Eyetrack has some interesting research findings and tips on Article-Level Page Design:
- When readers encountered a story with an introductory paragraph, 95 percent of them read all or part of the introductory paragraph.
- Those who spent time carefully reading the introductory paragraph of a story on article-level pages typically spent little time with the full story. Those who gave the intro paragraphs little time usually spent even less time with the story text.
- Shorter paragraphs encouraged testers to continue reading.
- Story text in one-column format was read more extensively than story text presented in a “newspaper-like” multiple-column format.
- Subheads in online stories had little affect on how much of the first or top portion of the story was read when the reader’s interest was strongest. However, subheads increased reading for “skimmers” and for those whose attention in a story was beginning to wane.
- When readers got to an article-level page, they seemed to be there to view the text. Overall, participants’ eyes fixated on the story or other text elements before the accompanying image.
They also have detailed results on everything from eye-viewing patterns to headlines and font size. Useful resource!