28 April 2010

Are people drawn to faces on web pages?

Short presentation by Tom Tullis, on an eye-tracking study which looks at use of faces on web pages. Apparently, users tend to be drawn to faces when browsing but the more task-driven they are, the less likely they are to pay attention to anything that resembles advertising, and faces usually mean advertising.

Email newsletters: usability

Jakob Nielsen has written an interesting article on the e-newsletters from the 3 major parties in the UK election campaign, from a usability perspective. My summary:


Remove distractions from the sign-up page.

While consistency is usually good, it's actually bad to include a 'Sign up' link on the sign-up page, even if it shows on every other page on the site.

Privacy policy: Users need to see (or get to) the privacy policy where you ask for their info.

Confirmation page: Say exactly what you're confirming right up top.

Send confirmation email ASAP, with a readable 'from' field and an unambiguous 'subject field'.
Good example:
From: Liberal Democrats
Subject: Thank you for signing up for Liberal Democrat email news

Bad example:
From: labourparty@email-new.labour.org.uk
Subject: Thank you for signing up


'From' field: either a recognised institutional name or a celebrity in his/her own name.

Subject line: add some actual content to summarise, and enhance the "open-me" attractiveness of the email.

Publication frequency: Be consistent, and consistent with what you promised. And not too often.

Feature prominent links to Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

Write at a year 8 reading level (suitable for a well-schooled 15-year-old.)
More info on catering for visitors with low literacy >