The analysis of eye tracking data gathered during hundreds of missions has allowed us to determine a key behaviour to be taken into account when designing a site: the top zone of an interface is very little noticed and/or only later on during the visit of the website.
This week, I would like to explain the reasons behind this behaviour.
By analyzing the behaviour of thousands of users during missions I worked on, I have observed that a very large majority of users sit similarly behind their computer screen.
That’s why I decided to analyze 100 pictures of people sitting naturally behind their screen. This has revealed an extraordinary tendency: the head is inclined at 20 degrees in relation to the body.
The most natural position for our eyes is on average at 25% of the height of the screen (counting from the top of the screen).
Everything placed above this axis will demand a muscular eye effort. And everything below this point will be more comfortable to look at.
This comfortable zone is called the Netway Interface Comfort Zone.
As we know, 95% of our behaviour is non-conscious. Our brain will choose the places that are the less tiresome for our eyes to look at, which is an activity that goes beyond the conscious choices we make when surfing on a website.
This non-conscious behaviour leads users to start their visit of a website in the Netway Interface Comfort Zone. The zones outside this area will be less visited. And if they are visited, it will be done at a later stage during the visit.
Coupled with the physiological efforts necessary to lead our eyes into the Discomfort Zone, the intensive use of bannering in this zone has created a behaviour of so-called ocular avoidance.
The Netway Interface Comfort Zone is only one of many elements we have discovered during our research, influencing the choices to be made when designing an interface.
The brain of the user will look outside the Comfort Zone when he notices in his peripheral vision an element that could be useful to complete the task at hand.
An expert will take this into account when building an interface.
Let’s have a look at two examples that demonstrate the meaningfulness of the Netway Interface Comfort Zone on a page design.
Google: the first link in the result list appears in the Discomfort Zone. The visibility of the first elements could most probably be improved if they were put in the Netway Interface Comfort Zone. The sponsored links in the right column however, are placed correctly.
Orange: increase the height of the header ‘hello, welcome…’ so the entire advertisement block can be put inside the Netway Interface Comfort Zone.
Of course, it goes without saying that my blog is perfectly calibrated within the Netway Interface Comfort Zone. Have a nice week!
The name “Netway Interface Comfort Zone” and the concept behind the name is protected by the iDEPOT002749.