From Brian Cray’s excellent recent post:

  1. Web form design guidelines: an eyetracking study
    An in-depth comparison of three form designs—Google mail signup, Hotmail signup, and Yahoo! Mail signup. The selection of forms are ideal because each form is long as well as unique in terms of label positioning, field grouping, and identification of required fields. Here are my major takeaways from the study:

    • Make the form fields vertical, not horizontal
    • Left-aligned labels are clearer
    • People tend to fill out all form fields regardless
  2. The Best of Eyetrack III: What We Saw When We Looked Through Their Eyes
    This study focused on the layout of regular content and whether users scan or read. Here were my major takeaways from the study:

    • Headlines draw eyes before pictures
    • People scan the left side of everything
    • The first few words of headlines are very important
    • Single column designs produce the most eye fixations
    • Scrolling is okay
    • Introductory paragraphs get read
  3. F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
    This is a classic eye-tracking study by a classic guru: Jakob Nielsen. If you don’t know who he is and you’re in web design, read his books or get out of the biz. Anyway, this particular eye tracking study reveals that users read content in a “F” pattern. Here are my major takeaways from the study:

    • People read the headline and the first paragraph before scanning the left side of the content
    • Headlines should start with keywords to pull the eyes from the left margin

via 3 eye tracking studies that influenced my latest redesign.