As you can see, the last words on the list are VP Quality Email Lists much more likely to be recalled. Similarly, as the lists get longer, it becomes increasingly unlikely that subjects remember the middle words (as well as the first words).
However, in the study, Primacy Effect was still present after a 30-second interference task. From the study, researchers concluded that the capacity of human short term memory is likely to be three to four chunks of information at one time.
Be aware of the Serial Position Effect
when presenting visitors with a list – of any kind (a set of links, sales pitch, a feature list, client list, navigation, etc.)
Baymard gives some advice regarding lists on your website, all good ideas to consider:
Put the least important items in the middle of the list, and the most important first or last. As a commenter on the Baymard article said, “I use this effect to add at the end of the list (so bottom of the list) the main attractive item (ex. North European who prefer the South of France) because I know that the users will go to the last item and I know that they will read the first too.”
If the prospect makes a decision greater than
30 seconds after exposure, place the most important item first.The example they gave: On a sales page, try putting the main benefit first on the list, and list persuasive extras like “free shipping” and “works with iPod”, last. This way if the subject leaves the page they are more likely to remember the main benefit of your product.
When the user doesn’t set the pace of the presented items, such as in video and audio, present the most important items last (and first, might I add – especially as they’re probably not going to make it all the way through the media).