Virtual Seminar

The Scent of Information: Getting Users to Their Content

June 2008

90 minutes

  • An Introduction to Scent
  • Design Factors that Block Scent
  • The Problem with Navigation Panels
  • Longer is Better
  • The Scent of Graphics
Topics:

Does your site effectively pull users to their content? Are your users confident they're on the right track when looking for information on your web site? In this month's seminar, we're bringing User Interface Engineering's most popular conference presentation right to you. Founding Principal, Jared Spool, will present UIE's groundbreaking research on Information Scent. The findings from this research will provide you with crucial tips for getting users to the content they want on your web site.

One of the biggest secrets of successful web sites is that they Design for Scent. The users coming to your site all have one thing in common: their animal instinct. When a user wants to find content, they are on the hunt. Just like a fox in a forest, they’ll be most successful when they pick up a strong scent.

In User Interface Engineering's research, we've uncovered that users know when they are on the right track to finding their content—they follow the Scent of Information. With the right scent, we’ve seen users confidently work their way through web sites to find what they’re seeking. If you don’t know how the scent of information affects your users, chances are your site prevents them from finding your most important content. By understanding how users pick up and keep the scent, you can design more usable web sites.

An Introduction to Scent. We start with an example of what scent looks like when it works. You’ll see how a user successfully works their way straight to their desired content, hidden deep within Hewlett Packard's web site.

Design Factors that Block Scent. We’ll then walk through some of the most common ways designers block scent on web sites: iceberg syndrome, camouflaged links, banner blindness, links that lie, missing words, and misplaced links. You’ll see examples of both good and bad trigger words from a variety of sites, such as the sites for the Boston Globe and the Discovery Channel.

The Problem with Navigation Panels. You’ll see the problems we frequently find with navigation panels and global navigation. We’ll show you some classic problems from Amazon.com, Fidelity.com, and other sites, as they try, unsuccessfully to help users move toward their targets.

Longer is Better. What is the optimal length of a link? How long should your pages be? Looking at the data we’ve collected in thousands of clickstreams, you’ll see exactly how long your links and pages should be, including insightful examples from CNN and Sprint.com.

The Scent of Graphics. Our research has identified and classified the three types of graphics: navigation graphics, content graphics, and decorative graphics.

Jared will answer your questions and offer plenty to consider. This seminar is sure to give you valuable tips to use right away.

  • An Introduction to Scent

  • Design Factors that Block Scent

  • The Problem with Navigation Panels

  • Longer is Better

  • The Scent of Graphics