• http://www.search-usability.com/ Shari Thurow

    I think this eyetracking data, though interesting, can easily be misinterpreted. A snippet has more text in it than a title. Therefore, people will probably spend more time looking at a snippet merely due to allocation of screen real estate rather than genuine interest.

    That is a core problem with eyetracking studies – a study might tell you how people look at things, but not why they look at things.

    They might look at things because they are distracted from completing a task. And they might look at something due to genuine interest. Again, the “why” part is extremely important.

    I also hope that people do not overgeneralize the data from this study. People from different countries, and even from different regions of the same country, look at elements on web pages differently. Andy Atkins-Kruger knows exactly what I mean.

    Microsoft has done some incredible work on eyetracking, and their data does not match this data. It might be due to the fact that test participants were located in different geographic regions.

    I highly recommend to keep this in perspective. It is very easy to overgeneralize, and misinterpret, eyetracking data. In fact, many prominent usability professionals do not endorse eyetracking due to easy misinterpretation of data.

  • http://dynamical.biz/blog/ Ani Lopez

    Hi Shari:
    “snippet has more text in it than a title therefore, people will probably spend more time looking at a snippet” but title is got a different text colour and bigger size compensating it so these kind of studies are quite relevant to determine the importance of every element in SERPs.

    “a study might tell you how people look at things, but not why they look at things” yes, you are right, nothing tells you the real ‘why’ unless you have some mind-reader device, that’s why the study wants to go further adding intention (a better way to get closer to the ‘why’) as one more element in equation.

    “People from different countries/regions look at elements on web pages differently” Right, I know quite well what international SEO means and this is pretty obvious. if he’s got more info on that particular subject, me and the rest of the community would like to hear his say.
    This study was done in Spain, no idea, till we can compare to studies done in similar conditions, how different behaviour is going to be in other cultures/countries.