Some of you may have noticed that Google experimented with an alternate search result layout a couple of days ago. For a second there, I thought to myself, that’s a great idea to draw attention to the AdWords which appear on the right-hand-side of each search result page. But if you spent a couple more seconds, you’d realize that you just couldn’t take your eyes off the big blue box to get to the AdWords, which they’d probably tried to lure you into.
It’s quite possible that having gotten used to the regular layout that I might’ve been intrigued by the experimental layout and focused on the big blue box to a degree that I wouldn’t have, had it been around long enough. But I’m willing to bet that an eye tracking experiment will prove otherwise.
Shaped by design, the world of advertising challenges you to be unconventional – to break the mold and be different. However, we often forget that when it comes to user experience, it’s quite alright to be conventional – predictable, if you will.