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Examining the Order Effect of Website Navigation Menus With Eye Tracking

Alex J DeWitt

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 6, Issue 1, November 2010, pp. 39 - 47

Abstract

We analysed the eye-tracking data of 147 participants as they used a total of 15 separate website navigation menus to complete key activities. The hypotheses for this study were that (a) the psychological phenomenon of the order effect would manifest in that items at either end of a menu would be located more quickly than those in the middle and (b) that the items that were relevant to completing the user’s tasks would be located more quickly through peripheral visual identification of these items. Although items relevant to the user’s task were acquired 1.8 seconds faster on average, both of the hypotheses were rejected as no statistically significant patterns were found. It was concluded that each user was likely to have his or her own searching behaviour and this could be affected by other factors such as the graphic design of the menu.

Practitioner’s Take Away

This study makes available an interpretation of a large set of eye-tracking data that many practitioners may not have access to and allows some interesting take away messages in the use of eye-tracking technology in usability studies:

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Examining the Order Effect of Website Navigation Menus With Eye Tracking