Think about your behaviour in the first few seconds of landing on a new website. Your eyes scurry about, picking up visual clues and quickly assessing “where you are”. This is a reflex; we can’t help ourselves. Hand a colleague a report or business magazine, and you see the same thing in action – they will flick through the pages, before (possibly) starting at the beginning.
Why do we do this? We know we have a magazine (or whatever) in our hands. Why do we need to conduct this quick scan? I believe we are answering the same need as when we visit a new website – we are seeing “where we are”; meeting that deep and inate need to know “where we stand“.