Eyetools heatmap of InfoWorld home page

Last week we enlisted the help of Greg Edwards and his Eyetools research to do an eyetracking study of the InfoWorld home page.  Study participants sat in front of a computer and browsed pages, while the Eyetools system then followed the movements of their eyes on pages, where they clicked on the page, how far they scrolled, etc.

The results gave us some perspective on the recent redesign we rolled out on the home page.  Most of our goals seem to have been achieved successfully, but Greg then showed us how we can make some improvements. 

The good news:

  • The top image with the main story is very effective at grabbing attention.  Research shows you have about 8 seconds to convince someone to click on something before they exit.  Now we can help a first-time visitor understand who we are and what we cover on a quick glance.
  • The top 3 or 4 stories are viewed by 100% of site visitors.  You can see the “Golden Triangle” happening here where people view less and less of each headline as they move down the list.  One lesson here is to make sure that the most important keywords for your story are at the beginning of your headline. 

The surprises:

  • The nav bar seems to be serving its purpose well, but we didn’t expect as much traction there.  This means that almost all visitors will see the big banner ad at the top of the page.  People may or may not digest the message in the ad if the creative isn’t good.  But we can help advertisers find ways to make their creative more impactful now.
  • About 70% of respondents scrolled past the top fold.  The page is drawing people deeper into the site which is very encouraging.

Things to fix:

  • The product icons in the right column seem to pull the eye across the page.  However, people stop short of looking at the images and read the text just next to it.  This would be fine except that text is the header for the section instead of the link.  An easy fix.
  • The idea of using content kind of like a river down the page with ads appearing as islands seems to work.  The problem is that editorial content stops after the first scroll.  So do many of our visitors.
  • Headshots are great for drawing attention, but it looks like people are choosing whether or not to read one of our columns based on the columnist’s face rather than the headline.  That’s a presentation issue.
  • Our left column would make more sense to people if we created some better visual spacing to separate the top ad position from the navigational elements.  People probably think that since the top position is an ad that the whole column is all advertising.
I can share detailed results with other IDG internal employees.  Send me an email if you're interested, and I'll give you more information.


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Infoworld study on Heatmap and ad placement
Weblog:  Mind Sharer - For The Marketing Mind
Excerpt:  Recently I have used two posts to concentrate on heatmap and ad placement. I was trying to find some more studies that use heatmap to analyze which areas do the visitors focus the most without too much luck. Today I got lucky and found out Infoworld...
Posted:  Tue May 03 23:32:03 EDT 2005
Eyetools heatmap of InfoWorld home page