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.
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