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BizReport : Research : May 27, 2009

Catalyst Group: One column layout more effective

Here is an interesting take on the 'content is king' mantra - primarily that layout has as much impact as the content itself. Catalyst Group recently used Eye Tracking and Usability techniques to study the differences between one and three column list layouts. What they found is that, although a one column layout will require more scrolling, it was more effective when scanning a list or making a selection.

by Kristina Knight

For one column layouts the researchers found that single column lists make it simpler for social networkers to identify new connections; consumers found this layout more useful. Because this layout makes it simple for the user to make new connections, they will be more likely to actually make those connections, according to the report.

Conversely, the three column layout gave the users too much to look at in too short a space. Because there are three content areas, the test users couldn't decide how to peruse the lists. This means that in three columns users are losing out on some of the information provided, a tough place for a marketer to be.

"Although the 1-Column layout is a simpler design that requires more scrolling,
and in general took more time to review, our Eye Tracking study indicates that
this is a much more effective layout . . .Participants. . .told us they were more confident in their success after using this layout as compared to the 3-Column version, and also
reported feeling more at ease while performing the tasks," was written in the report.

Tags: Catalyst Group, content, content layout, layout

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