An Eye Tracking Study of How Pictures Influence Online Reading

  • David Beymer
  • Peter Z. Orton
  • Daniel M. Russell
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4663)


We present an eye tracking study to measure if and how including pictures – relevant or irrelevant to the text – affects online reading. In a between-subjects design, 82 subjects read a story on a computer screen. The text was accompanied by either: (a) pictures related to the text, (b) pictures unrelated to the text (advertisements), or (c) no pictures. Reading statistics such as reading speed and regressions were computed, as well as measures of picture gazes. When pictures related to the text were replaced with advertisements, we observed a number of significant differences, including speed, regressions, and re-reading.


Eye tracking viewing pictures online reading 


  1. 1.
    Rayner, K., Pollatsek, A.: The Psychology of Reading. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah (1989)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rayner, K.: Eye Movements in Reading and Information Processing: 20 Years of Research. Psychological Bulletin 124(3), 372–422 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Yarbus, A.: Eye Movements and Vision. Plenum Press, New York (1967)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Loftus, G., Mackworth, N.: Cognitive determinants of fixation location during picture viewing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 4, 565–572 (1978)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Carroll, P., Young, J., Guertin, M.: Visual Analysis of Cartoons: A View from the Far Side. In: Rayner, K. (ed.) Eye Movements and Visual Cognition, pp. 444–461 (1992)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rayner, K., Rotello, C., Stewart, A., Keir, J., Duffy, S.: Integrating Text and Pictorial Information: Eye Movements When Looking at Print Advertisements. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 7(3), 219–226 (2001)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hegarty, M.: The Mechanics of Comprehension and the Comprehension of Mechanics. In: Rayner, K. (ed.) Eye Movements and Visual Cognition, pp. 428–443 (1992)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Burke, M., Hornof, A., Nilsen, E., Gorman, N.: High-Cost Banner Blindness: Ads Increase Perceived Workload, Hinder Visual Search, and Are Forgotten. ACM Trans. On Computer-Human Interaction 12(4), 423–445 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eyetrack III: Online News Consumer Behavior in the Age of Multimedia. The Poynter Institute,
  10. 10.
    Norman Nielsen Group,
  11. 11.
    Beymer, D., Russell, D.: WebGazeAnalyzer: A System for Capturing and Analyzing Web Reading Behavior Using Eye Gaze. In: CHI 2005 Extended Abstracts, pp. 1913–1916. ACM Press, New York (2005)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Liversedge, S., Paterson, K., Pickering, M.: Eye Movements and Measures of Reading Time. In: Underwood, G. (ed.) Eye Guidance in Reading and Scene Perception, pp. 55–75 (1998)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tedeschi, B. Internet Banner Ads Look to Get More Interesting (and Thus Less Easy to Ignore). The New York Times (July 11, 2005)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Beymer
    • 1
  • Peter Z. Orton
    • 2
  • Daniel M. Russell
    • 3
  1. 1.IBM Almaden Research Center, 650 Harry Road, San Jose, California 95120USA
  2. 2.IBM Center for Advanced Learning, 20 Old Post Road, Armonk, New York 10504USA
  3. 3.Google, 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California 94043USA

Personalised recommendations