How people \"see\" your website

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How people "see" your website

In print design there are fixed patterns that a persons eyeball follow when looking at a poster, or an advert.

For english speaking people their eye follows a Z shape track on the page.

They start at the top left hand side (making that the most important position) and then track across to the right hand corner, from there it goes diagnally down to the bottom left of the page and ends on the bottom right (the second most important part of the page)

Its at this bottom right place where you need to make the pseron do something, have a "call to action" Buy now, ring now, cut out this coupon.

How does this relate to web design?

There is a similar pattern for people who look at a web page. If you make your page according to the way a person views it you can increase peoples attention, place important parts of the page where needed, insert adverts where the eye will focus etc.

This excellent article from talks about the eye on the webpage..

Most people who use search engines focus on a “golden triangle” when they view the results.

This triangle extends across the top of the page, then slides back to the left of the page and goes down to about the third or fourth position on the page. This is the spot at the bottom of the screen before scrolling, sometimes referred to as just “above the fold,” in parlance borrowed from newspapers.

The shape of the scan pattern is actually closer to an “F” than a triangle, given the actual eye movement.

What about the sponsored ads? Well, as you might guess from the shape of the viewed area, the ads at the top of the page were viewed by everyone who participated in the study.

The sponsored listings that appeared on the right side of the Web page, however, attracted far fewer eyeballs. The first listing was viewed by only half of the participants; by the time the fifth sponsored listing was reached, however, only ten percent of the study group actually looked at it.

Despite the research above there isn't much real data about how to design your own website,

The F structure would seem to be the most optimal one to use.

I imagine that the lack of public information is a sign of the commerical sensitivity of the information. You can pay for an eyetrack of your site, but once you have the answers are you going to tell anyone else?
By netchicken: posted on 11-4-2005

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