Evaluating Web Real Estate via Pixel Efficiency Analysis

Open Access
Brown, Alex Thomas
Graduate Program:
Information Sciences and Technology
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 22, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Bernard James Jansen, Thesis Advisor
  • Web Analytics
  • Academic Libraries
  • Web Design
  • User Experience
  • Pixel Efficiency Analysis
This research presents a quantitative web analytics approach tailored for academic libraries. Specifically, we introduce pixel efficiency analysis, with the associated measures of pixel efficiency value and conversion efficiency value, as a web analytic approach for evaluating potential website changes. Pixel efficiency analysis is the practice of relating screen real estate measured in pixels to the achievement of organizational goals and key performance indicators as indicated by quantifiable user behavioral interactions on a webpage. We employ both the concept and measures through a case study focusing on high traffic webpages of an academic library website for a major research university. An overarching web analytics investigation in combination with pixel efficiency analysis of four of the library’s major webpages identifies the key areas of improvement in regards to real estate usage and provides quantifying numbers to support the improvement. Based on these results, we investigate changes to each of the four pages utilizing A/B testing of tens of thousands of library patrons and the measurements of pixel efficiency value and conversion efficiency value to examine the effect on user behaviour, demonstrating the value of pixel efficiency analysis. Our research findings show the capability of pixel efficiency analysis to provide insight not delivered by existing web analytics approaches for academic libraries. Namely, we emphasize the importance of page real estate by showing that components of a webpage can be optimized and that users overall prefer the optimized web layouts. Real estate usage is expected to be increasingly important given the trend towards mobile, and it is an increasingly important consideration within web analytics and design. While specifically tailored to academic libraries, pixel efficiency analysis has applications to all websites and has significant potential for future research.