Regional Eye Movement Processing of Webpages

Tepatti, Tanya, and Harold H Greene

Eye-tracking studies suggest that when we view pictures on computer screens, the placement of eye fixations tends to be biased towards the center of the screen. It may be that irrespective of picture content, the center of a computer screen is an optimal location to preview the whole screen. Rather than the placement of fixations, our primary concern in this study was time spent viewing different screen regions of webpages. We were also interested in how students prioritize the regions they explore on a webpage screen. Students viewed university webpages for 15 seconds while their eye movements were monitored by a video-based eye tracker. For analyses, the screen was partitioned into a 3 rows X 3 columns array. The 3 X 3 ANOVAs showed that (i) eye dwell times were longest in the central, middle left, upper middle and upper left regions, and (ii) beyond the central region, the eyes were directed fastest to the middle left, upper middle and upper left regions. The results support a central bias in dwell times, and a prioritization of middle left, upper middle and upper left regions. The results are discussed in terms of their implication for webpage designers.