User selection behaviour

Thinking about user behaviour during the design or building process enhances the effectiveness of web technology. Successful search engines also rely heavily on user behaviour. This post analyses user selection behaviour.

User click behaviour

User selection behaviour includes any traits which usually involve input devices and includes, for example, mouse overs, click-through rates and drop down boxes. Selection does not mean that users will be more attentive, in fact, designs influence user selection behaviour. A summary of Dunn’s online behaviour analysis can be found below:

Banner blindness
Studies have showen that advert looking areas are simply ignored. Limiting advert banners and using more text, for instance, helps maintain user attention. Text heavy websites, however, are off putting so write researched content succinctly.
Develop tunnel vision
We expect to see things in certain places and named properly. If something is strangely placed, perhaps the company thinks they are being different, then most users will simply ignore this.
When websites are found through search engines we tend to either want to achieve some goal or gain knowledge. We like to find this out quickly and if immediately apparent answers are non-existant then we simply leave a website altogether.
Our rich information society also means that we like to click deeply. Deep clicking allows us to read a range of information. Homepages have shorter attention spans because we like to click elsewhere.
Be memorable
Sometimes people browse and look at information without taking it in. Creating striking content on multiple formats means regular browsers will have a greater chance of knowing key messages.

Online behaviour

Selection impacts user experience, for example, clicking on various internal webpages will affect the length of time spent on a website. Frantic clicking usually indicates a lost user which means they will leave your website quickly increasing bounce rates, for instance.

Global search engines, restricting results to IP addresses, have country specific indexes. Sometimes however global results are retrieved. Search engines like to present pages of results to offer you a range of content. 91% of people only look at the first page of results. Search engines do not think about overwhelming users.

Binary digits shown over a human fingerprint.

Digital fingerprint. Source: Marsmettnn Tallahassee.

Language and user selection

If your text cannot be easily translated then your websites’ online behaviour will be affected. Semantic HTML helps translation programs render your content because it can easily be read and translated by computers. Allow global users to read your content by using semantic HTML. Subconsciously we judge the language of content which, in turn, affects user behaviour.

Google Translate uses a process called statistical machine translation that, in a nutshell, calculates text to discover patterns. These patterns are assigned to languages: Google predicts what languages match their patterns this explains why Google automatically suggests translation languages. Most of Google Translate is computerised so sometimes content is not 100% accurate. Humans are the best translators by processing and combining a range of information, for example, definitions, linguistics and correct grammar.

Accessibility and selection

Think about all users during the design process. Don’t make mobile buttons, for example, too small because this will affect user selection. Enhance your web technology by including LV:HA (love hate) actions into your CSS. A button on a computer should be fully accessible on a range of input devices including, for instance, a mouse and a keyboard’s tab key.

Posted by


  1. Dunn, T. (no date/year) 10 unexpected online user behaviours to look out for. [Online] [Accessed on 05th November 2013]
  2. Zhou, K. Li, X. and Zha, H. (2012) Collaborative ranking: Improving the Relevance for Tail Queries. CIKM ’12. pp. 1900 — 1904

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s