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1

Banner blindness is determined by navigation style

In a study, Magnus Pagedarm and Heike Schaumbrug found that when users browse websites "aimlessly", they are significantly better at recalling and recognising banner ads compared to users searching for specific information.

The authors suggest that navigation style exerts a significant influence on users' attention focusing. Directed search focuses users' attention on areas of the site that are expected to contain relevant information, while aimless browsing is guided by the appeal of the different features on a web page.

Links:

  • The article Why Are Users Banner-Blind?

Henrik Olsen - January 11, 2005

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See also: Navigation (44)  Research (88) 


 

2

Banner blindness

The notion of banner blindness was originally introduced by the research team Benway and Lane in their paper from 1998. In a study they found that when users search for specific information they generally ignore anything that looks like an advertisement. In fact, they have a tendency to overlook anything that stands out.

The authors have the following advice to designers:

"One item separated visually from everything else on a web page may be completely ignored by web searchers, even by searchers who are deliberately searching for the information provided in that item. Designers should be cautious about following guidelines stating that increasing the visual distinction between "important" items and other items is desirable; the visual distinctiveness may actually make important items seem unimportant."

Links:

  • The article Banner Blindness

Henrik Olsen - December 30, 2004

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See also: Research (88) 


 

3

Big, bold, and colourful doesn't make things noticeable

The fact that people tend to ignore big, flashy, and colourful banners at the top of web pages suggest that screaming out loud doesn't guaranty that something will be noticed.

According to Don Norman, this has to do with conventions. People guide their search using previous knowledge about websites and direct their attention directly to the location most likely to contain information of interest, such as lists of blue underlined links.

Don's moral: "...if you want something to be salient, follow conventions. Violate the conceptual model, even if the violation seems perfectly sensible, and you are apt to discover that readers miss critical information."

Links:

  • The article Banner Blindness, Human Cognition and Web Design

Henrik Olsen - November 22, 2004

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See also: Visual design (13)  Web page design (23)  Tips and guidelines (63) 


 

4

Pop-up ads work

Sad but true pop-up ads seem to work. According to Advertising.com, pop-up ads generate click-through 13 times that of standard banners and generates sales more than 14 times better. At the same time, pop-up ads seem to be almost as hated as spam mail. IVillage reported that 92.5% of its users rated pop-up ads as their least favourite part of the site experience.

Links:

  • The article Pop-Ups Work

Henrik Olsen - June 11, 2003

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See also: Research (88) 


 

5

Making Web Advertisements Work

Jakob Nielsen and Don Norman support one of UIE's findings: Users are not willing to be seduced before they have accomplished their initial goal with their visit to a site.

"Web users are highly goal-driven, and ads that interfere with their goals will be ignored."

"Reach users when they're interested and have the time -- don't bother them when they're least likely to attend. Unfortunately, most current Web advertising approaches are aimed at taking what doesn't work and making it ever bigger and more annoying, continuously fighting user behavior. Moving in the wrong direction at a faster pace is not a very insightful strategy."

Links:

Henrik Olsen - May 05, 2003

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6

Shoppers hate advertisements and can't find products

According to a survey carried out by Retail Forward,
- 64% of online shoppers report being satisfied with their shopping experience
- 2% report their online shopping experience to be 'frustation-free'

According to the same survey, the top five online shopping frustrations are:
- Pop-up boxes when shopping a site (52%)
- Banner advertisements (50%)
- Congested Web pages (35%)
- Slow load times (26%)
- Difficult to find a specific product (20%)

Links:

  • Press release from Retail Forward

Henrik Olsen - March 21, 2002

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See also: E-commerce (21)  Research (88) 


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