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Eyetracking Web Usability 1st Edition

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5342498363
ISBN-10: 0321498364
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Eyetracking Web Usability is based on one of the largest studies of eyetracking usability in existence. Best-selling author Jakob Nielsen and coauthor Kara Pernice used rigorous usability methodology and eyetracking technology to analyze 1.5 million instances where users look at Web sites to understand how the human eyes interact with design. Their findings will help designers, software developers, writers, editors, product managers, and advertisers understand what people see or don't see, when they look, and why.

With their comprehensive three-year study, the authors confirmed many known Web design conventions and the book provides additional insights on those standards. They also discovered important new user behaviors that are revealed here for the first time. Using compelling eye gaze plots and heat maps, Nielsen and Pernice guide the reader through hundreds of examples of eye movements, demonstrating why some designs work and others don't. They also provide valuable advice for page layout, navigation menus, site elements, image selection, and advertising. This book is essential reading for anyone who is serious about doing business on the Web.

About the Author

Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., is a principal of Nielsen Norman Group and founder of the “discount usability engineering” movement, emphasizing fast and efficient methods for improving the quality of user interfaces. Dr. Nielsen has been called, “the world’s leading expert on Web usability” by U.S. News and World Report and “the next best thing to a true time machine” by USA Today. He is the author of numerous best-selling books, including Prioritizing Web Usability and the groundbreaking Designing Web Usability, which has sold more than 250,000 copies and has been translated in 22 languages.
Kara Pernice is the managing director of Nielsen Norman Group, where she has led several global Web usability research studies on a variety of topics, such as intranets, accessibility, senior citizens, and emotion and design. She has developed and taught numerous seminars on product life cycles, field studies, usability research, and eyetracking. She has also written and published many reports on Web design and usability methods.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (December 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321498364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321498366
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,250 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D. is a principal of Nielsen Norman Group. He is the founder of the "discount usability engineering" movement, which emphasizes fast and efficient methods for improving the quality of user interfaces. Nielsen was noted as "the world's leading expert on Web usability" by U.S. News and World Report and "the next best thing to a true time machine" by USA Today. Nielsen's Alertbox column on Web usability has been published on the Internet since 1995 and currently has about 200,000 readers. From 1994 to 1998, Nielsen was a Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer. His previous affiliations include Bell Communications Research, the Technical University of Denmark, and the IBM User Interface Institute. See his biography page at for additional biographical information.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sheldon Chang on September 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As one of the other reviewers said, there's not a lot here that will break new ground and most of the points made are things that experienced UI designers already understand. Two exceptions for me were the findings about the attractiveness of text as a design feature and the exact degree that banner blindness can affect a user's experience.

Although a lot of the findings in this book will be more profound for those with less experience, it doesn't mean that this book is ideal for beginners. Quite the contrary, I think the people who can make the most use of this book are people who already understand just about every UI guideline in this book. I say this because this is a book that's all about data and evidence of things a lot of us already know, but can't convince others of. It's a book that might help you persuade someone who's insistent that things need to be done a certain way that perhaps a different approach would be better.

This book really covers a niche topic and will probably bore anyone who doesn't have a high level of academic curiosity to tears. For rookies looking for design tips, there are far more concise and easier to understand volumes of work. In many ways this is a very long research journal article produced in the form of a book. The tomes of data and explanations overwhelm the scattered number of important design points in the book. If you just want to skim the big take away lessons from this book, you can do it in one sitting. Just look at the pictures and read the captions. If you need more background info, then read a few pages around the illustrations for more info.

My one critique of the book and one that might knock half a star off my rating if Amazon did half stars was that the book was difficult to follow in some stretches.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Brenner on February 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many of the web usability observations presented in the book will be helpful, if not essential, to web and ecommerce designers.

However, the book under delivers in the sense that much has been left out which was researched but was not adequately covered in the book, such as usability issues as they pertain to ecommerce sites. Nevertheless, ecommerce designers will still find this quite a useful work.

On another point, the authors could have said much more using far fewer words. For example, many pages were spent going into minute detail on how a particular user utilized a given web site rather than summarizing and following with concise conclusions, making the book a bit onerous to get through. Concise summaries, preferably with bullet points would have been my preference.

There is a lot of good usability information in the book, and I would recommend the book on that basis alone, but be forewarned that the information must be ferreted out from the excess prose.

As a side note, these guys have been in the industry for quite awhile, and I believe serious web/ecommerce designers will find their work quite informative and actionable. In particular, check out their more recent publications as well as their web site, which is quite rich in additional usability guidelines. I'm happy to say, based upon the Alert articles published on their web site, they have learned how to summarize and be concise, and I look forward to seeing whether these habits have propagated to their more recent books. Also, by checking out their web site, you will have the opportunity to see many of their recommended guidelines in action.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cool Freak on August 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are many designers out there that hate Jakob Nielsen with a passion. They don't like the fact that he "gets in the way" of their creativity. You know what? He only says what he says because he and his staff have observed way more web users using websites than probably anyone else in existence.

Those that hate the guy need to grow up and read this book, and his others, to ensure they aren't one of the many designers that continues to propagate the web with designs that frustrate users.

What I like about this book is that most other usability books have what some people would call "subjectivity". However, this one talks about where users' eyes fixated and traveled on a page. There isn't much subjective about that. For example, when someone doesn't even take a peak at one of those huge images a designer put on a page to make it look cool, you can pretty much say that image is useless.

Some may think the material repeats suggestions from his past books or other books, but I think it is nice to now see even more backing/support for those suggestions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nora Brown on May 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with another reviewer who mentioned that the in-depth, step-by-step descriptions of specific users' fixations on a web page are tedious to read, and do little to support any actual design guidelines. At times the conclusions the authors draw seem contradictory, or so general as to be obvious. ("In sum, a combination of layout and content almost always dictates what draws or repels users eyes. (p. 58). I did not need a $40 book to tell me that.)

The examples in this book demonstrate that eyetracking data is too specific to each context (user, task, website, environment) to be able to draw many widely applicable conclusions from it. Though a few interesting phenomena that have design implications are revealed through eyetracking (banner blindness and gaze following, for example), the tool seems better suited to diagnosing specific website problems.

I was definitely disappointed by the scarcity of practical design recommendations in this book.
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