All eyes on EyeTrack 07

Poynter's Keith Woods, Pegie Stark Adam (above left) and Sara Quinn (above right) presented the first overview of findings from their EyeTrack 07 study at the ASNE conference in Washington, DC this morning. The study was the fourth and largest yet, surveying 600 readers in numerous cities last year, studying reader habits on broadsheet, tabloid, online and alternative storytelling formats using a combination of live newspapers, news web sites and prototypes.

Findings include such highlights as:
Once readers found material they wanted, they tended to spend time reading it more than historically expected. This was especially true of the online readers tested:

Readers follow jumps. Even more so in tabloids than in broadsheets:

ASNE.org covered the presentation:

Keith M. Woods, Poynter's dean of faculty, said the research would assist newsrooms on how to better present news content. "Things are changing much too rapidly, and the industry needs contemporary guidance," Woods said. "They can use this information from the research to make immediate changes."

Meanwhile, over at Poynter.org an expanded web area includes a video version of today's presentation, and links to slides, handouts and more.
The study, which was planned more than a year ago, tested readers in Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia and St. Petersburg, Fla., last summer and fall. But analysis of the readers' eye movements was just completed recently. The project is still a work in progress. Deeper analysis is ongoing, and more findings are slated to be released later this year. The application of these initial findings to print and online design is just beginning. Discussion continues at a major Poynter conference April 10 through 12. That conference is full, but you can still sign up for a hands-on EyeTrack workshop to be held at Poynter in August. Click here to learn more and register.

A book with complete results, pictures of the materials test subjects viewed and a full account of how the research was done will be available in June.

More resources online:
A text version of the presentation
The slides (PDF) used in this morning's presentation
A brochure (PDF) summarizing both the findings and the methodology of the study

I don't know about you, but I'm reading, linking and sharing this with my whole newsroom ... RIGHT NOW.

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