The 4 exceptions to banner blindness

blind.JPG[tag]Jakob Nielsen[/tag] reveals something he would rather people didn't know, in the interests of truth. A fact's a fact, and ultimately there are no secrets in usability testing.

Nielsen confirms for the umpteenth time that people ignore anything that looks like an ad, whether they're just skim-reading or studying web content in depth. Three heatmaps of readers' eye movements demonstrate this inexorable fact yet again on Alertbox entry Banner Blindness: Old and New Findings.

Want to know which design elements do attract attention, even if they are banner ads? The first three we knew about. The last one was also common knowledge among Google [tag]AdSense[/tag] users, actually. It breaks the basic ethical standard of making ads look completely different from the body of a web page.

The 4 exceptions to [tag]banner blindness[/tag] are:

  • Plain text. (Hence my mission. Hence my entire career?)
  • Faces. (But not if they look like models.)
  • Cleavage and other "private" body parts. (Even of animals!)
  • Ad that looks like part of the web page in design. (Straying into murky ethical territory.)

Banner blindness, old and new findings

Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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