Eyetrack: What we know about how people read.

I've spent more than a decade conducting large-scale eyetracking research for Poynter with a focus on newspaper, tablet and online reading habits. The results are fascinating.


The work has helped journalists determine the best forms for storytelling, across platforms. I continue to present it in newsrooms, conferences and at universities around the world.



What makes a photograph memorable, shareable and worth publishing in the age of Instagram? Quality matters, according to participants in my most recent study for the National Press Photographers Association, Eyetracking Photojournalism. And quality in photojournalism is all about strength of story, a genuine moment, rare access and a perspective on what’s happening in the world.



In a tablet research study for the Knight Foundation and Poynter, it's all about touch. Participants show high expectations for interactivity on a screen. And they express a strong preference for holding a tablet in horizontal or landscape orientation — something that relates to watching video in the widest possible form.



The Myth of Short Attention Spans. This is the headline out of my first eyetracking study that compares print and online news reading. The study of 600 news readers around the country finds that people read thoroughly once they find what they want. What's more, that deep-reading phenomenon is even stronger online than in print.



Alternative story forms capture a great deal of attention in print.  They also help people to understand and remember what they've read.

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I have tested more than 800 participants with various gear in eyetracking studies in five U.S. cities since 2007. Here, Facebook Project Design Manager Tory Hargro wears a set of eyetracking goggles while viewing a website.