Google Tool Shows Where the Eyeballs Go on Your Site

    December 17, 2009
    Chris Crum

Google has launched a new Google Labs experiment called Browser Size, which is a tool aimed at helping webmasters see how others view their site. Google’s official description of the tool says:

Ever wondered what parts of your site can’t be seen without scrolling? Browser Size shows you what portion of users can see a give spot on the screen. This is not screen resolution but the area available to the browser – as gathered from users.

Here is what it looks like:

Browser Size

"In a newspaper, the most important story is featured on the front page," says Google Senior Software Engineer, Bruno Bowden. "If it’s a really important piece, then it’s placed ‘above the fold,’ which means you can find it on the top half of the first page — the bottom half is folded behind and isn’t readily seen when you first look at the newspaper."

"The same concept applies to browsers as well," he adds. "There’s no clear line for "above the fold" on a browser — there are many different sizes of monitors, browsers are not always full screen and other things like toolbars can take up space. Consider a ‘Donate’ button on a non-profit site. If it’s far down the page, you may not see it when you first view the page. You can of course scroll downwards, but many people don’t scroll and will miss it entirely."

To use the tool, simply enter your URL and it will insert your page into the graph showing the percentage of people who are likely to see each area. Don’t be surprised if a lot of websites suddenly start shifting to the left.

The tool was one of Google’s "20% time" projects. A post on the Google Code blog has some interesting details about how the project came about and grew to what it is.

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