Takeaways: HOW PEOPLE SEE

Vision trumps all the senses. Half of the brainís resources are dedicated to seeing and interpreting what we see. What our eyes physically perceive is only one part of the story. The images coming in to our brains are changed and interpreted. Itís really our brains that are ďseeing.Ē

WHAT YOU SEE ISNíT WHAT YOUR BRAIN GETS

  • What you think people are going to see on your Web page may not be what they do see. It might depend on their background, knowledge, familiarity with what they are looking at, and expectations.
  • You might be able to persuade people to see things in a certain way, depending on how they are presented.

PERIPHERAL VISION IS USED MORE THAN CENTRAL VISION TO GET THE GIST OF WHAT YOU SEE

  • People use peripheral vision when they look at a computer screen, and usually decide what a page is about based on a quick glimpse of what is in their peripheral vision.
  • Although the middle of the screen is important for central vision, donít ignore what is in the viewersí peripheral vision. Make sure the information in the periphery communicates clearly the purpose of the page and the site.
  • If you want users to concentrate on a certain part of the screen, donít put animation or blinking elements in their peripheral vision.

PEOPLE IDENTIFY OBJECTS BY RECOGNIZING PATTERNS

  • Use patterns as much as possible, since people will automatically be looking for them.
  • Use grouping and white space to create patterns.
  • If you want people to recognize an object (for example, an icon), use a simple geometric drawing of the object. This will make it easier to recognize the underlying geons, and thus make the object easier and faster to recognize.
  • Favor 2D elements over 3D ones. The eyes communicate what they see to the brain as a 2D object. 3D representations on the screen may actually slow down recognition and comprehension.

THEREíS A SPECIAL PART OF THE BRAIN JUST FOR RECOGNIZING FACES

  • People recognize and react to faces on Web pages faster than anything else on the page (at least by those who are not autistic).
  • Faces looking right at people will have the greatest emotional impact on a Web page, probably because the eyes are the most important part of the face.
  • If a face on a Web page looks at another spot or product on the page, people will also tend to look at that product. This doesnít necessarily mean that they paid attention to it, just that they physically looked at it.

PEOPLE IMAGINE OBJECTS TILTED AND AT A SLIGHT ANGLE ABOVE

  • People recognize a drawing or object faster and remember it better if itís shown in the canonical perspective.
  • If you have icons at your Web site or in your Web or software application, draw them from a canonical perspective.

PEOPLE SCAN SCREENS BASED ON PAST EXPERIENCE AND EXPECTATIONS

  • Put the most important information (or things you want people to focus on) in the top third of the screen or in the middle.
  • Avoid putting anything important at the edges, since people tend not to look there.
  • Design the screen or page so that people can move in their normal reading pattern.
  • Avoid a pattern where people have to bounce back and forth to many parts of the screen to accomplish a task.

PEOPLE SEE CUES THAT TELL THEM WHAT TO DO WITH AN OBJECT

  • Think about affordance cues when you design. By giving people cues about what they can do with a particular object, you make it more likely that they will take that action.
  • Use shading to show when an object is chosen or active.
  • Avoid providing incorrect affordance cues.
  • Rethink hover cues if youíre designing for a device that uses touch rather than a pointing device.

PEOPLE CAN MISS CHANGES IN THEIR VISUAL FIELDS

  • Donít assume that people will see something on a computer screen just because itís there. This is especially true when you refresh a screen and make one change on it. Users may not even realize they are even looking at a different screen.
  • If you want to be sure that people notice a change in their visual fields, add additional visual cues (such as blinking) or auditory cues (such as a beep).
  • Be cautious about how you interpret eye-tracking data. Donít ascribe too much importance to it or use it as the main basis for design decisions.

PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THINGS THAT ARE CLOSE TOGETHER BELONG TOGETHER

  • If you want items (pictures, photos, headings, or text) to be seen as belonging together, then put them in close proximity.
  • Before you use lines or boxes to separate items or group them together, try experimenting with the amount of space between them first. Sometimes changing the spacing is sufficient, and youíll be reducing the visual noise of the page.
  • Put more space between items that donít go together and less space between items that do. This sounds like common sense, but many Web page layouts ignore this idea.

RED AND BLUE TOGETHER ARE HARD ON THE EYES

  • Avoid putting blue and red or green and red near each other on a page or screen.
  • Avoid blue or green text on a red background, and red or green text on a blue background.

NINE PERCENT OF MEN AND ONE-HALF PERCENT OF WOMEN ARE COLOR-BLIND

  • Check your images and Web sites with www.vischeck.com or colorfilter.wickline.org to see how they will look to someone who is color-blind.
  • If you use color to imply a certain meaning (for example, items in green need immediate attention), use a redundant coding scheme (items in green and with a box around them need immediate attention).
  • When designing color coding, consider colors that work for everyone, for example, varying shades of brown and yellow. Avoid red, green, and blue.

THE MEANINGS OF COLORS VARY BY CULTURE

  • Choose your colors carefully, taking into account the meaning that the colors may invoke.
  • Pick a few major cultures or countries that you will be reaching with your design and check them on the cultural color chart from InformationIsBeautiful.net to be sure youíre avoiding unintended color associations for that culture.

 

Takeways from the book “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” written by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. I just logging the Takeways given at the end of all chapter of the book. These are not my writing. I am just posting them for me for future reference.

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