Why do people not notice our enormous, prominent, clear and contrasting purple banner?

  • I'm part of a MediaWiki site called D&D Wiki. Among others, one of our longstanding issues in the public eye was our failure to label clearly enough that certain pages are categorised 'Homebrew', as opposed to 'Official'.

    Consequently, we pushed through a solution wherein all pages that are not 'Official' are labelled with this lovely homebrew banner. Contrasting with the site's light, creamy-browns, brazenly displayed is this page-wide, striking black/dark purple/red banner, complete with black-bordered white text that is very largely and clearly displaying the words "Homebrew Page", with extra minor explanation.

    Official pages and homebrew pages have different colour schemes, different fonts, different text sizes, different table layouts, different title schemes, and, notably, a different banner declaring it 'official content' that is noticeably different at the shortest glance.

    However, I have heard multiple times from reddit, to our chat, to stackexchange itself that, and I quote: "the homebrew banner is inexplicably hard to notice despite being bright purple.". Somehow people are still getting these two categories of pages mixed up?

    I profess my own inability to understand this situation. Did we overshoot human perception? Did we make it so noticeable, so.. obvious, that it could not be seen from within; Like humanity itself being unaware of the entirety of the universe around them?

    How do we make people actually notice our banner? Or is there a better way to inform people of the homebrew nature of the content they're seeing? Are these blind people all weird freaks, or am I somehow off my nut?

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    EDIT: Thanks all for the interest and helpful responses! For those interested, our subsequent discussion on the matter can be found on the site, here.

    Not an answer, just suggestion - use slightly different color schema for homebrew pages.

    @Arvo They already do that: "Official pages and homebrew pages have different colour schemes..."

    @Mast Sorry, didn't notice initially. But, looking at the samples, I couldn't perceive them as different kind of pages - most likely they are too different again (and official page _looks_ like it has some CSS missing). If official page had some yellow-greenish tint (everywhere in text, menu _and_ page background), then maybe context switch would be more perceivable.

    Just some food for thought; if the banner is so big and clear then why did you think it was necessary to circle it for us? It is the only banner on the page after all...

    Why not consider extending the purple color scheme to the whole page?

    Well, my question is about how nobody can see the banner. Hence it seemed necessary - lest nobody know what I'm talking about!

    On first glance, I thought it was an ad. Ads are frequently jarringly colored and I think we're trained to just look past them. Also, the 'warning' about being homebrew isn't prominently featured in the body. I'd suggest you look at the wiki for Star Trek and Star Wars, both of which feature alerts for canon and non-canon pages (memory alpha/beta in the first case, and regular/legends in the latter).

    @user2979044 On behalf of many people I've gamed with, thank you so much for making this effort. The fix that you really need is quite simple: PUT "HOMEBREW" IN THE PAGE TITLES, so that it's immediately obvious in search results.

    Because some of us have plugins or user CSS that set OUR preferred colors, font sizes, and the like, rather than having to suffer what a site's creator prefers?

    Thank you so much for asking this question. I was actually one of the users that never noticed the banner and when I finally did I thought "Man, they shouldn't have the banner look just like an ad for a videogame or something, they should change that."

    I'm with Brian R on this one. Even though it is in the banner, the placement of the warning, size of the font, and italics make it look like a quote or some tidbit that can be ignored. Something like Wikipedia's "Citation Needed" or the warnings that Brian R mentioned would be much more noticeable.

    Reminder to everyone: answer in answers, not in comments. Comments don't have the quality assurance mechanisms that answers do.

    Nice banner ad you've got there. Now, where's this "homebrew warning" you're asking about?

    @CompuChip seconding the “extend the color scheme” suggestion. Once you’ve paged down, the banner is no longer visible. You say they color schemes are different, but I did not notice that difference browsing your site just now. // It may be old fashioned, but I used to arrange so that the banners were always visible, around the scrolling content using iframes. (In my case, not so much banners as buttons)

    Looks like a background to me...

    Tend to your HTML. I opened up this) known homebrew page and could not locate the banner despite knowing it was there.

    On viewing the HTML source I can say this is even worse. The only HTML between the end of the edit link and the start of the body is . Don't play weird CSS shenanigans. Put your content in your HTML pages.

    To paraphrase a quote from the tv show "My Hero" about life insurance, I never read the big print.

    I just visited your site and I'm actually confused. You said "certain pages are categorised 'Homebrew'", but AFAIK, the entire site is homebrew... can you clarify that?

    @FooBar This is a solution I've also been looking at, but without being well versed in MediaWiki or PHP, it's been a, uh, slow goin' work.

    "which banner"? -- I literary skipped it since I thought it was just one of the many advertisements that websites now have. The constrasting colour the "in your face" coloring, and the enormous size all fit the bill of those "annoying top banner adverts". It just lacks the sound that starts playing once loaded or a mouse effect.

    One simple answer is you used "border" type (the type on the right with a "shadow all around each letter". It is well known that this is unreadable. Also you mention your work is high-contrast, **it is not**. it's the definition of low-contrast. Type on a photographic background is unreadable and always ignored.

    Have you considered adding a moving gif or making the text flash?

    I don't have any answers, just observations as a user of your site. I only need to use it about 1-2 times a year. if the page has different colours/fonts to the last time, I most likely won't spot and if I did spot I would presume you had a design overhaul. And banner blindness like everyone else said.

    In MBA we were taught about this, this is called Marketing Blindness.

  • This phenomenon is called banner blindness. Your labeling looks like a banner advertisement and is therefore subconsciously skipped. Users have been conditioned to ignore complete sections of content if their previous experience taught them that it always contains irrelevant stuff. The more attention the banner tries to pull, the more it's ignored. If you want people to notice a label like "homebrew" or "official", you need to place it somewhere that users are scanning for naturally.

    In your case, consider putting it next to the page title. You may also want to work with alert icons, as these tend not to be ignored by users if they are used sparsely. Preferably a contrasting colour with the rest of your colour scheme.

    Totally agree. In any case, I would recommend placing the alert or banner *underneath* the page title: that's where the content goes, and where the reader will jump to instinctively.

    Spot on I think, even after reading the question my head still filters it out...

    Another thing that could help is changing the shape of the banner entirely - the image is blocked on this computer, but anything that is a long rectangle shape (like the ad below these comments) will be assumed to be an ad - if instead you make it a perfect circle, people will stop thinking of it as a banner entirely.

    I'll just emphasise the "subconsciously" in this answer. Users aren't even choosing not to look at it. It has to all intents vanished. It's a general psychological process called "Inattentional Blindness" .

    I guess I totally spoiled myself by effectively blocking all web ads for so many years. I never evolved this mechanism. Freaky deaky, but makes sense.

    About icons... what about going the other way? Mark official content with a seal of approval/verification (Twitter/Spotify verified accounts)... then the visitor won't have to put effort into validating if it's unofficial, where that would be the default. And the effort to seek official content will come with an intrinsic reward - the "ah-ha! this is a legit one". In other words, validating that something is "negative" is not rewarding at all.

    @user2979044 maybe use iconography? a big cauldron icon preceding the page title for homebrew (with "Homebrew" alt/hover text), while SRD stuff retains the "SRD:" label in its title... maybe that would make a greater distinction?

    @user2979044 additionally, you could do a book icon (with a different color scheme, and relevant alt/hover text of course) for SRD/official stuff. Maybe bright red for the "official" icon, and a shade of grey for homebrew (so it's easier to tell at a glance as per @joltmode's comments)? Just be sure to choose a shade of grey that is distinguishable for colorblind users! For example, if you use `#ee2200` for the red, go several shades lighter than `#595959` which is what that shade of red approximates to for users with achromatopsia.

    @user2979044 here are some icons I mocked up. If you like them, ping me and I could look into making SVG versions or something else nicer that scales better. The cauldron and book images are CC-BY and CC-BY-NC licensed, which I think is acceptable for your wiki (it's noncommercial right?) https://imgur.com/a/Zc1dsCx

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution


Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM