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> I found a study by a midwestern university that tested ad banners and
> eye patterns, and found that banners at the top of pages don't get read,
> but banners one-third down do! The study also found that indexes down
> the left side had better response rates than top indexes or right ones
> despite the right scroll buttons! As I remember it, the sample size was
> about 1400 users.
>It's been about 4 years, so I may have some difficulty resurrecting that
> URL. However, Jeff Hanvey may have it in his bibliography
Unfortunately, I don't. I spent a lot of time a resources scouring the web
for just such articles, but other than Jakob Neilson's Useit.com site, I
never found any trustworthy "scientific" studies on web usability. Sadly it
is an area that doesn't seem to get much attention from the researchers. In
fact, the English department didn't think it was "worthy," or that it
belonged to another department's area of study (My department chair made
certain to tell me that, although he had no problems with my choice).
The few studies I did see weren't very clear on their methodology, which
lead me to suspect that they didn't control the test. Since these "tests"
were online, there was a lot of room for errors - multiple votes by one
person, sampling problems, and a host of others. The average user presented
by all of these studies was a white, middle-class male, who was mostly
concerned about online privacy and security (this was during the Great
Cookies War a couple of years ago). I can't remember the rest of the
"characteristics," but I believe that this user spent an average of 10-15
hours on the web, mostly downloading programs, researching interesting
topics, and shopping. I believe that this information was extremely skewed:
For example, one study's test group consisted of a great many people from
the southern US - that study was done at Emory in Atlanta (I seem to
remember it being in Georgia, anyway, but my memory tends to be rather short
Anyway, I'm going to search for that study. I'm creating myself a web page,
part of which is going to hold a lot of online resources for tech writers,
since over the course of my study, I've found some good sources online
design, clip art, fonts, email, storage space, mailing lists, et cetera. I
think I may add this study to it, if I can find it.
"The worst is not, so long as we can say 'This is the worst.'" (King Lear)