Anyone who does web sites must check out theStanford Poytner Project. They watched peoples eyes as they read news web pages. The eyes could be tracked as screens scrolled normally. They say this is the first such scrolling-screen eyetracking effort. They reached a few interesting conclusions.
Where do eyes go initially after firing up the first screenful of online news? To text, most likely. Also contrary to much current belief, we found that banner ads do catch online readers\' attention. For the 45 percent of banner ads looked at at all, our subjects\' eyes fixated (definition) on them for an average one second. That is long enough to perceive the ad.
We found that 30-year-olds were more likely to read local news than either 60-year olds or 20-year-olds. And 20-year-olds read more science and sports news than did other age groups. Virtually all ages read opinion articles in healthy proportion to their total article reading.
A higher proportion of women read local news than did men, and by a tiny margin also read more heavily in this category. Overall, 48 percent of all participants read local news.