A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Jakob Nielsen on How Visitors Look at Your Site

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Jakob Nielsen’s last two Alertbox updates have focused on how visitors look at your site. His research conclusions:

Web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page and
30% viewing the right half. (Alert Box for April 6, 2010.)

Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page
fold. Although users do scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention
below the fold. (Alert Box for March 22, 2010.)

He concludes that a conventional layout is a more usable and therefore more profitable way to build your site. We agree. Though there are times it makes sense to push the boundaries a bit and challenge your audience – we think we’ve done a nice job here for ZeroXposur – you should usually make it easy for peeople to find what they want by keeping navigational controls where they expect them.

Even more interesting is the data for above the fold / below the fold. The data seems to imply not that there’s nothing below the fold worth reading, but that the visitor has already made up his or her mind before scrolling. So if you haven’t hooked ’em before they have to scroll, you probably aren’t going to keep them. More evidence that well crafted copy and powerfully engaging calls to action are vitally important to a site’s success.


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