The Poynter Institute recently conducted a study to find out exactly what where our eyes are drawn to when we read. Using eye tracking glasses containing small cameras for recording movement and location, researchers tracked the eye movement of over 600 test subjects while they read the daily news. The study focused three types of news organizations: tabloids, broadsheets, and web sites.
What did they find out?
- Online readers read 77% of a text story they chose to read, on average, compared to 62% and 57% for broadsheet and tabloid readers, respectively.
- Print readers tend to visually focus first on headlines and photos, whereas online readers’ attention immediately went to navigation bars
- Color photos received more attention than black and white photos, and documentary photos drew more attention than staged photos (including pictures of columnists).
- In broadsheet ads, half-page to almost full-page ads attract just as much attention as full-page ads. The editorial content next to an ad may actually increase the odds of a viewer taking notice of the ad.
Click here to see more results from Poynter’s eye tracking study and to check out their video of the eye tracking in action.