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Eye Tracking Study – Web Design for Conversion

Like me, if you happen to be in internet marketing industry (IM), these are exciting times.  Internet marketing is poised for a major leap forward. (See Web 2.0) The hubbub is not only about $ 13.5 billion that IM can rake this year alone but qualitatively what it can deliver to clients.  A sudden availability of internet tools promises to bring industry from the realm of approximations to results that can be verified easily by a website owner.  (Hello Google Analytics!)

Close on the heels of Google’s free offering Web Analytics 2.0 (WA 2.0); we can now see the results of Eyetrack III.  If Web Analytics 2.0 put within our easy reach important website metrics, Eyetrack III attempts to better understand the reading behavior and elements readers find attractive on a webpage.

Though Poynter.org conducted this study deeply concerned with falling news readership and shorter attention spans, it provides valuable insights for any Internet marketing firm.  So what did the ET III reveal about the eye scan patterns, to help us greatly in designing conversion friendly websites.

While testing participants’ eye movements across several homepage designs, a common pattern was noticed: The eyes most often fixated first in the upper left of the page, then hovered in that area before going left to right. Only after perusing the top portion of the page for some time did their eyes explore further down the page.

Another interesting pattern emerged contrary what many would expect.  Photographs and website images, (as we might expect) was not the biggest factor keeping people on the website — it was website copy! Text rules on the computer screen — both in order viewed and total time spent looking at it. Dominant headlines consistently kept users engaged especially when they were on the left side of the page. Visitor’s instinctively gaze in on any logo or dominant headline that was displayed on the left side.

The graph below shows the zones of importance on a webpage. How does your website design measure up?

Since text rules on-screen it made sense to explore the textual vein further.  Here is a bulleted list of important to do’s based on my research:

Describing how images were viewed the study restated things that we already knew and also some interesting observations:

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