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New OCLC eye-tracking study reports the effects of page layout on how users process search results


As part of OCLC's ongoing efforts to evaluate and improve the user interfaces of our services, Lead User Experience Researcher Mike Prasse, PhD, recently conducted an eye-tracking study in order to better understand how the format of search services affect how users process the results.

Results indicate that the description that accompanies the title of an entry was very important to users when looking for a book, but less so when searching for articles. Prasse discusses how subtle differences in page layout can have a major impact on what users first look at on a results page, and for how long. He also explores the idea of "thin-slicing," where users look for key features of an object, rather than the object itself as a possible explanation of his findings. Other results include information about facets, summaries and other elements of the two services he compared, and GoogleBooks.

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