Seth Godin has posted a fascinating video on his blog which shows eye tracking results of Squidoo. Lots can be gleaned by watching where people look on a website and while Squidoo is a little different from most blogs there are a number of take home lessons that I can see (none are particularly new and it is worth noting that each example in the video is a little different).
Pictures draw the eye – I was interested in a number of the examples to see that as people scrolled down a page that the first thing they often looked at was the thumbnail pictures – it was almost as if these were what were getting people to scroll.
Headings work well – similarly to pictures – headings and sub headings were often the first thing to be read upon scrolling. Quite often people read nothing more than the headings at all. Particularly good were headings in contrasting colors.
Blocks of Text Avoided – Most Squidoo pages don’t have large blocks of text but even medium sized ones were rarely read all the way through. In fact I saw little evidence of much reading at all – lots of scanning. Where people did seem to read they rarely finished a paragraph.
Lists seem popular – On a few occasions lists seemed to make those being tracked stop and do a little reading (although quite often people didn’t get to the bottom of lists and just read the headings of each point).
Buttons and Menus worked – I was surprised how much time some users seemed to hover over navigational elements of the design.
Ads were avoided – This didn’t surprise me at all. Seth says that it was because AdSense ads are familiar to we users and that’s the reason – I’d also argue that because Squidoo use the default design for their AdSense ads and position them low on the right hand side that they are never going to perform well.