Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Use the Eye Wisely

A lot of folks have reported on the Eyetrack III research released by The Poynter Institute, the Estlow Center for Journalism & New Media, and Eyetools. As a graphic designer of business collateral I've always preached the more basic "Z" matrix to prioritize how information is laid out for a reader, and this study confirms that basic principle. And now that Eyetrack is getting so much exposure a lot of firms will be looking anew at their materials. If you so inclined I caution you to use the eye wisely.

As you determine what information needs to be on a page, make two lists. One list is the items that you want the reader to know about you or your firm. The second list is those things that the reader has come to find. The second list is the more important list.

A visitor to your firm website enters with questions that need answers. If they have to dig past your chest thumping... they won't. They'll move on. They don't necessarily need to know who you are or what your firm philosophies are. First they need to know how they can deal with the situation they are in (the reason they are looking in the first place). Give them enough of what they want and pretty soon they're asking the questions you hoped for.

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