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Visual Attention in Newspaper versus TV-Oriented News Websites

William J. Gibbs and Ronan S. Bernas

Journal of Usability Studies, Volume 4, Issue 4, May 2009, pp. 147-165

Article Contents


Results

We first examined the effect of site type (newspaper or television) on the four metrics of ocular behavior: (a) number of fixations overall, (b) fixation duration, (c) gaze time, and (d) saccade rate. We then examined scan paths to identify where participants fixated in the display area and whether there were scan path variations within and across users.

Number of Fixations, Fixation Duration, Gaze Time, and Saccade Rate

A t-test for dependent means was conducted for each of the visual attention measures enumerated in Table 1. Differences in the measures for newspaper versus TV-oriented news Websites were not found to be statistically significant.

Table 1. Visual Attention Allocation Measures by Type of News Website
  TV-oriented
news Website
Newspaper print-oriented
news Website
   
  Mean Standard deviation Mean Standard deviation t * p
Number of fixations

14.06 6.45 14.94 6.07 -.69 .50
Fixation duration(s) 1.25 .82 .99 .34 1.25 .23
Gaze time(s) .91 .05 .93 .12 -.50 .62
Saccade rate(s) 1.01 .47 1.13 .39 -1.43 .18
Total viewing time(s) 13.38 1.82 12.86 1.67 1.24 .24

* df = 13

Fixations and Areas of Interest

When number of fixations was examined in terms of target regions of the display (see Figure 1), region D had the highest percent of fixations. Participants fixated mostly in screen areas D (36%) and E (27%), which are areas for headlines and content, respectively (see Figure 1). A chi-square test indicated that fixations in the various screen areas varied by type of site, ?2(5) = 49.89, p < .001. To determine where the specific differences lie, a follow-up chi-square test was performed for each screen area. As shown in Table 2, the number of fixations on screen areas B (site branding, header, and navigation), C (left-hand navigation), and D (headline news content) were significantly more common in TV-oriented Websites than in newspaper print-oriented news Websites. On the other hand, fixations on screen area E (miscellaneous content and advertisements) were significantly more evident in newspaper Websites than TV-oriented ones.

We identified the area of the initial fixation when a homepages loaded. Most (40%) of the first fixations occurred in region A (browser bar), followed by regions B (20%), D (20%), and E (18%). Two percent of initial fixation occurred in region F (browser window area with no content) and 0% in region C.

Table 2. Number of Fixations in Each Screen Area by Type of News Website
Screen area TV-oriented news Website Newspaper print-oriented news Website Total number of fixations in each screen area X2 p
A
(browser bar)
78
13%)
67
(11%)
145
(12%)
1.31 .25
B
(site branding, header, and navigation)
99
(17%)
65
(11%)
164
(14%)
9.32 .002 **
C
(left-hand navigation rail)
28
(5%)
14
(2%)
42
(3%)
4.73 .03 *
D
(headline news content)
233
(40%)
198
(32%)
431
(36%)
6.61 .01 *
E
(miscellaneous content and advertisements)
110
(19%)
211
(35%)
321
(27%)
37.30 .000 ***
F
(browser window area with no content)
37
(6%)
54
(9%)
91
(8%)
2.39 .12
Total number of fixations 585 609 1194    

* p < .05; ** p < .01; *** p < .001

Scan Path Analysis

We calculated the within-user and across-user scan path variances. A t-test for dependent means was conducted and as shown in Table 3, only the across-users average variance/cost between scan paths in newspaper versus TV-oriented Websites was found to be statistically significant, t(13) = 2.27, p = .04. Variance in scan paths between users was significantly higher in newspaper sites (M = 24.98, S.D. = 7.57) than in TV-oriented ones (M = 21.90, S.D. = 8.37).

Table 3. Scan Path Variance by Type of News Website
  TV-oriented
news Website
Newspaper print-
oriented
news Website
   
  Mean Standard deviation Mean Standard deviation t * p
Within-user average
variance/cost between
scan paths
11.67 4.87 11.65 4.25 .03 .98
Within-user average
variance/cost between
scan paths
(normalized)
.70 .15 .70 .11 -.05 .96
Across-users average
variance/cost between
scan paths
21.90 8.37 24.98 7.57 2.27 .04 **
Across-users average
variance/cost between
scan paths
(normalized)
.72 .04 .73 .04 1.10 .29

* df = 13; ** p < .05

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