Recommended Reads Advent Calendar: Day Fifteen

Adrian Rowe 2 mins

On Day Fifteen of our Christmas Advent Calendar series, Chairman Adrian Rowe recommends Eyetracking Web Usability by Nielsen and Pernice. You could win your own copy of this excellent book just by sharing this post.

Eyetracking Web Usability

Authors: Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice

First published: 2010

We’ve been using eye tracking to help us design better marketing online and offline for almost 25 years now, and this is by far the best book we’ve ever found on the subject – the definitive guide – from the Nielsen Norman team.

Jakob Nielsen is a legendary figure in eye tracking and usability circles, and together with Kara Pernice, the Senior Vice President, they tackle the subject of using eye tracking to evaluate websites supremely comprehensively here.

It’s not a bedtime read, coming in at over 400 pages, but it is divided into clear and distinct sections covering all aspects, including page layout, navigation architecture, web design elements, images and web advertising. Each section is superbly illustrated using heatmaps and gazeplots, and while web design may have moved on a lot since this book was published, human browsing behaviour remains constant.

There is plenty of guidance for those new to eye tracking, too. I especially like the section on ‘why many eye tracking studies are bogus’, as I all too often come across poorly constructed research which gives clients misleading results and advice.

My favourite quote?

This book is peppered with great advice, backed up by extensive research, which is priceless for anyone involved in web design. For example, as Nielsen and Pernice note:

“Web pages are not bank accounts: full is not better. Cluttered or difficult designs make people less likely to find what they want. Only a person who really needs something on a particular site will grin and bear it through an unpleasant user experience.”

Even if you only choose to dip into one or two chapters of this book, you will find fascinating and thought-provoking insights. But despite the technical nature of the subject, the authors write in an easy, readable style that will entice you to read more.

And by the way, if you want to see an example of how Red C approach using eye tracking to evaluate web behaviour, you could check out our Secret Life of Search white paper, free to download, which explores how consumers use Google to search and browse, conducted using the kind of best practice methodologies you’ll find in this book.

The fifteenth of twenty-five of the best business books we’ve ever read. Our recommended reading for your Christmas break. And to celebrate our 25th Anniversary, we’re giving you the chance to win these coveted, sought-after reads, just by sharing and re-posting one of our daily recommendations.


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