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Hypergene MediaBlog » Poynter Eyetrack III research results

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Wednesday, 08 Sep 2004

Poynter Eyetrack III research results

Eyetrack When we first entered newsrooms in 1990, there was a revolution afoot. Designers and the desktop computer had conspired to overtake the stodgy aesthetic, which had ruled newspapers for decades.

Fueling this change were the likes of Mario Garcia and Pegie Stark and their newly published study that showed what readers look at when they look at a front page.

The study gave designers, for the first time, a rare windfall credibility in the newsroom. The Eyetrack research said bigger pictures, more color and graphics caught a reader’s attention and compelled them to seek more. Designers became busy.

Back in the day, research like this was scarce. Today, the web is a medium that borrows from many disciplines. Research is abundant. But that, too, has become a problem.

When designing a web site, a blog or advertising, what research is used to guide your thinking?

So we’re looking forward to reading the Eyetrack III study to see if any reader habits are forming into something resembling a “best practice.” Thanks to Steve Outing - Eyetrack project manager - for bringing this to our attention.

One quick takeaway: Write short and compelling.

It’s cliche to say people don’t read online but the Eyetrack “heatmap” drives the point home.

image

This map shows that people scan only the first third of headlines. So put your action words at the beginning.

Steve said he’ll give us more details soon, and we’re still reading through the meaty research. Meanwhile, take a look at the study overview story or Steve’s article on Poynter.

For more about the study, see:
Official Eyetrack III web site
• Track links to Eyetrack on Blogdex, Technorati
PDF of Eyetrack III research report (11 MB)

Posted on Sep 08, 2004 | 12:50 am EST
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