciation points and so defend our prices.

    And it’s a good way to know ourselves what we offer and which price we make.

    0
  46. 46

    Great article. Loving the Crazy Egg pricing table.

    0
  47. 47

    Fantastic article! I really appreciate it. I’ve search something like this for days, for inspiration, than I design my own. See it here: http://whodo.es/plans

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  48. 48

    Simply Amazing..

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  49. 49

    Great one. I just needed to make such a table and one of them appeared quite inspiring. Thanks.

    1
  50. 50

    u guys rock man !!
    kuddos n superb .. hey u must also someday show some damn good examples of login page.. sign up page..and thinngs whih r common on sites.. but for sure to read ur articles have become a habit now.. CHEERS!!

    0
  51. 51

    Nice collection! Many thx for this!

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  52. 52

    Very nice collection of pricing tables, I will definitely use this in the future.

    0
  53. 53

    This article is suspiciously like an expanded version of this one, posted 3 days before this one on brainfuel: http://www.brainfuel.tv/web-app-pricing-tier-comparisons. Come one smashing! At least acknowledge sources!

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  54. 54

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    October 17, 2008 1:52 am

    @Fionnuala (#53): we did not copy the article – you know that we would never do that. In fact, we have never seen this article before. For your information: we collect examples for our posts 30-60 days, so it must be a coincidence.

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  55. 55

    excellent article – thorough and informative – just how we like it

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  56. 56

    I love smashingmagazine and most of the articles are great, but for this I gotta say it is only dealing with presenting one form of data set – the package is on the column and the items include in the package are in the rows. This work wonderfully and perfectly when it comes to sales of various hosting services, emails, hardware, but doesn’t really deal with other industries e.g. theme parks where data has to be presented in a different format as the dynamics of sales is rather different.

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  57. 57

    I never though there was anything like pricing table . i first found this in this website. Good work.

    0
  58. 58

    Brilliant article. One I’ve bookmarked for future usage — I was trying to search for this a few days ago under “pricing comparison” or “feature comparison” and am glad I found it! :D

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  59. 59

    Great post,

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  60. 60

    Very helpful post!

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  61. 61

    oh,great works,really helpfull things

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  62. 62

    Mark van Beek (mediablok.nl)

    April 3, 2009 1:09 am

    We are just in the process of creating price-tables for one of oure products. Youre timing couldn’t be better. Thanks for sharing this great piece of information.
    Mark

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  63. 63

    Tahitian Noni Juice UK

    April 24, 2009 4:50 am

    A great post and very detailed. We’ll try it out on our website very soon for our new Tahitian Noni Juice subscription plans

    0
  64. 64

    WOW.

    I really never thought so intently about the design of my pricing tables. Thank you for prompting me to take another look at them all.

    Off to re-woork my websites.

    0
  65. 65

    As I’m up to this stage in designing my site, I decided I’d come check out Smashing Mag to see if you guys had done an article on comparison / pricing tables.

    You guys never disappoint me – this article is bookmarked and boy am I gonna have fun designing my table :)

    0
  66. 66

    Great list for table design. I think this is an important because most will not read! It is so difficult to get web viewers to actually read content. If you make it easy to absorb the data, and laid out in an attractive way more users will read. NOW this doesn’t mean they will retain what they just learn :)

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  67. 67

    Cool and great stuff :)

    0
  68. 68

    Great list and very useful examples from a design perspective.

    If you need rationale behind why some companies following a particular pricing model – you will find this article useful:
    http://tenmiles.com/blog/2010/04/pricing-your-saas-application/

    1
  69. 69

    Dennis van der Heijden

    December 10, 2010 12:59 pm

    My vision on 303 pricing pages. See screenshots and tips per pricing page.. Learn to make you killer page http://www.reedge.com/303-ideas-for-pricing-pages.html

    0
  70. 70

    So many of these were outdated that I decided to make an updated pricing table gallery: http://webdesignandsuch.com/pricing-table-design-showcase/

    2
  71. 71

    Hi!

    This day is a gift it we say present, yesterday is the past and tomorrow is the mystery.

    0
  72. 72

    Would love an updated version of this review.

    0
  73. 73

    Really inspirational collection, thank you for putting them together.

    0
  74. 74

    The best pricing table example I have found here, thanks for great effort.

    0
  75. 75

    Dennis van der Heijden

    May 24, 2011 10:44 am

    Wrote a blogpost on our own pricing page design decisions http://blog.reedge.com/the-anatomy-of-our-pricing-page.html

    0
  76. 76

    Very good article. From our experience in Personyze (a SaaS company dealing with site Personalization). A plan page needs to be as simple and intuitive as possible in order to work.

    2
  77. 77

    These are some amazing designs on how effectively to display prices and features. Here is more that I have found http://www.creativesen.se/category/pricing_tables

    1
  78. 78

    This is a good article,

    I am surprised at how consistent the layout designs are. They are not very inspirational to be honest. Like an excel spreadsheet, 3, 4, 5 or 6 columns – different prices and options.

    A smart designer could really turn this on it’s head. I advise people to look back to the way print media outlines plan options. If you go to your local car dealer and pick up a few brochures, look to the optional extras page – a lot easier to understand the trues benefits.

    Overall quite good, thanks!

    0
  79. 79

    Great article! Have you done any research as to how many pricing/product options are optimal and at what point too many becomes a detriment to conversion?

    0
  80. 80

    Great list. What do you think this “Go – Responsive Pricing” http://bit.ly/Y0qDm9?

    0
  81. 81

    Some nice and attractive tables but they should definitely be responsive these days. Check out this Responsive Pricing Table and Tabular Data Table.

    Free Responsive HTML5 Pricing Table
    http://templatz.co/responsive-multi-color-pricing-table.php

    Free Responsive HTML5 Table For Tabular Data
    http://templatz.co/responsive-table.php

    2
  82. 82

    Thanks Smashing ;P You inspired a redesign: http://maillift.com/pricing I tried to be more consistent with our design and simplify.

    0
  83. 83

    Very nice post, here you can find a generator to implement these tips : http://www.pricefish.com

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