With search engines, media portals and social networking sites cluttered with dozens of links and banners ads and magazines scattered with inserts and advertorials, how do we break through the clutter to grab the attention of consumers? Increasingly, the long lost science of tracking eye movements is coming back in vogue as markets figure out how to make eye contact with their target customers.
Eye tracking first appeared more than 100 years ago. It measures a person’s gaze toward a screen, a page or 3D space [trade shows, events and exhibitions] to record what they look at (and don’t look at) and for how long, providing valuable data on customer behavior.
For many years the most consistent way users viewed pages according to eye tracking tests, was in an “F” pattern (also known as the “golden triangle”). This means that viewers first looked at the upper left corner, then scanned down and over in a consistent pattern. But recent evidence shows that the "F" pattern has made the transition to an "E". Gord Hotchkiss, president of Enquiro and a columnist for MediaPost.com’s Search Insider, conducted some research only to find out some unexpected discoveries that run counter to the classic “F” conclusion. Hotchkiss’ research revealed that more people are viewing online content in an “E” pattern. They start by looking at graphics in the middle of the page first and then follow the copy up and down from there. And though bigger images were better at grabbing attention, this rule was still true even when small thumbprint images were used. If this is true for online page viewing imagine the effect of "E" in a 3D space design. Simple, large, mural is the key to holding viewer gaze.
Below are tips on how to make the most of this field of study.
Keep it simple. Keep it real. Viewers are instinctively drawn to human faces and there’s growing evidence that “real people” rather than professional models are more likely to keep their attention.
And Not too colorful. Eye tracking research has shown that black, white, red, yellow, blue and green (primary colors) are the most likely to get noticed [online].
Eye tracking is a subtle science yet the minor movements it follows can have a major impact on how your content is received. By incorporating these ideas into your creatives you may be able to influence where a viewer’s gaze not only begins, but where it holds, and that could make all the difference.
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