The Surprising Results of Eye-tracking Studies

Most of us were initially impressed with the ability to post a slide show of ginormous images on our home page and experiment with the array of funky  transitions.

But that’s just the problem. Our reptilian brains (love that term) are so trained to detect and investigate motion within our field of view that when presented with a slide show, we look at little else on the page. Great copy? Lost. Important product details? Missed. Additional offers? Skipped.

Additionally, most home page slide shows provide a usability nightmare- they go too fast or too slow, employ gimmicky transitions, and often the user cannot easily return to slides that they actually want to interact with.

If you must use one, consider giving your users the opportunity (and provide the direction) to view additional slides. And keep the transitions understated and consistent.

Every Picture Tells A Story.

Yes, and you don’t want it to conflict with your copy. If you really want people to read the copy on the page, don’t keep them from it by inserting an image or a photograph at the top of the page. Not only does it provide a roadblock of sorts, it pushes more of your copy below the fold making your users scroll. They don’t like to scroll. This has been proven with eye-tracking studies more than once.

Every Picture Tells A(nother) Story.

Internet users are increasingly observant and savvy. Many can tell the difference between a stock photo and a “real” person who is connected with your business- a happy customer, a high performing employee, etc. If your business is driven by people (and whose doesn’t?) consider avoiding stock photography whenever possible in your marketing.

Over the last decade we’ve witnessed the inexorable march of web technology. Bandwidth has increased, our personal computers have become more sophisticated, and the technology behind website design and development has blossomed, producing all kinds dazzling ways to present content on the web. We’ve all heard the cautionary phrase, ‘just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should.’ And in many cases with web design and development, this is the absolute truth.

P.S. Did You Know? Eye-tracking studies suggest that your users will follow the eyes of your website models and ‘look’ in the same direction. Do you want to draw attention to content? Have the person in the photograph on the webpage facing or looking towards that content. Would you like to compel your users into taking action? Use models that convey emotion.

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