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Users ignore decorative images

In this article, Jakob Nielsen shows how eyetracking studies reveal that user pay close attention to images on websites that contain relevant information (such as product images), but completely ignore "fluffy pictures" that are purely decorative.

What Jakob forgets to mention is that eyetracking equipment only records eye fixations and not peripheral vision, that is, what we are able to see outside the center of gaze. So the studies don't prove that "feel-good" imagery fail their mission.


  • Photos as Web Content Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 01, 2010

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See also: Research (129)  Emotional design (10)  E-commerce (27) 



Use summaries on blog front pages

What's the best layout for a blog front page? To show full articles or to show summaries of the latest post?

According to research done by Jakob Nielsen, using summaries works best with blogs that people don't visit every day. They are better at drawing readers in as they offer a broader selection of subjects and increases the likelihood that they will find something that interests them.


  • Corporate Blogs: Front Page Structure Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 10, 2010

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See also: Text (24)  Home pages (9)  Research (129) 



Balsamiq Mockups

Balsamiq is an electronic mockup tool to develop desktop applications, web applications, web sites, RIA and iPhone applications. It uses a library of hand-drawn controls (intentionaly) which you can extend with your own.

There are multiple ways to share the wireframes (PNG, interlinked PDF pages, online versions,...) and to gather feedback. It is designed for collaboration, in face-to-face or online meetings.

"Put that pencil down - Using Balsamiq Mockups feels like you are drawing, but it's digital, so you can tweak and rearrange controls easily, and the end result is much cleaner. Teams can come up with a design and iterate over it in real-time in the course of a meeting."


  • Balsamiq Mockups: Product Tour & Features Open link in new window
  • Balsamiq Mockups: Online demo Open link in new window
  • Balsamiq Homepage Open link in new window

Pieter-Jan Pruuost - June 28, 2010

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See also: Tools (106)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 



Collection of results from A/B test

At you can find a growing collection of results from A/B test shared by fellow colleagues. Quite interesting to look though.


  • Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 16, 2010

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Forget the fold - people expect to have to scroll

Watching over 800 user test sessions, cxpartners report to have seen the page fold as a barrier to users on only 3 occations. In addition, eye tracking studies commonly show a strong hotspot over the scrollbar, indicating that people expect to have to scroll.

Cxpartners gives the following advise on how to deal with the fold:

- Don't cram everything above the fold. Use whitespace and imagery to encourage scrolling.

- Don't use stark, horizontal lines as they discourage scrolling

- Avoid the use of in-page scroll bars - the browser scrollbar is an indicator of the amount of content on the page


  • The myth of the page fold: evidence from user testing Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 10, 2010

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See also: Research (129) 



Messy interfaces for repeated use and efficiency

Ryan from 37signals has written an interesting post on the trade-off between populating interfaces with many features to improve efficiency versus distributing them over more screens to make them easier to digest.

Referring to Edward Tufte, Ryan explains the dilemma as a question of having information displayed adjacent in space or stacked in time. He concludes that while screens with low complexity gives the eye less to filter through, separating elements onto different screens reduces the need for navigation and makes it easier to move attention from one element to another.


Henrik Olsen - September 01, 2008

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See also: Simplicity vs. capability (7) 



What does it mean for page design that users have learned to scroll?

Boxes and Arrows has interviewed Milissa Tarquini on her article, Blasting the Myth of the Fold. In the podcast Milissa talks about:

- how user testing and web analytics show that users have learned to scroll
- how we need to rethink how we design web pages
- how the bottom of web pages is the new frontier


  • Blasting the Myth of the Fold - Podcast with Milissa Tarquini Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 03, 2007

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See also: Interviews (30)  Audio and video (48) 



How to optimize landing page performance

Marketing Experiments Journal has made a number of A/B tests of landing pages (the pages people land on clicking ads or search result links).

They found that landing page performance can be improved by:
- Focusing on one objective for each page and driving everything on the page to that one objective
- Using a vertical flow through the centre of the page
- Eliminating elements that may distract eye path from the flow toward the objective
- Using visual elements to draw attention toward the call to action
- Avoiding use of off-page links


  • Landing Page Confusion-How Does Having More Than One Objective to a Page Affect its Performance? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 08, 2007 - via Copyblogger

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See also: Research (129)  Persuasive design (21)  E-commerce (27)  Landing pages (5) 



Introductory text should explain the purpose of a web page

According to Jacob Nielsen, the filler text and platitudes found at the top of many web pages should be replaced with text explaining the pages' purpose:

- What will users find on this page, what's its function?
- Why should they care, what's in it for them?


  • Blah-Blah Text: Keep, Cut, or Kill? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - October 01, 2007

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Text (24) 



Stop worrying about the fold

According to Milissa Tarquini, the myth that users don't want to scroll is doing everyone a great disservice, most of all the users. Cramming as much information as possible above the fold of pages complicates the information design.

In her article, Milissa shows evidence from studies and examples from AOL that disproves the myth that users don't scroll. Her recommendation is to stop worrying about the fold and open op page designs to give users some visual breathing room.


  • Blasting the Myth of the Fold Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - July 31, 2007

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