This morning I received an email from my boss regarding eye-tracking research done by the Online Journalism Review from the USC Annenberg Center for Communications, to measure where people focus on when reading websites.

Part of my job is to help my online team come up with better design strategies so that our sites look better.

Even though we gather and consume tons of data and source material that relates to design and usability, some of it may or may not stick.

The link I received this morning dealt with news article design, and images used within those articles.

It seems there’s a distinction as to how men and women look at images; as an example, the OJR used an image of former KC Royals’ great George Brett.

Here’s the image combined with eye-tracking data:


When photos do contain people related to the task at hand, or the content users are exploring, they do get fixations. However, gender makes a distinct difference on what parts of the photo are stared at the longest. Take a look at the hotspot below.

Although both men and women look at the image of George Brett when directed to find out information about his sport and position, men tend to focus on private anatomy as well as the face. For the women, the face is the only place they viewed.

This image of George Brett was part of a larger page with his biographical information. All users tested looked the image, but there was a distinct difference in focus between men and women.

So does this mean that every time men watch baseball, we’re really looking for …bats and balls?

8 Responses to “Eye-fixation 101”

  1. Coley Ward says:

    “I just remembered, I’m allergic to the barbeque seeds!”


  3. Nick Kapur says:

    The Fourth Little Pig soon regretted building his house out of sunflower seeds when Big, Bad Bobby came to blow it down.

  4. anyone notice the snot on the lens?


  5. Coley Ward says:

    So I wonder, are men obsessed with other guys’ junk in general, or just George Brett’s junk?

  6. Sarah Green says:

    I have to say, I disagree with the research findings to some extent. The report omits discussion of the mysterious yellow blob on George Brett’s shoulder in the women’s study. Clearly, the face is *not* the only place the women viewed. Hellooo deltoids!

  7. The guys are looking at where his swing will be, visualizing where contact would be made. That it happens to be the groin area is purely coincidental.

  8. Alejandro Leal says:


    I can’t understand why these scientists don’t get it right!

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