How Do Popular Apps Catch Our Attention?

There are millions of apps on both of the popular app stores. With so many apps competing for the user’s attention, what features attract a crowd? While all screens are almost similar, Finnish researchers say that tablet and smartphone content is different. The team from Alto University added that our perceptions of digital visuals are different when we move over to smaller screens in smartphones.

Differences between desktop and smartphone screens

In previous studies on what apps catch a user’s attention, the researchers concentrated on web interfaces on desktop-based applications. This study, which included Indian, Chinese, and Turkish researchers, focused on the small screen. They discovered that apps have to change the whole plan by which users consume information.

Professor Antti Oulasvirta explains that apps appear differently on a cellphone than on a computer or browser. They are on a smaller screen and often use a vertical layout instead of a horizontal view. The professor added that it was still unclear what aspects of an app would affect how it attracts our eyes.

Study authors utilized the abundant mobile interfaces and eye-tracking techniques, noting how users perceived screenshots of both android and iOS apps. While it is easy to think that flashier apps are more attention-grabbing, the researchers say that this is hardly the case.

Surprisingly, bright colors did not affect how people fixated on the details of an app. According to study lead Luis Leva, one possible reason is that since the mobile interface itself is full of vibrant colors, anything that appears on it is set to catch your attention. But, unfortunately, it’s just how the system is designed; nothing seems to stick out.

Faces and images

In some instances, the researchers noted some attention-grabbing factors that seemed to have migrated from desktop to mobile interfaces. One of these was gaze, which refers to the user’s eye drifting from the top-left corner scrolling through the page. In addition, users seemed to focus on text that relayed important information, logos being the prime focal point. Faces and images were other points of focus, especially when they were accompanied by text.

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