This is something I found when I was reading about web-usability issues. The full article can be found here.
This is a group involved in eye tracking research and they have found a pattern in which users read a web page. They conducted a study research and recorded how web-users view thousands of web pages. They found out that in general a F pattern is followed i.e users eyes move on a virtual F in your page.
While designing your webpage it is important to keep the important information at the right place so that your web-page gets attention. Though the research doesn’t talk about any learning patterns but such a research can be advantageous if you are looking for “adaptive websites“. An Adaptive website is a website which adapts itself based on the user access patterns.
Thus, for example if Amazon.com deploys adaptivity in their site structure, they will probably learn what kind/genre of books a particular user prefers and will put them in the recently added section on the top of the page. Adaptive structuring of websites is not limited to just deciding on the content. It also includes layout and navigation. Thus, if an amazon user visits pretty often and make lot of searches then they can put the search bar at a convenient location in the main page rather than nesting it inside. On the other hand, if there is a user who searches less (He always knows which book he is looking for, he just finds it and places the order) the task of placing the order can be made easy.
This should be noticed that Adaptive websites are different from My Yahoo portal or Google News. Because these websites allow personalization of the content. User can decides what he wants and what he doesn’t want. But in case of Adaptive websites user doesn’t need to do anything. The structuring of the websites merely depends on the access patterns and information known to the site apriori. If a site learns that users of age group 18-24 goes more often to britney spears, they can show information related to britney spears on the top page.
Adaptive websites is still a research topic and has not been implemented on a large scale anywhere and we can expect sites like amazon and youtube to deploy it in the future. May be Web 3.0!!!