Meeting The Eye

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Effective Web design entails both art and science combined. Although a web designer’s graphic design is essential to success, web development companies are also familiarizing themselves with the science of saccade which involves the study of how the human eye travels over a web page. With this knowledge, designers are able to better build an eye-friendly environment that effectively impacts the combination of proper graphic design and what is essentially human behavior.

How the eye moves across a monitor’s or mobile device’s screen dramatically affects the way the mind absorbs information and how the unconscious reacts to the content. The real challenge to web design is to understand what conscious and unconscious considerations go into the visitor’s decision to delve further into the site or just pull the plug and move on to the next site that Google offers as an alternative venue.

Researchers are employing sophisticated equipment to track swift eye movements to determine predictive behavior. Specifically, Saccade studies and maps the quick, simultaneous eye movement of both eyes. Saccades serves as a mechanism for the fast phase of optokinetic nystagmus, which is observing discontinuous individual eye movements. Humans, unlike birds, for example, create a geographical map to what they are viewing piece by piece much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. By focusing on each individual piece, the brain creates a mosaic of what is being viewed.

In addition to being well versed in graphic design, web page creators are learning new anatomical terminology such as “ocular drift” and “smooth pursuit” to know how to best guide the eye through the page in what might be referred to as visual optimization. It’s been long known that the eye “sees” a web page differently from a printed page. Now, designers are learning that the eye may interpret two web pages differently. Essentially, this process is a study in human behavior of the unconscious mind of how we view the world microcosmically.

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