Some content marketers call it line-of-sight, some think that the “line of sight” terminology does not sufficiently convey or represent the idea. I’ve knocked a few searches but didn’t care to follow through to identify the source. *Looking at the coffee machine far end of the table*.
But I would like to show appreciation nonetheless, to usability specialist James Breeze who blogs at UsableWorld, I thank him for a well written article on how faces can be used to direct attention to a specific content or message.
I also thank Derek Halpern for his interpretation in regards to how human faces can impact conversion rates. He basically sums it up with the conclusion of how human has the natural tendency of following someone’s gaze, and such inclination is irresistible.
You can read the full article here.
Whatever you call it, here’s the bottom line and you’ll gonna like what you hear: Human has a natural tendency to look at faces presented on webpages. Before you read on, I sincerely urge you to first watch the 40 seconds video.
An eleven month old baby scanning through web pages of what seems foreign to him shown interest on the most familiar things he’s come to known at that age – faces. Using an Tobii T60 eye tracker, the experimenter proves a solid point. The same usability test was conducted more than several time across several communities belonging to different demography and age groups. This usability test has gotten even more popular as web designers and content marketers caught up with the trend, and as the simple realization find its way onto more and more websites. So much for user experience and usability testing these days. I’m not complaining.
The images of faces that capture people’s attention can be used to guide people around a website or an ad
Here are some samples that I’ve scraped off the net:
See what all my examples have in common? Marketers know that pretty ladies convert better (joke aside, this statement is strangely true enough, ask marketers who’ve run e-commerce websites).
I was hesitant with the fourth landing page example. It didn’t illustrates my point but hey we’re not taking a test here. This is blogging and besides, the example kind of bring up another good point. Her posture, her gesture, and the unmistakable attempt of hinting at the call-to-action button in the way she held the electronic cigarette. Guess we’d leave that for another topic.
For the empiricist or the statistical-reliant analyst out there, here’s a good study with a sample size of 106 with randomized sorting or order. In the study, the heat maps of two separate versions of an otherwise perfectly identical ad are compared against each other.
Which would you put your money on a usability experience point of view?
You really ought to be the point now. The different level of red in the heat map indicates different level of attention allocated to that particular spot. Notice how visitors picked up the clue from the baby’s face — either out of habitual tendency, natural curiosity, or anything else — and their eye movement began to navigate along the designated path, ultimately consuming the content with a stronger focus than if the ad were featuring a face that looks straight into the screen and not the block of content.
This goes back to the old saying that site visitors, or consumers in general, really don’t know what they want most of the time. When there is no clear hierarchy or a clear path of call to actions, they would casually take their pick, ignoring the big block of copy, and leave the page as soon as their interest wears out.
The solution? Make it unmistakably obvious where that short span of interest should be allocated, and you can direct the attention unobtrusively through social cues.
If it doesn’t work, try pretty ladies. They convert better.
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