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Empirical evidence suggests that users often exhibit a viewing pattern that favors the top and left sides of web pages. This viewing pattern may cause users to miss a great deal of information. Grounded in the model of visual hierarchy, this study examines the impact of visual complexity on how users view a page. The results show that users’ viewing pattern in our study was more scattered than those reported in previous studies, which used pages with a relatively less complex visual hierarchy. We also examined the impact of browsing and information retrieval on viewing pattern. Such an investigation can provide insight for the design of homepages that can effectively serve both those who browse and those who retrieve information. The results also show that eye tracker can serve as a valuable tool for designers to develop and test new designs.

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