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March 12, 2005, 6:05 pm
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News websites have been with us for about a decade, and editors and
designers still struggle with many unanswered questions: Is homepage
layout effective? ... What effect do blurbs on the homepage have
compared to headlines? ... When is multimedia appropriate? ... Are
ads placed where they will be seen by the audience?
The Eyetrack III research released by The Poynter Institute, the
Estlow Center for Journalism & New Media, and Eyetools could help
answer those questions and more. Eyetracking research like this won't
provide THE answer to those questions. But combined with other site
metrics already used by news website managers -- usability testing,
focus groups, log analysis -- the Eyetrack III findings could provide
some direction for improving news websites.
In Eyetrack III, we observed 46 people for one hour as their eyes
followed mock news websites and real multimedia content. In this
article we'll provide an overview of what we observed.
Re: Eyetrack III
I think it was the second one of its kind that got a prominent airing.
Results, IIRC, were basically the same, you need really to be above
the fold and - surprise - people tend to read from left to right and
start at the top left. The first three results got 100% interest, the
next got 80%, then it tailed off till those at the bottom of the page,
last two or so IIRC, got 20%. So a very very good organic result gives
very very good ROI.