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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Talk About Your Golden Triangle!

Aaaah, I finally get to use that headline!

(via Boing Boing)

Lots of great food for thought from Jakob Nielsen and Tara Pernice Coyne reported on at OJR.

The normal stuff:

  • Longer fixation as indicated in heat map studies isn't necessarily good. It can equate to less retention. So the longstanding Nielsen tenet that web users scan is still right, and so you offer them long gobs of content at your peril. So basically, at any given point in the scanning process, many users are still sort of navigating. (Broader takeaway for traditional journalism: it's not enough for newspapers etc. to just put their "great content" online. Online they might need to be investing in genuinely new media forms. Shorter fixation but longer duration might be the experience that reflects true information-gathering online.)
  • Images need to be relevant and personable. Stock images, abstract concepts, and drawings often don't work. (I noticed this in action yesterday, asked to review an ecommerce site that sold an alternative type of flour. The photos on different quantities of flour were stock photos of a variety of desserts you could bake with it. Very confusing to see a cake when I'm expecting to buy flour, and then below that, to see scones. Etc.)

But of course the racy part is this: men fixate on both face and genital area - at least in the ballplayer picture; women fixate only on the face. The finding on the men doesn't surprise me all that much. Should I be surprised to note that the men are either comparing themselves to the athlete, or pondering having sex with him? No. But as always (not being female) I do find it utterly bracing to hear that the women (over 100 in the experiment) all wanted mainly to have a relationship with the ballplayer, or to see what he is focusing on or thinking. Really!?!?

Now there is an alternative explanation: the photo is of George Brett, who had a famous bout of hemorrhoids in the World Series in 1980. Perhaps the men knew this.

I know, this post wasn't pretty. I think it shed more heat than light.

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