Thumbnails are typically miniature product images displayed on one page of a Web site and hyperlinked to other pages in the site. As a type of online product display, thumbnails are used to attract Web surfers to enter the internal environment (i.e., internal pages) of a virtual store. Thumbnails are often organized in rectangular arrays; when consumers view such an array, the rectangular configuration is likely to activate an eye-movement (scanning) routine in the consumers' memory that causes them to scan the array in a manner similar to their reading of text. The presence of the routine and its influence on consumers' scanning of thumbnails are supported by the results of an eye-tracking experiment reported in this article. The experiment shows that consumers process information in the middle and left regions of a thumbnail array to a greater extent than they do in the right regions, and that they can find a particular product more quickly if it is placed in the middle and left regions. As expected, the results are consistent with the dominant reading direction of the participants in the experiment. In demonstrating differing levels of processing for items located across an array, the findings have significant marketing implications.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Business and International Management