Left handed people are celebrating today because it is International Left Handers Day. But new research suggests that left-handed people could view your web site entirely differently to someone who is right-handed. And the findings could have important implications for the finances of Google.
Around one in every ten people who visit your web site are left-handed. The new research confirms earlier work on the way we orient the world around us according to our preferred hand. Right handed people, for instance, view the right side of anything in front of them as more positive than the left side. Left handers, show the reverse preference.
In other words, if you put something on the right hand side of your page, most of your readers (right handers) will see that object as positive. But left handers will perceive it as negative, the new research from Stanford Univeristy shows.
This has important implications for web design. For instance, place a “buy now” button on the right hand side of your page and 10% of your readers will veiw it as negative. Place it on the left hand side of the page and you only have one in ten people who will like it.
Which raises the question, why has Google put its money-making adverts only on the right hand side of their results pages, with the occasional few at the top? It means that they are reducing their potential income by around 10%. By putting some adverts on the left of the page and thereby allowing left-handers a chance to view the adverts as positive, Google could boost its income by around $1.2bn. Not bad for a simple design change.
So, what design elements on your web site need repositioning so that both left-handed people and right handers view those items as positive? Making things look good is only half the battle with web design; positioning items to take into account psychological factors is also important. And the latest research shows you could be affecting whether people view particular items on your web site as positive or not, simply because of their dominant hand preference.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+