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Gennady Ustinov
Gennady Ustinov

Watch Blindness Online For

Banner blindness is a phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or unconsciously ignore banner-like information. A broader term covering all forms of advertising is ad blindness, and the mass of banners that people ignore is called banner noise.

Watch Blindness Online For

The term banner blindness was coined in 1998[1] as a result of website usability tests where a majority of the test subjects either consciously or unconsciously ignored information that was presented in banners. The information that was overlooked included both external advertisement banners and internal navigational banners, often called "quick links".

This does not, however, mean that banner ads do not influence viewers. Website viewers may not be consciously aware of an ad, but it does have an unconscious influence on their behavior.[5] A banner's content affects both businesses and visitors of the site.[3] The placement of ads is important for capturing attention. Use of native advertisements and social media is used to avoid banner blindness.

A possible explanation for the banner blindness phenomenon may be the way users interact with websites. Users tend to either search for specific information or browse aimlessly from one page to the next, according to the cognitive schemata that they have constructed for different web tasks. When searching for specific information on a website, users focus only on the parts of the page where they assume the relevant information will be, e.g. small text and hyperlinks.[6] A new methodological view has been taken into account, in a particular study conducted by Hervet et al., focusing on whether participants actually paid attention to the ads and on the relationship between their gaze behavior and their memories of these ads, investigating via eye-tracking analysis whether internet users avoid looking at ads inserted on a non-search website, and whether they retain ad content in memory. The study found that most participants fixated ads at least once during their website visit.[7] When a viewer is working on a task, ads may cause a disturbance, eventually leading to ad avoidance. If a user wants to find something on the web page and ads disrupt or delay their search, they will try to avoid the source of interference.[8]

Increase in the number of advertisements is one of the main reasons for the trend in declining viewer receptiveness towards internet ads.[4] There exists a direct correlation between number of ads on a webpage and "ad clutter", the perception that the website hosts too many ads. Number of banner ads, text ads, popup ads, links, and user annoyance as a result of seeing too many ads all contribute to this clutter and a perception of the Internet as a platform solely for advertising.[8] An important determinant in users' viewing behavior is visual attention, which is defined as a cognitive process measured through fixations, i.e. stable gazes with a minimum threshold. As users can concentrate on only one stimulus at a time, having too many objects in their field of vision causes them to lose focus.[9] This contributes to behaviors such as ad avoidance or banner blindness.

The behaviors of the viewers and their interests are important factors in producing CTR. Research shows, people in general dislike banner ads. In fact, some viewers do not look at ads when surfing, let alone click on them. Therefore, when one gains familiarity with a web page, they begin to distinguish various content and their locations, ultimately avoiding banner like areas. By just looking at objects superficially, viewers are able to know objects outside their focus. Since the sizes of most banner ads fall in similar size ranges, viewers tend to develop a tendency to ignore them without actually fixating on them.[8] Bad marketing and ads that are not correctly targeted make it more likely for consumers to ignore banners that aim at capturing their attention. This phenomenon called 'purposeful blindness' shows that consumers can adapt fast and become good at ignoring marketing messages that are not relevant to them.[10][unreliable source?] It is a byproduct of inattentional blindness. Usability tests that compared the perception of banners between groups of subjects searching for specific information and subjects aimlessly browsing seem to support this theory.[6] A similar conclusion can be drawn from the study of Ortiz-Chaves et al. dealt with how right-side graphic elements (in contrast to purely textual) in Google AdWords affect users' visual behavior. The analysis concludes that the appearance of images does not change user interaction with ads.[11]

Effective ads are less like banner ads.[25][unreliable source?] Native ads are ads that are delivered within the online feed content. For example, short video ads played between episodes of a series, text ads in social feeds, graphics ads within mobile apps. The idea is that the ads are designed as a part of general experiences in order to not move the user away from their task. Native ads are better in gaining attention and engagement than traditional ads. In an experiment conducted by Infolinks, integrated native ads were seen 47% faster than banner ads and these areas had 4.5 times more fixations than banner ads. Also, time spent by a user was 40 times more, which leads to better recall. Native ads are consumed the same way as the web content.[20] Viewability can be defined as a measure of whether an ad is visible on a site. Location and placement of an ad affect the viewability. Native advertisements have better viewability because they are better integrated with the website and have useful formats for customers; this is one of the reasons why in-image ads have gained popularity. They are generally found in prime locations laid on top of website images which make them highly visible.[26]

The most prominent result from the new eyetracking studies is not actually new. We simply confirmed for the umpteenth time that banner blindness is real. Users almost never look at anything that looks like an advertisement, whether or not it's actually an ad. (Indeed, banner blindness is moving beyond the online realm, for example into ballot design.)

As the replay shows, the user did fixate once within the ad, but at that moment, the ad is obscured by a pull-down menu. In reality, the user couldn't see the message; the fixation was clearly a mistake that occurred while she was trying to reacquire the menu after briefly looking away from the screen. All of this occurs so quickly that you probably need to review the slow-motion replay to follow the action. (This is typical for eyetracking: the eye moves so fast that our best insights come from watching slow-motion replays.)

(Several readers have asked whether banner blindness extends to search engine ads. It doesn't: text ads on a SERP get a decent number of fixations. The other exception is classified ads. Finally, it's possible that commercials that are embedded within a video stream get viewed; we haven't researched this yet. So there are either 2 or 3 exceptions to the general rule that users avoid looking at ads on websites.)

In addition to the 3 main design elements that occasionally attract fixations in online ads, we discovered a fourth approach that breaks one of publishing's main ethical principles by making the ad look like content:

Ultimately, the fact that online ads get viewed more when they match surrounding content is a strike against the tendency to build advertising networks. If advertising spots are simply auctioned off, then you can't design an optimized ad for each placement.

Every day, retinal specialists are asked about the risks from blue light emitted from electronic devices. (Retinal specialists treat conditions affecting the retina, a thin tissue at the back of the eye that is responsible for vision.) Many people ask whether blue light will increase their risk of age-related macular degeneration and blindness.

Compared to the risk from aging, smoking, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and being overweight, exposure to typical levels of blue light from consumer electronics is negligible in terms of increased risk of macular degeneration or blindness. Furthermore, the current evidence does not support the use of blue light-blocking lenses to protect the health of the retina, and advertisers have even been fined for misleading claims about these types of lenses.

The questionnaire was in three parts. The first part included the socio-demographic details of the students, the second with questions concerning internet use, television viewing and computer games, the third with co-morbid factors and family history of the children, and the last part with vision assessment made by nurses. The children studied were classified into frequent and infrequent viewers of TV/internet. The questions concerning the frequent TV/internet viewers were: i) How often do you watch TV/use the internet? with three possible answers, daily, week days and weekends; and ii) How many hours do you watch TV/internet every day? From these two questions, frequent TV/internet viewers were classified as children watching television or internet for more than three hours a day.

I write for many top newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide, covering the arts and every aspect of travel--business, leisure and online.\n\nI currently contribute to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Architectural Digest and Metropolis, and have written for ARTnews, Conde Nast Traveler, Food & Wine, Smithsonian and many others.\n\nAs the name of my blog post, T & E, suggests, I write about travel, the arts and entertainment for Join me on Twitter @Jane_L_Levere. 041b061a72


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