» The invisible gorilla, the banana, and an element of interruption HouseOfBrew – Unplugged and Brewed

The invisible gorilla, the banana, and an element of interruption

The invisible gorilla study is a “counterintuitive scientific finding” to prove that in everyday life, we end up missing important things that should just be plain obvious. The video above illustrates that if we are concentrating too hard on what seems to be the right thing at the right time, we’ll miss the obvious.

This happens more times than we’d like to admit.

At the 2010 #unGeeked retreat, Tony Meister (@tcmeister) from Netsolutions talked about good web design practices. He talked about what he calls a banana: an element on the page that is the first thing your eye sees.   He went on to explain that this banana better be exactly what you want your user to click on first.  In my words: people are like monkeys.  When monkeys are hungry, and you put a banana in front of them, they grab the banana.

In direct mail the banana is also referred to as a disturbing element.  Yes, we all can say we hate the star-burst, but do we hate it because it’s overused and looks ugly?  Doesn’t it still draw your attention?  Aren’t you programmed to believe there’s something important in there?  Look, as we track the conversion from print to an online experience, we have hard evidence that the disturbing element nearly doubles the response to online from offline.  We don’t use the star-burst, but we’ll use a graphic of a torn off piece of paper, or what looks like a yellow post it note.

The hardest part about this is convincing the designer or “marketer” that we want to cover up what they explain to be important elements of the print design.  I can promise you that the design and text act as more of a “wallpaper” that sits behind your #1 call to action:  Visit your personal website.  I mean, are we trying to win a beauty contest or are we trying to increase response rates?

Please don’t get caught up designing a piece that has people counting ball passes for the white team, when you wanted them to see the gorilla.

[tweetmeme source=”houseofbrew” only_single=false http://wp.me/pW7ev-4]