Sunday, August 9, 2009

What is Banner Blindness? Is it real?

Banner Blindness? I admit that I am new to HCI. In fact, HCI=Human Factors in a system design, period. While browsing around on the web trying to get some bearings in this new subject, I found an article about banner blindness. It is a phenomenon where website vistors ignore banners on the website or anything that looks like an adverstisement. I thought, well this is silly. Considering the fact that a lot of websites make their money from adverstisements. I mean who would pay for something that's being totally ignored. On the other hand I thought, maybe that's why Craigslist is so "boring" in appearance because they know about this. This is the article link

If you read through the article, I know from my personal experience, I agree. I never actually pay much attention to the "happenings" on the side. They also stated that if the user does engage themselves with the ads it is usually one that looks like a windows command. I AGREE. I remember the first time I saw one of those...I CLICKED. That was the last time I was fooled, so nowadays I don't think those are popular anymore.

Now I understand why advertisers are just plain old bombarding web browsers with advertisements. You ever been reading an article then have a McDonalds ad just pop up right in front of your article? Then you have to search for the mistery "close" button. Now I know why! The ads want to be heard or seen in this case. This is another reason why I am beginning to accept that this phenomenon is real.


  1. I'm always shocked when using a foreign (or freshly-installed) computer by how many ads there really are on sites I use daily. I have rather underdeveloped banner blindness because I rely on a Firefox add-on, Adblock Plus, which eliminates the vast majority of ads that I might see.

    A corollary to this impact on advertising is that designers need to be deliberate in making sure the actual user interface elements won't be inadvertently ignored. If users are trained to ignore bright colors in the right column, that would not be a wise location for key navigation elements.

  2. I agree with Keith-- I've been using Adblock Plus since it came out and forget just how many ads are out there. I don't think advertisers should only rely on banners or graphical means of advertising on the web; there are other ways to get consumers' attention.

    For example, another way I find out about new products and services is through my network of friends (stumble upon, facebook, etc.) as well as reading reviews (lifehacker, cnet, etc.). Advertisers should focus on discussing their products in open places on the web. Not only can they get valuable feedback, but they can also get visibility.


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