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21

Browse vs. search

This paper describes an interesting study of e-commerce sites that was set up to determine factors involved in the decision to use search or browse menus to find products.

According to the authors Michael A. Katz and Michael D. Byrne, the decision of a user to search or browse a site is affected by multiple factors including:
- The site information architecture in terms of labeling and menu structure
- The user's inclination to search
- The prominence of search and browse areas

They found that:
- Given broad, high-scent menus, participants searched less than 10% of the time, but they searched almost 40% of the time when faced with narrow, low-scent menus
- Participants showed a higher success rate when using the menus to find products as opposed to search
- Searching for products wasn't faster or more accurate than browsing

Links:

Henrik Olsen - February 24, 2005

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: Navigation (46)  Search (24)  E-commerce (21) 


 

22

Blog on eye-tracking research

Greg Edwards had dedicated a blog to eye-tracking analysis. He will publish interesting viewing data and rules-of-thumb from measuring what people read, look at, skip, and ignore on web pages.

Links:

  • The blog Eyetools Research Blog

Henrik Olsen - February 23, 2005

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See also: Eye-tracking (9)  Blogs (11) 


 

23

Segmenting online customers by behaviour

According to the authors of this article, the most effective segmentation scheme for online consumers is to group them by their online behaviour.

They have defined seven segments:

- Quickies (8%): Short visits to a few familiar sites.
- Just the Facts (15%): Search for specific information from known sites.
- Single Mission (7%): Information gathering or completion of a certain task at an unfamiliar site.
- Do It Again (14%): Visits to favourite sites.
- Loitering (16%): Longer leisure visits to familiar sites.
- Information, Please (17%): In-depth information gathering from a range of unfamiliar sites.
- Surfing (23%): Short visits to a lot of mostly unfamiliar sites.

The authors claim that by decoding the type of behaviour users are engaged in, online marketers will raise the odds of communicating with their target consumers at the time they are most likely to pay attention to and be influenced by offers.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - February 07, 2005

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See also: Persuasive design (13)  Requirement Analysis (12)  E-commerce (21) 


 

24

Usability of websites for teenagers

Jakob Nielsen and NN/G have studied teenagers using twenty-three web-sites. In the study they found that:

- Teenagers have a lower success rate (55%) than adults (66%)
- Their low performance is caused by insufficient reading skills, less sophisticated research strategies, and a dramatically lower patience level
- Surprisingly, tiny fonts caused the teens problems and provoked negative comments
- Teens like cool-looking graphics, but the sites have to be fast and the interaction straight forward
- They don't like to read a lot
- They're easily bored and want interactive features
- The word "kid" is a teen repellent

Links:

  • The article Usability of Websites for Teenagers

Henrik Olsen - February 01, 2005

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See also: Site design (8) 


 

25

Accessible doesn't equal usable for people with disabilities

The Communication Technologies Branch of the United States National Cancer Institute has been conduction usability testing with blind people to learn how they work with web-sites and what that means for designers and developers. They conclude that meeting the required accessibility standards doesn't necessarily mean that a web-site is usable for people with disabilities.

The authors describe how blind users work with their screen readers and present 31 guidelines based on their findings.

Links:

  • The article Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites

Henrik Olsen - January 17, 2005

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See also: Accessibility (11) 


 

26

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 (46)  Ads (6) 


 

27

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: Ads (6) 


 

28

Trigger words makes users dig into a site

According to Jared Spool, users browse websites using a Move-Forward-Until-Found Rule:

"...a web page can do only one of two things: either it contains the content the user wants or it contains the links to get them to the content they want. If a page doesn't follow this rule, then the users stop clicking..."

Trigger words is what makes users dig in to a site - words that contain the essential elements that provide the motivation to continue with the site.

In a study where the test participants were first interviewed about what they hoped to find on a number of large websites, UIE found that when the participants were successful in finding their target content, the words that they used in the interview appeared 72% of the time on the site's front page. When they where unsuccessful, their words appeared only 6% of the time.

UIE also found that when the participants didn't find any trigger words, they were far more likely to use the site's search function.

Links:

  • The article The Right Trigger Words

Henrik Olsen - December 13, 2004

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See also: Navigation (46)  Text (14)  Links (12) 


 

29

Customers research online and buy offline

According to a survey, 65% of online US consumers come in to a retailer already knowing exactly what they want because they've done their product research online. The phenomenon, called cross-channel shopping, shows how important online merchandising is.

Additional findings from the survey:
- 51% of cross-channel customers are active shoppers who made at least one purchase in the past three months
- Cross-channel shoppers are comprised of wealthier, younger and more experienced online customers
- When cross-channel shoppers go to the offline retail, 47% end up spending more for additional products ($154 in average)
- 48% noted that the reason for buying offline is that they want to see the item before purchasing it
- 16% noted that the reason for buying offline was the need to talk with a salesperson before buying

The survey is based on 8,000 online customers and was conducted in 2004.

Links:

  • The article Majority of US Consumers Research Online, Buy Offline

Henrik Olsen - October 18, 2004

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: E-commerce (21) 


 

30

The optimal layout of search result pages

The authors of this article have studied the optimal layout of search result pages. Their findings suggest that categorizing search results improve users' performance significantly.

The authors tested seven different search result layouts, and found that:
- In all cases, categorized search results were faster than non-categorized results
- Despite the cost of additional scrolling, the layout with categorized search results, page titles and text summaries was the most effective
- Participants generally preferred the categorized results to the non-categorized
- Adding category information to non-categorized results didn't improve performance
- Removing category names from categorized results didn't hurt performance, but the participants disliked the absence of a category name

Apparently, categorized search results help users weed out irrelevant results and focus in on the area of interest more quickly.

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 10, 2004 - via Semantic Studio

Permanent link Comments (0)

See also: Search (24) 


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