Eyetracking is a technical method of determining how humans process visual stimuli, especially on screens. There is this study about visitors’ eye movements at news web pages which provides some scientific information about how visitors read webpages, especially those of new sites.
Now blogs aren’t too different from webpages, so we all could probably use some of the information in the article.
What surprised me most was the following two results stated in the article
- Smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior (that is, reading the words), while larger type promotes lighter scanning.
- Underlined headlines discouraged testers from viewing blurbs on the homepage
The first one is really surprising since I have always thought that large font sizes cause readers to read more, and more attentively, since it takes less effort (for me at least) to read large text. I still can relate to the results, since I spend more time reading text that is smaller on webpages. This is due to the fact that it is more difficult to read it. The study measures the time a person spends reading a particular section and interprets more time spent in an area as a sign of more having been read. Not neccesarily – it just could be that the user read the same amount – only it took longer, because of the smaller font size. It is often surprising to find studies like this misinterpret results and invert facts, coming to counter-intuitive conclusions.
The second one is interesting. Maybe I should stop underlining headlines.
Hat tip: binarybonsai
P.S. Much as I try avoiding the words “Hat Tip”, they seem to be most appropriate. I used to say “Thanks” but somehow that excludes the possibility of writing out the name of the site/person. Do you know any alternatives to “Hat Tip”?