Eye-tracking And The Neuroscience Of Good Web Design

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Companies are competing to find the best solution for good web design. There are many tricks and strategies available, but there’s only so far you can go when it comes to putting those strategies to good use. The trouble is – there is an overload of similar websites on the Internet, all of them using the same tricks.

So, there’s a need to come up with something new, to find a way to make your website stand out from the rest, even though other websites are using every strategy available. This is where neuroscience comes to aid – companies like Google, eBay, and Barnes & Noble are among the first ones to try out a new approach to the science of successful web design in order to be ahead of others. Want to know how? Get familiar with the notions of neuroscience and eye-tracking.

Connection between neuroscience and web design

It appears that there is a science to how people perceive the web. It’s not significant how old they are, if they are male or female or if they use their mobiles or laptops. Their eyes will be attracted to certain elements of web design – locations of information and images, contours, and combinations of colors. The key is to know what these elements are and how to cleverly integrate them into a website in order to convince a hesitate buyer to buy a certain product or a reader to click on a specific article.

It is possible to create a program and specific machines that use algorithms which have been based on eye-tracking research so as to evaluate a website. In essence, a machine tracks the movement of the human eye looking at a website that offers items such as food or furniture. According to the results, it is possible to predict where the reader’s attention will go once the page is loaded.

Pioneers in neuroscience-based web design

There are several companies that have already started offering their services on assessing websites according to their ability to attract reader’s attention and convince them to buy or read something. 3M’s Visual Attention Service and RealEyes are one of these companies, but EyeQuant is the one that has made the best startup and has moved to a higher level. They have set the bar when it comes to utilization of neuroscience in the field of web design. These companies offer their clients to evaluate their site’s URLs. The process of evaluation is almost immediate – the only thing a client needs to do is to submit an email address and contact information prior to the evaluation.

Mutual influence of attention and perception

When it comes to web design, the two main points that neuroscience focuses on are perception and attention. Any web designer knows that the key to a good website is to be appealing to the viewer and to be purposeful and informative at the same time. However, the perception maps used in neuroscience move to the next level – they can predict what the viewer’s eyes will be attracted to a couple of seconds after the website has been loaded. At the same time, the attention maps show which elements on the website the viewer finds most and least visually engaging.

Let’s explain the concept using a real example: when the Google Search page is loaded, the viewer’s eyes tend to gravitate towards the logo, and then moves down to the search box, which is the key element of the page. In another example, Amazon webpage, viewers tend to steer their eyes to the center of the screen, where clusters of graphics and text in bold are located. In short, this is a sort of information that a company wants to know about their webpage in order to boost their sales.

Specifics: Internet neuroscience

So, how can all of this information be used in sales and in what ways? Recently, EyeQuant findings have been published in a paper that focused on a research based on eye-tracking. In the research, people looked at several food items with allocated prices. The researchers wanted to make a parallel between the visual appeal of the food and the price needed to be paid. The whole study was based on certain mathematical algorithms that can be used in the future for attracting new clients.

Here’s a simple example of the information gathered: people had their eyes tracked while they were looking at a grid of food snacks. Their eye movements were later compared to the items they bought in the end. The obtained results were the combination of the food observed and the food bought and integrated into models of the movements of the eyes. The predictions were under the curve of .93 (1 being a perfect prediction). This means that this mathematical model can be extremely useful in real-life sales that many companies could use when designing their website.

In short, the study showed that uniqueness in design makes a big difference – it’s one for the win. There is a clear conclusion here that evaluating your website according to neuroscience data is much cheaper than eye-tracking every user in order to determine their preferences.

Final words

In short, neuroscience is a great new tool in the competitive world of marketing. Sure, there is a lot more to be done and researched, but the foundation is here. The positive results cannot be ignored. Where this new branch in marketing strategies will take us – only time will tell.