The Eyes Have It

When we encounter a new website, which parts of the screen do we linger on? Which parts do we find most interesting? Given how much revenue is on the line, it’s fair to say this is the $64 million question today.

According to a recent eye-tracking research conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology, there’s a well developed pattern that visitors take.

The website sections that drew the most interest from viewers were as follows:

  • The institution’s logo. Users spent about 6.48 seconds focused on this area before moving on.
  • The main navigation menu. Almost as popular as the logo, subjects spent an average of 6.44 seconds viewing the menu.
  • The search box, where users focused for just over 6 seconds.
  • Social networking links to sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Users spent about 5.95 seconds viewing these areas.
  • The site’s main image, where users’ eyes fixated for an average of 5.94 seconds.
  • The site’s written content, where users spent about 5.59 seconds.
  • The bottom of a website, where users spent about 5.25 seconds.

As a writer, I hate to see text in this submissive position. Although to be fair, I doubt there were many good headlines or subheads in the 25 law school websites that viewers in this study scanned.

It would be interesting to put 25 ad blogs in front of these same participants. When you come here, what do you see first? And what do you want to see first?

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.