Online readers have longer attention spans: study

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Culver City (CA) - A new study could shatter the myth that online readers have shorter attention spans.  According to a Poynter Institute study, 77% of online readers finish the entire text of a news article versus just 62% for print readers.  The study also found that just 57% of tabloid print readers finish their articles.

The EyeTrack07 study tracked 600 readers in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota and Philadelphia.  Participants were split into groups which read either the online or print version of the local newspaper for thirty days.  Eye movements were tracked with two small cameras mounted just above the eye level of the participants.

The study also found that 75% of print readers were more methodical in their reading - that is reading sequentially from left to right or top to bottom.  Only one-half of online readers were methodical.