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10 Useful Usability Studies and Guidelines for Web Design

May 5, 2010

Stumble-upon did me a favor today when it hooked me up with this useful blog post regarding how to increase a webpage’s usability.  Several of these studies fall under the neuromarketing category (a personal interest of mine) and can apply to advertisements (or any visual piece for that matter) as well.  I’ll be sure to keep some of these tidbits in mind when I begin my position as a creative executive at Live Oak Communications in the fall!

Here’s one helpful design tidbit:

2. Users Focus On Faces

People instinctively notice other people right away when they come into view. On Web pages, we tend to focus on people’s faces and eyes, which gives marketers a good technique for attracting attention. But our attraction to people’s faces and eyes is only the beginning; it turns out we actually glance in the direction the person in the image is looking in.

Eyes1 in 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines
Eye-tracking heat map of a baby looking directly at us, from the UsableWorld study.

Eyes2 in 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines
And now the baby is looking at the content. Notice the increase in people looking at the headline and text.

Here’s an eye-tracking study that demonstrates this. We’re instinctively drawn to faces, but if that face is looking somewhere other than at us, we’ll also look in that direction. Take advantage of this phenomenon by drawing your users’ attention to the most important parts of your page or ad.

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