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Brain science and building the perfect website

August 30, 2015 1 Comment

coke-website-heatmapNeuromarketing can make a contribution to website design in three powerful ways:

Help designers understand how people’s brains actually consume web pages

Eye tracking applied to website viewing has shown that gaze patterns are determined by two types of attention:

  • Bottom-up attention: This type of attention is involuntary and automatic. When viewing websites, bottom-up attention is attracted to certain types of features, such as brightness relative to background, distinct borders, the center of the viewing area, and tight groupings of objects on the page. These reactions are automatically produced by the brain’s visual processing system and can be predicted at an 80 percent accuracy rate by software.
  • Top-down attention: This type of attention is driven by the viewer’s goals and expectations. Following the first few moments of scanning, which are controlled by the automatic attention system, goals take over to determine where the viewer will look next and for how long.

This dependence on goals means that web pages should not be thought of as having some objective level of “effectiveness.” Web page and website effectiveness can only be determined relative to the goals and expectations that viewers bring to the page.

Provide clues regarding the major sources of website frustration

Studies have shown that website frustration usually occurs when the viewer’s goals and expectations are impeded by the web page’s organization, task flow design, or goal-irrelevant clutter (usually advertising) around the page. These disruptions of goal pursuit can occur at the nonconscious level, and they can significantly impact the viewer’s attitudes and behavior, often without the viewer being aware of the real sources of his or her responses.

Help designers understand how nonconscious processing impacts online experiences

Although tasks and goals on websites are predominantly conscious in origin and pursuit, nonconscious processes continue to play an important role in website viewing. Website designers and online advertisers need to understand how low-attention processing, priming, and implicit memory all operate alongside conscious processes in order to design online experiences that maximize online effectiveness and web experience satisfaction.

N4D-cover -120pxThis post is excerpted, with minor edits, from Neuromarketing for Dummies, Chapter 3, “Putting Neuromarketing to Work.”

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About the Author:

Steve is a writer, speaker, researcher, and marketing consultant. He is author of Intuitive Marketing (2019), a study of persuasion and influence in marketing theory and practice, and co-author of Neuromarketing for Dummies (2013), a comprehensive overview of neuromarketing science, applications, methodologies, and ethics. He is Managing Partner at Intuitive Consumer Insights, where he focuses on marketing education and consulting.

Comments (1)

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  1. Anida says:

    Hi, I am a PhD student and my research proposal is related to contribution of neuromarketing to website design. Therefore, I found this article quite useful. It might be interesting to read about the advantages of neuromarketing in this matter, compared to some already known tools used for tracking online consumer behavior and preferences (e.g. mouse click patterns, statistics, analytics, etc).
    Thanks for your thoughts. I will definitely keep my eye out on the blog content in the future.

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