How Consumers’ Eyes Respond to E-Marketing Portal Design

The following is the third in a series of research studies conducted by Inktel examining the ways consumers respond to stimuli during a brand experience. The study is a part of Inktel’s Collective Inktelligence platform. Collective Inktelligence is a series of Insights, Best Practices and Research exploring the Industry, the Business World and more generally, the world we live in.

Recently Inktel conducted a pilot program to test the hypothesis that utilizing eye-tracking studies and A/B comparison tests could lead to the improvement of brand perceptions with users of online e-Marketing website portals. Two groupings of randomly-selected subjects were compiled and showed varying versions of similar e-marketing website portal design layouts. The studies strived to demonstrate whether there were tangible perceptual differences among the variations of the online e-marketing portals, despite having the very same content.

Introduction

“…giving users the ability to feel in control of an interaction is keystone in devising an optimal brand experience.”

Every opportunity to make even the slightest improvement in the way a consumer experiences your brand is an opportunity to form that much stronger of a favorable brand interaction. One such way is to ensure that the interaction is as customized and relevant to the specific consumer as possible. Further, using the principles of behavioral science (as was previously described), giving users the ability to feel in control of an interaction is keystone in devising an optimal brand experience for those consumers.

With these concepts in mind, the development of e-marketing website portals (web-based portals that allow users to answer questions and generate customized and relevant e-marketing materials and documents) has allowed for these types of optimized brand experiences.

However, through the development phases, Inktel wondered if there were ways to optimize the aesthetic layout and design of these sites given an understanding of how the human eye processes the information contained within. Through the usage of both eye-tracking studies and A/B comparison tests, Inktel sought to determine (a) which design layouts users preferred, if any, and (b) whether the human eye was naturally drawn to the part of the page with the most important information.

Premise and Methodology

A sample of 30 randomly-selected individuals were gathered to test these premises. Two separate experiments were conducted. First, individuals were sat in a chair in front of a computer screen, while multiple video-recording cameras were aimed in the direction of the subjects’ eyes. These cameras would track the directionality of their eyes when a new website layout would come on the screen.

Secondly, each individual was showed two variations of the design layout of the same e-marketing website portal. Consumers were asked to select the version they preferred of the two.

Results

Some major conclusions can be drawn from the research:

  • Headlines are inspected first.
  • Pictures are inspected second.
  • People’s eye generally runs from top left to bottom right.
  • People don’t typically read all the way to end. Individuals tend to read the first few words of a headline and often abandon it before completing it.
  • Photos of faces and people get more attention than other types of photos.
  • Introductory paragraphs are read for longer periods of time than any others.

The study shows there are indeed conclusions that can be applied to optimize the design of these e-marketing website portals. Usage of these types of hubs to generate customized user-specific marketing materials is certain to grow and become the wave of the present. And in an environment where consumers have lower and lower attention spans and more distractions in so much clutter, being able to position content in optimal locations and learn how people process websites, can be the difference in maximizing that interaction and converting to statistically more significant degrees.

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