23 Actionable Lessons from Eye-Tracking Studies

Christina Laun summarizes the top lessons to take away from eyetracking studies.

  1. Text attracts attention before graphics.
  2. Initial eye movement focuses on the upper left corner of the page.
  3. Users initially look at the top left and upper portion of the page before moving down and to the right.
  4. Readers ignore banners.
  5. Fancy formatting and fonts are ignored.
  6. Show numbers as numerals.
  7. Type size influences viewing behavior.
  8. Users only look at a sub headline if it interests them.
  9. People generally scan lower portions of the page.
  10. Shorter paragraphs perform better than long ones.
  11. One-column formats perform better in eye-fixation than multi-column formats.
  12. Ads in the top and left portions of a page will receive the most eye fixation.
  13. Ads placed next to the best content are seen more often.
  14. Text ads were viewed mostly intently of all types tested.
  15. Bigger images get more attention.
  16. Clean, clear faces in images attract more eye fixation.
  17. Headings draw the eye.
  18. Users spend a lot of time looking at buttons and menus.
  19. Lists hold reader attention longer.
  20. Large blocks of text are avoided.
  21. Formatting can draw attention.
  22. White space is good.
  23. Navigation tools work better when placed at the top of the page.

Read the full article on the Virtual Hosting Blog, where you'll find descriptions of each of these points.

How Direct Marketing and User Experience Are the Same

Usability blogger, John S. Rhodes writes in Apogee that Direct Marketing and UX are the same, or at least share common goals and methodologies. This quote sums up these parallel ways of thinking and working:

There is a serious emphasis on testing and measurement. Metrics are the law. Success is based on tangible results: number of phone calls, number of and type of brochures requested, number of email address captured, number of comments made, number of web page views and so on.

In this way, usability and UX share commonality with direct marketing. We've known for years that we cannot take action on behalf of users without first having data. Educated opinions are useful, e.g., heuristic analysis, but nothing is as powerful and useful as data from research in the lab or the wild.

I would wholeheartedly agree that we could share lessons learned between these 2 fields. In the past year I stumbled on and have taken an interest in direct marketing, mostly due to finding Dan Kennedy serendipitously and reading a book of his. I held the same belief when reading a Kennedy book--we're interested in the same things, with different needs or problems in mind. I'll be keeping an eye out for more on this theme and am sure to blog what I find here.