Clicktale & screen folds

Clicktale is a nice product that creates a video type screencast of actual users on your website. I’ve used it for a client’s website before and think it’s a great tool. It gives you a good sense of how users interactive with a site and a reasonable understanding of their intent (better than log files would do yet not as good as user sessions would).

Anyway, having access to a wide variety of their customer sites has allowed them to do an interesting study into website scrolling behaviors and what they term scroll reach and visitor attention. It’s makes interesting reading.

Their findings have been published in the following 2 parts:

These articles were informed by research conducted on thousands of their clients websites and included over 80,000 page views. A snap shot of findings:

  • The area near the top of the page typically contains the logo and is the first to be scrolled out of view
  • Page areas near the top of the page get about 17 times more exposure than the areas near the bottom
  • Attention peaks at the bottom of a page – perhaps as they pause to make a decision about their next browsing move.
  • Page length does not affect behavior

Sure there’s nothing revolutionary in there but it’s worth having some science to be more informed.

These articles are a follow up to another interesting and popular article they published earlier entitled Unfolding the Fold. Their high level stats:

  • 91% of the page-views had a scroll-bar.
  • 76% of the page-views with a scroll-bar, were scrolled to some extent.
  • 22% of the page-views with a scroll-bar, were scrolled all the way to the bottom.

Their recommendations:

  • Don’t try to squeeze your web page and make it more compact. There is little benefit in “squeezing” your pages since many visitors will scroll down below the fold to see your entire page.
  • Since visitors will scroll all the way to the bottom of your web page, make life easier for them and divide your layout into sections for easy scanning.
  • Minimize your written text and maximize images, visitors usually don’t read text – they scan web pages.
  • Encourage your visitors to scroll down by using a “cut-off” layout.

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