Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Eye Gaze Patterns while Searching vs. Browsing a Website

A scholarly paper looking at the veracity of the "F Pattern" when browsing and searching ...

"This article discusses users' visual scan paths of web pages containing text and/or pictures while conducting browsing and searching tasks. User performance on three usability tasks on an e-commerce website is described. Results show that users follow a fairly uniform scan path when browsing through pictures, and a more random path while specifically searching through them. Additionally, users appeared to follow Nielsen’s ‘F’ pattern (2006) while both browsing and searching through text-based pages.

Introduction

According to Nielsen (2006) users tend to focus on the left side of the body of a webpage when reading and fixate very little on information located on the right-hand side. Users maintain this ‘F’ viewing pattern with a few horizontal scans, the first one being longer than the second and a long vertical scan (Figure 1). Implications of this are that users may miss valuable information located on the right-hand side of the page.

This study investigated whether the “F” pattern style of viewing was dependent on the page content (text-based vs. picture-based) and/or on the user task (searching vs. browsing). This information could play a valuable role in determining where companies should place certain types of information on web pages."    (Continued via SURL - Usability News)    [Usability Resources]

The F Pattern - Usability, User Interface Design

The F Pattern

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