How Readers Read with Sara Quinn and Pegie Stark Adam

In the extravagant Imperial Ballroom, Sara Quinn (pictured above) and Pegie Stark Adam from the Poynter Institute share their findings of the EyeTrack07 study.

The EyeTrack07 study tracked the eye movements of 600 readers in four different cities and was the first to compare reading print versus online text. The average person was aged 39 and the male to female ratio was about even.

The study came up with some very surprising results. Here are the key highlights:

  • Readers tend to read more of the story online. (57% of the story is read in tabloid format, 62% in broadsheet, and 77% online)
  • In print, a lede story and large headlines attracted the most attention, online the viewers read standard stories first.
  • Having a visual element in news briefs increased the likelihood of being seen by more than 34%
  • Readers read jumps about 59% of the time in broadsheets, and 68% in tabloids
  • Color attracts more attention in broadsheets, however black and white images tend to work better for tabloids.
  • Print readers look at large print and photos first. Online readers tend to look at navigation bars and teasers first, not photos first.
  • More ads were clicked than editorial elements
  • Blogs, photo galleries attracted some attention, but only a small percentage of eyestops.
  • Banner ads and received most of the eyestops

The full results can be found in the book, Eyetracking the News. More information regarding the study can be found on their homepage.

Marcus Snyder
Middle Tennessee State University

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