Location matters, especially for non-salient features-An eye-tracking study on the effects of web object placement on different types of websites

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Sandra P. Roth
  • Alexandre N. Tuch
  • Elisa Mekler

  • Javier A. Bargas-Avila
  • Klaus Opwis

Research units

  • University of Basel


Users have clear expectations of where web objects are located on a web page. Studies conducted with manipulated, fictitious websites showed that web objects placed according to user expectations are found faster and remembered more easily. Whether this is also true for existing websites has not yet been examined. The present study investigates the relation between location typicality and efficiency in finding target web objects in online shops, online newspapers, and company web pages. Forty participants attended a within-subject eye-tracking experiment. Typical web object placement led to fewer fixations and participants found target web objects faster. However, some web objects were less sensitive to location typicality, if they were more visually salient and conformed to user expectations in appearance. Placing web objects at expected locations and designing their appearance according to user expectations facilitates orientation, which is beneficial for first impressions and the overall user experience of websites.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-235
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Eye-tracking, First impression, Mental models, User expectation, User experience, Web design

ID: 35670770