Eyeball-Tracking Study Shows Presidential Campaign Web Sites Are Mostly Terrible

eyeball eye

Photo: Sugar Pond, Flickr

About half of everyone who looks at a presidential contender’s campaign website almost immediately forgets everything they just saw, according to a study by EyeTrackShop, an agency that does market research on web site effectiveness.The study tracked 260 users’ eyeballs via the web cams on their laptops as they looked at the campaign sites for Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and President Obama.

The eye-tracking software recorded what drew their attention and what didn’t (the sites’ visual “opacity”). The data was then turned into a set of heat maps, and a flow chart illustrating the order in which elements of the candidates’ pages were examined.

Users were then asked what they remembered about them — and many drew a blank. Of all the sites, Obama’s was the most-liked in terms of its visual appeal, however.

EyeTrackShop said:

4 out of 10 people forgot about the candidate the minute right after s(he) looked at his or her campaign site.

Excluding Barack Obama’s and Michele Bachmann’s campaign sites which were the two sites that most people remembered seeing (78 % and 80 % respectively), not even 5 out of 10 respondents remembered the candidate they saw 1 minute ago.

New Gingrich (heat map)

Newt Gingrich (fixation order)

Mitt Romney (heat map)

Mitt Romney (fixation order)

Rick Santorum (heat map)

Rick Santorum (fixation order)

President Obama (heat map)

President Obama (fixation order)

Obama's web site is by far the most likable

The demographics in the study

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