Take a look at the room around you right now….go on, have a look, then come back to read the rest of this…..welcome back. What did you see? Did you see everything around you? All the usual things you normally see were there were they? You didn’t think anything looked strange? The truth is you DID NOT see everything. Even if you looked hard and long around your room, something is always missing from your vision. Indeed as you look at this page, not all of it is there in your vision.
Technically this is known as the “blind spot“. Part of your eye is missing the necessary nerve ending receptors – known as rods and cones – which receive visual information. What happens is your brain fills in the missing information – it works out what you should be seeing and connects it all together for you. Otherwise, there would be a big black circle covering a portion of everything you looked at.
New research from the University of Glasgow has shown that our brains are doing more than filling in the gaps. This study shows that our brains are predicting what will be in the blind spot and indeed in our entire visual field. In other words it appears our visual process is speeded up by using prior experience to create the images, combined with the current visual inputs we are receiving.
Online, this could have some significance. As more and more websites follow the standards of menus across the top, columns on the right with additional information and advertising, we are being faced with a consistent web experience across millions of different web pages. What that means is – unlike a few years ago – our brains can now pretty much predict what we are likely to see. We have enough prior experience with web pages to build up the picture without having to see everything.
This means that even if our vision is blocked from seeing the web page we will know what is there. Re-enter the pop-up. Those annoying devices that try to grasp our attention to buy something, or sign up for a newsletter, have frequently made us more angry than anything else. However, part of that anger must be due to the fact that they obscured our vision and we could not see what we had landed on that page to look at. But with more and more websites adopting standard layouts – such as through using WordPress themes – we have enough online experience to know what to expect. And that means it is possible that even if we now saw a pop-up on a page we could be less annoyed because we can “see” what is underneath anyway.
So, perhaps it is time to re-try the pop-up? But even if you think that is a step too far – this study shows us one more thing. Consistent web pages, designed with roughly the same layout as all others, is vital in helping your visitors quickly “see” what you have available.
- Are You Using PopUps To Build Your Email List? (ronmedlin.com)
- The Great Pop-Up Debate (blogworld.com)
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+