Modern Internet users are busy people who want to quickly find clear answers to their problems and not waste a second on irrelevant stuff. The research shows that your site has only a blink’s time to engage a user, which is about half a second. This is a so called blink test.
If your site fails it, you’ll have almost no chances to make the user come back since the first impression lasts. This is the issue of website design. If you doubt its importance, just think how many users you can lose in such a simple way.
It has been also found that users expect only 2 things from your site: low visual complexity (less stuff) and high prototypical design (more relevant features). So how can you make your site simple and informative at the same time? The key is to consider the size, color and position of the information on your site.
The following techniques on metrics and “heat mapping” will help you decide on these.
If you want a cheap and fairly effective way, carry out “the coffee shop test”. It is very simple – just go outside, drop in any café with your site on a lap top and find out people’s instant reaction to it. Ask so many people as possible to get complete data, then write everything down and make conclusions about what improvements you need to do.
The other way is using more expensive but also much more effective heat mapping tools. They map out the mouse moves and show how long users stay on each section. These are good for exploration of real-time activity. The simplest such tool is in-page analytics provided by Google Analytics. It gives you numbers from which you can know links and images should be moved or removed.
More sophisticated tools offer different kinds of heat maps. A standard heat map uses colors to show which sections get more clicks. A scroll map reveals how far down users scroll before stopping and where they pause for some reading the most. There is even a confetti map which adds to the standard heat map indicating who clicked where. You may choose from such heat mapping tools:
A combination of heat mapping and eye-tracking tools gives especially insightful results. But using several of such tools at a time is counter-productive since you spend too much time on deciphering the numbers. Using the featured methods will help you improve your site design and face users’ expectations to pass the blink test for sure.