Behavior Patterns Articles & Videos

  • Love at First Sight in Eyetracking

    When users search for information, they don't always keep looking for the best solution. In our eyetracking studies 20% of the time, users make do with the first result and don't look any further.

  • Dangerous UX: Consequential Options Close to Benign Options

    Confirmatory and destructive actions should be far apart from each other; use additional redundant visual signals to differentiate between them and avoid user errors.

  • Abandoning Best Practices in UX

    When should one abandon best practices in user experience, and what does it take to declare that something is a best practice?

  • 5 Types of E-commerce Shoppers

    Extensive user research with people shopping online identified 5 main types of behavior: product-focused, browsing, researchers, bargain-hunters, and one-time shoppers. Each user type benefits from different UX elements.

  • Compensatory vs Noncompensatory: 2 Decision-Making Strategies

    Ease users’ purchase decisions by designing interfaces that support both compensatory and noncompensatory decision-making strategies.

  • COVID-19 Has Changed Your Users

    People’s behaviors and preferences have shifted. Research will help you figure out how your users have changed and how your designs need to adapt.

  • Changes in Important Information-Seeking Behavior on the Internet Over 22 Years

    We studied the most important activities users perform on the internet, repeating an old classic study. Users' most critical behaviors have shifted substantially over 22 years, due to more information available online and the constant presence of mobile devices.

  • Video Game Engagement vs Addiction

    An engaging gameplay experience is good design. But there's a fine line between engagement and addiction, which would be bad UX, especially in the long term.

  • Different Information-Seeking Tasks: Behavior Patterns and User Expectations

    Fact-finding tasks were less memorable, while complex research-based tasks required more effort from users. Top user expectations for each task type varied.

  • Passive Information Acquisition on the Increase

    People increasingly discover critical information online without actively searching for it, but such information has poor context and may have credibility issues.

  • Teenage Users Compared to Other Age Groups

    Age groups differ in how they use websites, the internet, and computers. Our findings from studying teenagers are contrasted with our other user research with children and adults: user experience designers should target their designs based on target audience behavior patterns.

  • The Pinball Pattern of Scanning Search Results Pages

    Today, a SERP (search engine results page) contains so many design elements that users don't have a simple way of picking out their preferred link. Eyetracking studies show that users' eyes bounce around the page between items in a scan pattern that resembles a pinball machine game.

  • Slips vs. Mistakes

    User errors while using computers take two forms: slips (right intent, wrong action) and mistakes (wrong intent). Understanding the differences between the types of user error will help you design to prevent or minimize these problems.

  • Bounces vs Exits in Web Analytics

    It's important to study why users leave websites. Analytics tools give you two metrics for web pages: exit rate and bounce rate. Understanding the difference between these two numbers is essential for better UX design.

  • Choice Overload Impedes User Decision-Making

    Too many offerings (e.g., products or services) on a website make it harder for users to make a decision due to analysis paralysis. Alternatively, too many options can also cause users to hastily make a decision and later regret their choice due to buyer's remorse.

  • How Information-Seeking Behavior Has Changed in 22 Years

    We organize online information-seeking activities that lead to important decisions and actions according to 5 dimensions: purpose, method, content, social interaction, and device used to carry out the activity.

  • Mental Models for Cloud-Storage Systems

    Users have a rudimentary understanding of cloud services and attempt to fit them into their existent, simpler mental models that they had formed for similar, more-traditional services.

  • Complex Search-Results Pages Change Search Behavior: The Pinball Pattern

    Because today’s search-results pages have many possible complex layouts, users don’t always process search results sequentially. They distribute their attention more variably across the page than in the past.

  • The Negativity Bias in a User's Experience

    Negative experiences have stronger emotional impact on humans than positive experiences do. Thus, in designing the user experience, we need extra emphasis on avoiding those lows.

  • Changes in How Senior Citizens Use Computers

    Our new user research with seniors (users aged 65 and up) shows 3 major shifts in how they use computers, compared with our first research with this audience, 20 years ago. Design for today's older users, and not for your stereotype of how these users used to be.

  • Love at First Sight in Eyetracking

    When users search for information, they don't always keep looking for the best solution. In our eyetracking studies 20% of the time, users make do with the first result and don't look any further.

  • Abandoning Best Practices in UX

    When should one abandon best practices in user experience, and what does it take to declare that something is a best practice?

  • 5 Types of E-commerce Shoppers

    Extensive user research with people shopping online identified 5 main types of behavior: product-focused, browsing, researchers, bargain-hunters, and one-time shoppers. Each user type benefits from different UX elements.

  • Changes in Important Information-Seeking Behavior on the Internet Over 22 Years

    We studied the most important activities users perform on the internet, repeating an old classic study. Users' most critical behaviors have shifted substantially over 22 years, due to more information available online and the constant presence of mobile devices.

  • Video Game Engagement vs Addiction

    An engaging gameplay experience is good design. But there's a fine line between engagement and addiction, which would be bad UX, especially in the long term.

  • Teenage Users Compared to Other Age Groups

    Age groups differ in how they use websites, the internet, and computers. Our findings from studying teenagers are contrasted with our other user research with children and adults: user experience designers should target their designs based on target audience behavior patterns.

  • The Pinball Pattern of Scanning Search Results Pages

    Today, a SERP (search engine results page) contains so many design elements that users don't have a simple way of picking out their preferred link. Eyetracking studies show that users' eyes bounce around the page between items in a scan pattern that resembles a pinball machine game.

  • Slips vs. Mistakes

    User errors while using computers take two forms: slips (right intent, wrong action) and mistakes (wrong intent). Understanding the differences between the types of user error will help you design to prevent or minimize these problems.

  • Bounces vs Exits in Web Analytics

    It's important to study why users leave websites. Analytics tools give you two metrics for web pages: exit rate and bounce rate. Understanding the difference between these two numbers is essential for better UX design.

  • Choice Overload Impedes User Decision-Making

    Too many offerings (e.g., products or services) on a website make it harder for users to make a decision due to analysis paralysis. Alternatively, too many options can also cause users to hastily make a decision and later regret their choice due to buyer's remorse.

  • The Negativity Bias in a User's Experience

    Negative experiences have stronger emotional impact on humans than positive experiences do. Thus, in designing the user experience, we need extra emphasis on avoiding those lows.

  • Changes in How Senior Citizens Use Computers

    Our new user research with seniors (users aged 65 and up) shows 3 major shifts in how they use computers, compared with our first research with this audience, 20 years ago. Design for today's older users, and not for your stereotype of how these users used to be.

  • Change Blindness in User Interfaces

    Change blindness is the tendency for people to overlook things that change outside their focus of attention. In user interface design, this explains why screen changes that seem striking to the designer can be completely ignored by users.

  • Why Users Feel Trapped in Their Devices: The Vortex

    Many users report anxiety and lack of control over the amount of time they spend online. We call this feeling “the Vortex.”

  • Hick's Law: Designing Long Menu Lists

    Hick's Law (or the Hick–Hyman Law) says that the more choices you present to your users, the longer it takes them to reach a decision. However, combining Hick’s Law with other design techniques can make long menus easy to use.

  • Page Parking: Multi-Tab Obsession Common Among Millennials

    People open numerous tabs in rapid succession as a strategy to save time. The tabs serve as a memory aid.

  • Banner Blindness: Ad-Like Elements Divert Attention

    Recent eyetracking studies confirm an old finding: People tend to ignore design elements that signal advertisements.

  • F-Pattern in Reading Digital Content

    Eyetracking research shows people read Web content in the F-pattern. The results highlight the importance of following guidelines for writing for the Web.

  • Jakob's Law of Internet User Experience

    Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. Design for patterns for which users are accustomed.

  • Dangerous UX: Consequential Options Close to Benign Options

    Confirmatory and destructive actions should be far apart from each other; use additional redundant visual signals to differentiate between them and avoid user errors.

  • Compensatory vs Noncompensatory: 2 Decision-Making Strategies

    Ease users’ purchase decisions by designing interfaces that support both compensatory and noncompensatory decision-making strategies.

  • COVID-19 Has Changed Your Users

    People’s behaviors and preferences have shifted. Research will help you figure out how your users have changed and how your designs need to adapt.

  • Different Information-Seeking Tasks: Behavior Patterns and User Expectations

    Fact-finding tasks were less memorable, while complex research-based tasks required more effort from users. Top user expectations for each task type varied.

  • Passive Information Acquisition on the Increase

    People increasingly discover critical information online without actively searching for it, but such information has poor context and may have credibility issues.

  • How Information-Seeking Behavior Has Changed in 22 Years

    We organize online information-seeking activities that lead to important decisions and actions according to 5 dimensions: purpose, method, content, social interaction, and device used to carry out the activity.

  • Mental Models for Cloud-Storage Systems

    Users have a rudimentary understanding of cloud services and attempt to fit them into their existent, simpler mental models that they had formed for similar, more-traditional services.

  • Complex Search-Results Pages Change Search Behavior: The Pinball Pattern

    Because today’s search-results pages have many possible complex layouts, users don’t always process search results sequentially. They distribute their attention more variably across the page than in the past.

  • Large Devices Preferred for Important Tasks

    Despite substantial improvements in mobile UX over the past decade, people still tend to do their most important online activities on larger screens.

  • Children’s UX: Usability Issues in Designing for Young People

    New research with users aged 3–12 shows that children have gained substantial proficiency in using websites and apps since our last studies, though many designs are still not optimized for younger users. Designing for children requires distinct usability approaches, including targeting content narrowly for children of different ages.

  • Filling the Silence with Digital Noise

    Many people use digital media to avoid silence or empty time.

  • Shopping Cart or Wishlist? Saving Products for Later in Ecommerce

    On ecommerce sites, saving shopping-cart items for possible later purchase must be discoverable and low-effort.

  • Distracted Driving: UX’s Responsibility to Do No Harm

    I walked away from two distracted-driving accidents in one week. Can we use known UX principles to reduce harm?

  • Banner Blindness Revisited: Users Dodge Ads on Mobile and Desktop

    Users have learned to ignore content that resembles ads, is close to ads, or appears in locations traditionally dedicated to ads.

  • Scrolling and Attention

    People scroll vertically more than they used to, but new eyetracking data shows that they will still look more above the page fold than below it.

  • The Principle of Commitment and Behavioral Consistency

    Getting users to make a small commitment and follow up on it can increase engagement with content.

  • Variations on Practiced Patterns Cause Mistakes

    Past experiences and repeated practice inform user expectations. Deviations from a learned routine lead to user errors.

  • Exhaustive Review or “I Can’t Believe It’s Not There” Phenomenon: Evidence from Eyetracking

    Repeatedly scanning the same content can indicate confusion or engagement. Often, it happens because users’ expectations are not met.

  • Horizontal Attention Leans Left

    Users spend 80% of the viewing time on the left half of the page vs. 20% on the right half. Standard designs will maximize user efficiency and company profits.

  • Scanning Patterns on the Web Are Optimized for the Current Task

    How users attend to information on a page depends on their tasks and goals, as confirmed by new eyetracking research. Good design promotes efficient scanning. In usability studies, task formulation may tip users to discover features.