My profession is based on a thorough knowledge of the perceptive cognitive system. This knowledge allows experts to make objective choices concerning interfaces.
Without this knowledge, every recommendation is no more than the subjective opinion of one single person. And there is the risk this opinion will be used by numerous people, without it ever being questioned, let alone understood.
I will try to share my knowledge of this wonderful tool with you. It is based on a deep understanding of how the eyes and the brain interact whilst using a website.
This first episode treats the first fundamental point: the perceptive cognitive system adapts itself according to the tasks it has to perform.
To put things as simply as possible, I refer to the work by professor Yarbus. In 1967, he has done a number of experiments aimed at verifying the behaviour of a human being when faced with an image.
His thesis is as follows: depending on the question one has to answer, one will look differently at the different zones of an image.
A number of subjects were asked to perform 7 tasks. Each task was registered with eye-tracking devices.
First, the subjects were asked to perform a free inspection of the image. This means they were asked to look at the image, without having been given any prior question. The 6 following tasks were all related to a specific question to which to provide an answer.
Here are the results…
His conclusions? Each task entails a different eye behaviour, which indicates a different interaction between the eyes and the brain.
In this study, we are dealing with an image but the same goes for an Internet site. According to the tasks users will perform on your site, they will look at different elements.
In the next episode, we will have a detailed look at the interaction between the eyes and the brain, in two different situations:
- In the first situation, no question was asked.
- In the second situation, which is much closer to how users use the web, users were asked to perform a specific task.