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wordlog.com » Eyetracking and better design

A weblog authored by Carthik about the latest in the WordPress world.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Eyetracking and better design

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carthik @ 7:01 pm

Eyetracking is a technical method of determining how humans process visual stimuli, especially on screens. There is this study about visitors’ eye movements at news web pages which provides some scientific information about how visitors read webpages, especially those of new sites.

Now blogs aren’t too different from webpages, so we all could probably use some of the information in the article.

What surprised me most was the following two results stated in the article

  1. Smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior (that is, reading the words), while larger type promotes lighter scanning.
  2. Underlined headlines discouraged testers from viewing blurbs on the homepage

The first one is really surprising since I have always thought that large font sizes cause readers to read more, and more attentively, since it takes less effort (for me at least) to read large text. I still can relate to the results, since I spend more time reading text that is smaller on webpages. This is due to the fact that it is more difficult to read it. The study measures the time a person spends reading a particular section and interprets more time spent in an area as a sign of more having been read. Not neccesarily – it just could be that the user read the same amount – only it took longer, because of the smaller font size. It is often surprising to find studies like this misinterpret results and invert facts, coming to counter-intuitive conclusions.

The second one is interesting. Maybe I should stop underlining headlines.

Hat tip: binarybonsai

P.S. Much as I try avoiding the words “Hat Tip”, they seem to be most appropriate. I used to say “Thanks” but somehow that excludes the possibility of writing out the name of the site/person. Do you know any alternatives to “Hat Tip”?


  1. how about “kudos”.

    Comment by seth — 9/9/2004 @ 7:43 pm

  2. How about “Care of”, “thanks to”, or best, “what a nut:”


    Comment by Jeff Minard — 9/9/2004 @ 7:43 pm

  3. via

    Comment by brad sucks — 9/9/2004 @ 7:44 pm

  4. [via] seems to be becoming the new convention

    Comment by Joen — 9/10/2004 @ 3:44 am

  5. I usually use (via x), (From x) or (Pointer: x), with “x” being the permalink of the referenced blog article. (From x) has been my recent standard.

    Comment by Patrick O'Leary — 9/10/2004 @ 10:30 am

  6. Hat tips are the new black.

    Comment by Matt — 9/12/2004 @ 6:36 am

  7. I’ve also seen “Due credit:” from time to time.

    Comment by Alex — 9/15/2004 @ 2:10 pm

  8. another one: ‘Acknowledgment to’ …fired up Word and played around with it’s Right Click –> Synonyms feature…

    Comment by Brad — 9/18/2004 @ 7:03 am

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