Visual search of food nutrition labels

Joseph H. Goldberg, Claudia K. Probart, Robert E. Zak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Using an eye-tracking methodology, we evaluated food nutrition labels' ability to support rapid and accurate visual search for nutrition information. Participants (5 practiced label readers and 5 nonreaders) viewed 180 trials of nutrition labels on a computer, finding answers to questions (e.g., serving size). Label manipulations included several alternative line arrangements, location of the question target item, and label size. Dependent measures included search time and number of fixations prior to visually capturing the target, as well as the accuracy and duration of the capturing fixation. Practiced label readers acquired the target more quickly and accurately than did less-practiced readers. Targets near the denser center of the label required 33% more time and were harder to find than targets at the top or bottom of the label. Thinner alignment lines were more influential than thicker anchoring lines on visual search time. Overall, the current nutrition label supported accurate and rapid search for desired information. Potential applications of the present methodology include the evaluation of warning labels and other static visual displays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-437
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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