Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices

Conversion Rate Optimization Best Practices

PCBWay

We all want the magic answer that will skyrocket profits. We have heard miraculous tales in which tiny landing page changes have a giant influence on the conversion rate. In reality, much of conversion rate improvement comes from not doing something very right, but rather from simply avoiding doing the wrong things.  In this post we will examine the basic foundations of conversion optimization.

JAK Electronics

Web Usability Overview

Good usability is properly managing people’s expectations. Some of the overall goals of web usability are:

  • Decrease the time it takes visitors to finish tasks
  • Reduce the number of mistakes visitors are likely to make
  • Shorten visitor’s leaning time
  • Improve visitor’s satisfaction with your site

When you are considering usability for landing pages, you should always take into account the following picture of your visitor’s typical mind-set and behaviour:

  • The visitor has extreme impatience and little commitment to your site
  • The visitor has a short fixation on only the more prominent items of interest
  • The visitor’s typical desired next action is to click on something (probably a link or a button)
  • The visitor doesn’t read text; they scan it
  • The visitor will pay special attention to striking visual images and motion/animation

When visitors come to your website, they are not a blank slate. They carry the sum total of their life experience to date. This includes attitudes, irrational impulses, subtle anxieties, and conscious beliefs, as well as unconscious assumptions.

Our beliefs and assumptions have an enormous impact on how we behave. If you have just gone a static electric shock from a doorknob, you are going to be more consciously aware of the doorknobs and approach them with apprehension, based on the belief that another shock is possible. If you believe that the earth is flat (as most people did just a few centuries ago), you would not try to circumnavigate the globe and would be afraid of exploring based on the logical fear of falling off the edge.

Most of your visitors already have enormous experience with the internet. Even recent of casual users have probably logged hundreds of hours interaction with websites. Out of experience they have constructed a mental model of how the web works.

Part of that mental model includes constrains (things that can’t be done) and conventions (an understanding of and agreement with how things are commonly done).

The visitor’s mental model may not be exact or correct. For example, a disturbingly high percentage of people will type URL into Google search box instead into their browser’s address window. But it does not matter if the model is correct. As far as you should be concerned, the model is set in stone and not likely to change anytime some.

In his excellent book Don’t Make Me Think, author and web usability expert Steve Krug suggests that you should have a firm grounding in common web design conventions and use them whenever possible. They make things easier for your visitors, and lessen the mental load and attention required for them to interact with your landing page.

Examples of powerful web conventions include:

  • The company logo and home link appear near the upper-left corner
  • The navigation menu is near the top or the left side of the page
  • The e-commerce catalog shopping cart link is near the upper-right corner of the page
  • Blue underline text is a hyperlink
  • Brightly animated rectangular graphics are advertisements

Visual Presentation

Visual presentation creates the powerful first impression that is responsible for many visitors leaving your site within the first few seconds of arriving. When they first get to your site, they have not had a chance to scan or digest most of your text message.

They are mainly reacting emotionally to your page design. You can not fool or argue with your emotional brain.

If it does not like something, no logical argument can prevail against it (and the browser back button is an easy way to quickly exit any webpage).

Most of us can say if a landing page appeals to us or repels us. We can tell if a page is “cheesy” and unprofessional. This determination is made based on the page structure, color scheme, font variety, graphics and images, and the degree of visual clutter on the page.

But can people spot “cheesy” and unprofessional sites consistently? They absolutely can  – and do so very quickly!

People make a judgement of a landing page’s quality in 1/20th of a second, suggests 2005 research led by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. In other words, the judgements were being formed almost as quickly as the eye can take in information. This process is subliminal and precise.

The first impression of the aesthetic quality and colors all subsequent judgements about visitor’s experience with your site. You can’t “fake out” this automatic ability of the brain to form accurate visual impressions. So make your site or landing page more visually appealing or suffer the consequences of lower conversion.

Use the following guidelines to improve your visual design.

Page Layout

The main quality that your page design has to have it coherence. It must be well organized and hang together as a single unit.

The page should be simple and uncluttered and include enough whitespace for the eye to rest. Give the proper visual prominence to key elements. Group like elements together.

Unless advertising is your primary source of revenue, seriously consider whether you should show any banner ads, or any visual elements that could be perceived as a banner. Banner ads are visually bold and may destroy the relative emphasis and coherence of the other page elements. The spaces on the page that banner ads take up also make it harder to create a clean page layout. In the end, the drop in conversion may end up costing you more money than the banner ad revenue can bring in.

Never make the user scroll to find critical information like transactional buttons or important navigation links.

Page Shell Design

Independent of the content in the body of the page, several important guidelines should be followed in the design of the surrounding page shell.

Choose responsive page design.

Graphics

Images on your landing page are a powerful, double-edged sword. When tightly coordinated with key messages, they support the path to desired actions. When used gratuitously or carelessly, they can distract visitors from the task at hand.

The best images support your visitor’s task because they:

  • Relate to the content on the page
  • Illustrate key concepts (are not simply used as window dressing)
  • Show product views or details
  • Contain pictures of friendly real people (not models)
  • Have clear composition and tight cropping

However, images can also have a negative impact. They can serve as distractions or interruptions for your visitor if they:

  • Are generic and unrelated to the topic of the page
  • Use clearly fake, staged , contrived, or slick stock art
  • Contain bright, flashy elements that make the graphics look like advertisements
  • Decrease the readability if placed behind text or navigation menus

The following best practices should help you to effectively use images:

Use high-quality production graphics and images

Do not mix different visual styles (such as photos and clip-art cartoons).

Make sure all your image file sizes are small enough to load quickly

E-commerce visitors tend to leave a site that takes more than 2 seconds to load. The only possible exception to this is the product “click to enlarge” close-up. These images should be as large as possible while still fitting fully on the monitor.

Animation is almost universally annoying and should be generally avoided

If animation is required to illustrate a concept, the user should be given the affirmative option of watching it and should not have it forced upon him. Similarly, Flash technology should be used only if there is a compelling need for it that would significantly improve the user experience. The move toward HTML5 as a standard should allow universal portability of animated, interactive, or video objects natively within webpages.

Color

Color has a strong emotional impact on people and can dramatically alter moods and attitudes. Since we are viewing projected colors on a computer screen, strong vibrant colors are particularly noticeable. So you should use full saturation primary color sparingly and conservatively. Our general advice is to follow the less-is-more approach and create a relatively benign visual environment, tending toward the mid-tones or lighter pastel shades. This applies not only to individual colors, but also to pallets of complementary colors chosen for the landing page’s visual theme. Make sure that your colors look unified, professional, and appropriate for your target audiences.

Do not use inverse color schemes with dark backgrounds and light text colors. Use white (or very light) colors for text background areas (wild background patters make it harder to read). Use colored text sparingly, and always use distinctive formatting for links (ideally blue underline text or some other clearly different color that is not used for any other text on the page).

Video

As bandwidth and computer power increases, it is increasingly common to be able to stream high-quality video as part of the web experience.

We are often asked the question, “Does video work on the Web to increase conversions?” Of course the question is not  a simple one, and the answer is not black and white.

One thing we do know is that motion and audio will grab the attention of visitors. The more important question is whether that captured attention is properly used to advance the conversion or is actually a powerful distraction.

Instead of thinking that video is inherently good or bad, you should realize that its exact parameters matter a lot more than its presence or absence. We have seen huge conversion gains from video as well as significant conversion drops.

Some important considerations for web video effectiveness include the following:

  • Actor or actress used (gender and appearance can have a strong impact)
  • Dress style and grooming (must be appropriate for your audience)
  • Script contents and length
  • Whether video autoplays
  • Whether the video starts with sound on or must be actively turned on by the visitor
  • Whether the video replays automatically on subsequent reloads of the page or return visits
  • Production quality
  • Resolution and bandwidth required to view it
  • Whether it is served from a public site or a dedicated media server

There are three primary ways to consume video on a webpage:

Embedded

The software “viewer” window for the video is a fixed size and it is embedded in the page. The problem with this approach is that it takes up a lot of screen real estate while providing a small, often uncompelling visual experience.

Lightbox Popover

The video is indicated by a small thumbnail graphic on the page (giving yo a lot more design flexibility) and the video plays in popover window (with the page darkened in the background). The viewer can be a lot larger than the embedded window.

New Window

This approach is similar to the preceding one, but the video player runs in a completely separate browser window.

In addition to the video clips, it is common to use a walk-on video spokesperson to briefly introduce your company and make a direct call-to-action (usually involving something on the page). The spokesperson can be seen from the waist up or full-body depending on the application.

The video spkesperson is just a part of the engagement strategy. Their call-to-action is to ask you to click on the “play video” button near the top right of the screen.

The video spokesperson is just a part of the engagement strategy. Their call-to-action is to ask you to click on the “play video” button near the top right of the screen. This in turn starts a video in a lightbox popover and discusses Innovate Media’s capabilities in more detail.

Such a one-two-punch of spokesperson and introductory video can often lead to double-digit conversion improvement. With the cost of video production and serving rapidly falling, we recommend that you experiment with video to see if it can help.

Information Architecture

Information architecture defines the way that information is organized on your website. This is typically hierarchical in nature (and looks like an extended outline on your sitemap page). However, it is important to remember that the web is a hyperlink medium. People do not necessarily follow orderly or linear progressions (as they would while reading a book, for instance). They jump around and follow their nose. For this reason, some websites provide multiple navigation schemes to support their visitors’ mental maps.

In general your navigation should :

  • Be immediately visible (not require scrolling or mouseovers to find key navigation)
  • Support the visitor’s task and intent (and not reflect your company’s internal organization)
  • Be consistent throughout the site (except when the context changes, such as in an e-commerce catalog’s linear checkout process)
  • Use clear and distinct labels and groupings (so people know what to expect on the next page)
  • Provide context (visitors need to know where they are in your site)
  • Be tolerant of mistakes (allow visitors to easily reverse their last action and get back to the previous state)

Accessibility

Accessibility has to do with how easy information is to find and use properly. Accessibility is closely related to the concept of affordance. User-centered design originator Don Norman used the term to refer to the ability of people to easily discover the range of available actions possible in their interactions with computers or similar interfaces.

Another way to think about affordance is to ask “How easy would it be for someone to understand that something is possible on this webpage?”

The following are important concepts that together create good accessibility:

Availability

Do visitors quickly see exactly what their options are? Is navigation clear, consistent, and placed in a conventional location?

Feedback

When users take an action, do they get immediate feedback? Does the page change when they click on or mouse over important content?

Organization

Is your content consistent, easy to scan, and based on the right visitor roles and tasks? Is it just a few easily digestible “chunks”?

Fault Tolerance

Do you anticipate common user errors? Do you suggest meaningful alternatives to an apparent dead-end? Does your site support the easy reversal of actions?

Affinity 

Does your intended audience feel comfortable or anxious during their visit? Do they find your page to be professional and credible? Do their instincts tell them to trust you?

Legibility

Are your fonts easy to read? Do text and background colors clash, or assault the senses? Are too many font types, sizes, and colors used?

Since most of our web experiences are currently based on reading, legibility required special attention.

Font Families

Use sans serif fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, or Geneva. Do not use serif (with small lines at the end of the characters) fonts such as Times Roman, Courier , or Palatino. At typical computer monitor resolutions, serif fonts are harder to read.

Font Sizes

Use 10-12 point fonts for most body text. Larger and smaller fonts reduce reading speed. Consider increasing your font size by a couple of points if you are targeting an older audience, and make sure that you allow sufficient spacing between lines as well. If your audience is older (and may have visual problems), you should allow users to select larger fonts page-wide. Even though proportional page zoom is now built into many web browsers, many people are still unaware that they can easily magnify the page and zoom in and out at will.

Font Styles

Do not use a wide range of font styles, colors or sizes. Avoid using text in all capital letters, because it is harder to read. Likewise, as noted earlier, avoid using reverse-colored text (light text on a darker background).

Underlines and Hyperlinks

Do not underline text that is not clickable. Blue underlines (purple after a click) are a strong default convention for hyperlinks. If you must emphasize nonlink text, consider in size, style, or color.

If you have a list-heavy site (such as a large directory or detailed informational portal), it is an exception to the rule. Huge amounts of underlined text on the page are annoying to the visitor and are also unreadable. However, if you decide not to underline your text links in such a situation, you should make sure that the link text color that you have chosen is not used elsewhere on your site to indicate nonlinked text.

Another exception involves sites with lots of cross-linked content in full sentences and paragraphs. In such cases the flow of reading would be disrupted by frequent font color changes and underlining.

Justification

Do not create equal-length lines of text. The jagged ends of unjustified lines help increase reading speed and comprehension. Always use uncentered, left-justified text unless you are indicating headlines or subheadlines (which may be centered).

Line Length

Blocks of text over 50 characters wide are harder to read. Consider putting in forced carriage returns (also called “hard breaks”) so that screen size variation don’t wrap layout and the eye can easily find the beginning of the next line.

Contrast 

High contrast between text and background increases legibility. However, as stated earlier, this applies only to darker text on a lighter background. Use of reverse-color text (lighter on a dark background) decreases readability and should be avoided.

Buttons

Buttons are often the main visual call-to-action on a landing page. The following guidelines should help you to make them more effective.

Prioritize Your Buttons

Ideally you should have a single, clear call-to-action button on your page. If you have more than one, you need to create a visual hierarchy so that their importance is clear to your web visitor. One way to do that is to change the color or size of the nonprimary buttons to something visually less interesting (make those buttons duller and smaller). If you have two side-by-side buttons, remember that one on the right is by convention considered the default one (most likely to be clicked on). You may consider demoting some of your secondary buttons to text links.

Experiment with Format

The exact format of the button matters. Experiment with a wide range of button shape parameters to see what works best. Possible changes to the button include:

  • Shape (amount of rounding and corner “radiasing,” or having them remain square)
  • Dimensionality (drop shadows and curves)
  • Color (contrasting and being ideally unique on the page)
  • Visual embellishments (adding small triangles or chevrons to indicate action)
  • Size (try radically smaller or larger versions)

Be Specific and Manage Expectations

Buttons should accurately describe the intended action. Make sure that the button describes exactly what will happen when it is clicked. For example, many e-commerce sites mistakenly put “But It Now!” buttons next to products when the actual action is “Add to Cart.”

Another common mistake is to use the label “Order Now” when you really mean “Proceed to Checkout.” This causes unnecessary stress and anxiety for visitor as they try to figure out the threat or opportunity presented by your button. It is always best to remove the hesitation and assure them that taking the next step is a small and safe action.

Use unambiguous standard language for all button labels. Do not try to be funny or cute. The attempt will often be lost on the audience, especially when you consider the international nature of internet traffic. Most people from other cultures who are non-native speakers will find it difficult to process and understand unfamiliar button labels.

Label from the Perspective of Your Visitors

Button text should always be written from the perspective of your visitors and address their intentions and desires. In many cases you should try to complete the thought in the mind of the visitor: “I want to …..” Appropriate examples of possible completions for this sentence include “Download The Whitepaper,” “Start My Free Trial,” “Get Details,” or “Select This Plan.” This formulation is unlikely to work with commonly seen button text such as “Submit,” “Create Account,” or “Reset.”

Writing for the Web

How Users Read on the Web;

They don’t.

Even thought the words were written in 1997 they still hold true. Jakob Nielsen’s pioneering work in this area has been confirmed by a lot of subsequent research. The vast majority of internet users do not read any webpage word by word. They scan it and focus on individual words, phrases, or sentences often the words most tightly connected with their task. They are often seeing your company for the first time, and they do not know how much trust to place in your information. They are used to being assaulted with promotional messages and will tune out most of your attempts to overtly market to them. They are task-oriented and are on your site to get something specific accomplished.

Most of the adaptations that you need to make to your writing have a single purpose: to reduce the visitor’s cognitive load. Instead of being forced to pay attention to how the information is presented, they can devote more focus to getting their intended task completed. By getting out of their way, you empower them to be faster, more efficient, and more effective. This will lead to higher conversion rates for you, and higher satisfaction for your web visitors.

Headlines

Headlines are your biggest chance to wrestle for the reader’s attention, and you will win or lose that battle within seconds. A Nielsen study evaluated site copy by how quickly readers could identify a content relationship from just the first two words of the headline. Remember that visitors may arrive on your site from any number of links and may not have a lot of context about your page.

Headlines are the top-scanned item for users to orient themselves before they decide what to do next. In fact, 8 out of 10 people will only read the headline.

Body Copy

Effective web body copy integrates the following elements:

  • Inverted pyramid structure
  • Brevity
  • Hype-free copy

Let’s take a look at each element in turn.

Use Inverted Pyramid Structure

The preferred structure for most web writing is the inverted pyramid. In this style of writing , you put your conclusions and key points first. Less important and supporting information should be placed last. This is critical since most readers will choose not to read very far.

Most of this is probably not earth-shaking insight in the world of journalism. Newspaper editors have had a similar audience makeup for centuries: casual visitor who scan for information that competes for their attention and consider the source as a transient and disposable resource. Because of this, print journalists have developed a powerful structural model that should be emulated by web content authors. Headline size and prominent positioning indicate the importance of articles. The lead paragraph summarizes the whole story, and supporting detail is further down.

By using this structure, you maximize the chances that visitors will come away with the information that you consider most valuable. Make sure that you only have one main idea per paragraph. If you bury a second idea lower in a block of text, it will probably be missed as the reader jumps down to scan the lead-in text of the subsequent paragraph or subheading. Even if it’s not missed, you’re burdening the reader to determine the connection , which doesn’t work well with their highly activated mode of scanning for information.

The inverted pyramid even applies to bullet lists or lists of navigational links – put the important ones on top. Each idea gets its own slice as the pyramid gets smaller. The same structure should be used for creating online audio or video clips for your site.

Keep It Short

Keep your pages short. There is evidence to show that significantly shorter texts results in higher retention and recall of information and is more likely to lead to conversion actions. Your page should only contain important information for its topic and level of detail. You can move longer supporting text to other pages or information lightbox popover windows and create links for the more dedicated readers. Nielsen studies find a significant drop-off in the percentage of the total page read after the length exceeds 200 words.

However, there is an occasional exception to the shorter-is-better guideline. Some single-product websites have long direct-response pitch letters that significantly outperform shorter alternatives. They draw the reader in and encourage them to spend a lot of time on the page. After a certain point the visitor’s attention investment gets high enough to build momentum toward the conversion action. This is not to say that long sales letter pages cannot be made better. There is definitely a lot of bloat to test and improve.

Avoid “Marketese”

The reality for most internet surfers is that they are constantly subjected to a barrage of promotional messages and advertising. As a basic defense mechanism, they have learned to tune out most hype. Regardless of the method or device that you used to get visitors to your page, once they arrive you should stop screaming at them. You are no longer (for the moment) competing for their attention with other websites. So you need to change the focus from convincing them of your greatness to the task that they are trying to accomplish.

Your visitors detest marketese. Unfortunately, your landing page was probably written in this kind of incredibly vague yet over-the-top promotional style. It usually involves a lot of boasting and unsubstantiated claims. If your company is the “world’s leading provider” of something, you are in good company. A recent search on Google turned up 297,000,000 matching results for this phrase. Your claims are probably not true, but even if they are, you can use different language to make your point.

Marketese may be (barely) acceptable in your press releases when you are trying to puff up your company and accomplishments. If you write in this over-the-top style, bloggers will ignore more of your releases, and social media audiences will likely refuse to share in social bookmarking or worse, demote your brand trust. But on your landing page, the consequences of using marketese are even more disastrous. Marketese requires work on the part of your visitor. It forces the to spend time separating the content from the fluff. It also results in much longer word counts (which, as we’ll discuss later, also detract from conversions). You are missing an enormous opportunity by not creating a hype-free zone on your landing page.

How to Avoid Writing in “Marketese”

  • Do not use any adjectives
  • Provide only objective information
  • Focus on the needs of your audience

Your editorial tone and voice should have the following attributes:

Factual

Writing factually will take a little work. It is difficult to stop making subjective statements. You may catch yourself lapsing into marketese at unexpected moments. But stick with it. You will be amazed at how much effective your writing will be. Remember, your visitors are not looking to be entertained, and certainly not to be marketed to. They are there to deal with a specific need or problem that they have. The best kind of information you can give them is objective in nature.

Task-Oriented

Task-oriented writing is focused on the roles, tasks, and AIDA steps that are required to move your visitors through the conversion action. You should organize your text in the order that the visitor is likely to read it. For example, a big-ticket consumer product site may lay out the following high-level steps for the buying process: research, compare, purchase. Once you have built The Matrix for your landing page, it should be clear where the gaps are.

Precise

It is critical to be clear in web writing. The audience can be diverse and can bring a variety of cultural backgrounds to their interpretation of your language. Be careful about your exact choice of words. Never try to be funny or clever in a way that will not translate across regions or countries. Do not use puns, metaphors, idioms, or colloquial expressions.

This is doubly true for link text. Your visitors need to have a clear understanding of exactly what will happen when they take the action of clicking on something. Text links should describe the content on the target page. Unhelpful link label such as “click here” are a wasted opportunity to focus the visitor’s awareness on an important available option. Also, link text is used by search engines to help people find information.

Concise

Become a word miser in addition to a page length slicer. Ask yourself, “How can I make this even shorter? Do I really need to communicated this at all?” Brevity has several advantages. It increases absorption and recall. It shortens the time that visitors spend reading – minimizing the likelihood of increased frustration and impatience. It supports the goals of inverted pyramid writing and the scannable text requirements described in the next section.

Simple

Now that you’re cutting page length and word count, the next bloat loss program candidate is syllables. Again, we take a standard from journalism, where the eighth-reading level is expected target. You may want key landing pages to be written for even low grade level. However, most web copy, especially business-to-business copy, regularly exceeds much higher grade levels. You can check the Flesch-Kincaid readability level (a scale to assess reading grade level) directly in Microsoft Word’s review tools.

The easier way to reduce reading grade level in your content goes back to our key theme for this chapter: short. Keep the sentences short. This allows for distinct ideas in each line. Keep the words short. Shorter words tend to be more familiar, simpler, and easier to absorb.

Reducing a reading grade level does not mean dumbing down your content. It means writing intentionally to make reading easy as part of a task, not a leisure activity. It means writing for people who speak English as a second, third, or fourth language who might be completing a task on an English-only site.

Lower literacy groups are estimated to be as much as 30-40 % on the online population. Your simplified word choices can result in vast improvement to the access of your landing page.

Format & Style

Since people don’t read the Web, the format and style of your writing should support their opportunistic scanning behaviour.

You should use the following guidelines for writing style:

  • Write in fragments or short sentences
  • Turn paragraphs into bulleted lists. Limit lists to three to seven items (the limit of human short-term memory “chunking”)
  • Use ordinary language (avoid industry jargon and acronyms that are not widely understoof)
  • Use active voice and actions verbs
  • Use descriptive link text (describing what will happen on the target page)

Also use the following guidelines for writing structure and mechanics:

  • Use digits instead of words to write out number (e.g. “47” instead of “forty-seven”)
  • Highlight important, information-carrying words (do not highlight whole sentences; stick to two- or three-word phrases)
  • Use clear emphasized fonts to label headers and subheads
  • Do not use more than two indenting levels for lists or headings
  • Use supporting links to direct readers to secondary and “see also” cross-referenced information

Usability Checks

You can undertake several activities that can improve the usability basics of your landing page.

Formal and Informal Testing

Usability testing allows you to test your design ideas on representative users of your website. It can be an effective means of uncovering disconnects between users’ expectations and your designs. Usability testing companies can help you recruit appropriate subjects, conduct the sales, and deliver detailed findings.

Best  Practices Expert Reviews

You do not always have to conduct full-scale usability testing yourself. Hiring usability experts for a high-level review of your landing page is often a terrific investment.

Usability experts have often seen hundreds of poor landing page designs and have learned to extract their subtle commonalities. They can quickly focus on potential problems without even conducting a usability test.

Besides, their expertise, usability experts also bring an outside perspective and a mandate to uncover problems. Often organizations that would be reluctant to take input from their own staff will listen to the advice of an external expert conducting a landing page or website review.

Visual Attention Prediction

If  you are not visually aware of the intended call-to-action on a webpage, or if you are distracted from it by stronger visual stimuli, you will have a much lower likelihood of successfully completing the intended task. So the first screen for designing an effective landing page is to diagnose existing problems at a gross visual attention level in order to determine whether the call-to-action is clear,

Such insights into visual attention can be obtained by a variety of means. Which one you choose will depend on the time and resources that you have to devote to the project and level of accuracy you require. Here are three options:

Eye-Tracking

Eye-tracking is particularly useful in detecting problems in the early stages of the decision-making process (awareness and interest). If most test subjects do not look at the desired part of the page, they are not even aware that the conversion action is possible. Eye-tracking allows you to record voluntary and involuntary gazing, fixation or attention, as well as corresponding voluntary body movements (such as scrolling or clicking). Such studies are an excellent tool for uncovering problems regarding page layout, visual presentation of information and images, and proper emphasis.

Mouse Tracking

Mouse tracking uses the movement of mouse as a proxy for visual attention. A Carnegie Mellon study found that some 85 percent of moue “rests” correlated to site areas that the user notices. Since then , several tools, primarily aimed at small businesses, have launched as less expensive alternatives to eye-tracking. The data is collected via snippets or code placed on target pages and the subsequent recording or site visitor actions.

Software Simulation

Computer algorithms for computational attention can predict areas of site attention for landing page components or entire pages. These systems base their calculations on models that include texture, shapes, contrast, movement, flicker object recognition, font treatment, color use, the number of competing elements, and other items proven to influence attention. This type of modeling allows for visual attention checks before the page is finalized or published, and can be done without involving real people at all.