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21 Apr
Who Else Wants to Know What Our Visitors Are Looking At?

Posted by Chuck Bankoff On April - 21 - 2010

As I’ve mentioned, you have between 2-8 seconds to interest your visitors before they decide to leave, or go deeper into your website. Naturally they will only see so many elements of your landing page before they make that decision.

Remember, people don’t read on the Internet, they scan. They see headlines, images and bullet pointed lists. We scan over web content at such a great rate, milli-seconds become very important. You don’t want to waste any of the visitor’s time, and make sure you get all your USPs to the user’s eye as quickly and as clearly as possible.

So how do you know what they are likely to look at during that brief amount of time while you control their fleeting interest?

Well you could conduct a focus group, but that is time consuming and expensive. The easiest way is to subscribe to eye tracking software that through a series of complex algorithms is able to simulate the path the human eye is likely to take based on size, position and color of the elements on a given page.

Eye tracking is a technique used to determine where a person is looking. It allows you to see your website literally through the eyes of your users. The concepts underlying eye tracking are deceptively simple: track the movements of the user’s eyes and note what the pupils are doing while the user is looking at a particular feature.

Eye tracking is great for determining:

  • Whether or not users notice adverts and/or key calls to action
  • What users pay most attention to and what they don’t notice
  • The order in which users notice items on the page
  • Where users look for navigation links to take them to another page

The technology helps you explore whether users:

  • Notice the logo?
  • Discover the main navigation quickly?
  • Attend to the critical information on the page?
  • Absorb the information on the page or simply scan it?
  • Observe how users interact with your site by following their point of gaze

To summarize, we already know that the hierarchy of elements on the page will greatly influence your click-through-rate and what your visitors will target, however it is nice to actually see it with your own eyes. I do recommend taking a look at Eye Tracking software, or working with a digital marketing consultant who is familiar with the process, however I do not consider it to be the absolute definitive answer to what users are drawn to on your site. As with anything, an objective dose of reality goes a long way.

Learn more about how your website content and design go hand in hand and how you can incorporate web design best practices.

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About the author: Chuck Bankoff
Chuck Bankoff is a WSI Certified Research Analyst, and has certified other WSI Consultants around the world in Landing Page Design and more


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