07 October 2008

Study Tests Breaking News Design

The best way to draw attention to breaking news stories online is the subject of a new research project.

Firstly, the team looked at over 100 newspaper website homepages in the US to analyse the various methods for assigning an article as breaking news.

Digital Story Effects Lab researchers then tested the effectiveness of three breaking news “labels” via video eye-tracking studies and questionnaires.

The three methods were: Placing “New!” next to the headline; time-stamping the article; putting the headline in a separate box.

Writing in Online Journalism Review (OJR), Nora Paul and Laura Ruel outlined some of their preliminary findings.

For example, the study showed that the bigger visual cue of the box drew initial attention but the relatively small size of the headline text hampered recall of the article.

If you want to know more about the results of the eye-tracking study and the website analysis, visit the OJR website.

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