The Engaging News Project from The Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life, has released new research that analyzed what happens when people are delivered the same news content presented in different ways. Some of the 2,671 participants browsed a site with a classic newsprint layout, while others looked at a page with a contemporary, modular and image-based layout. The same 20 articles, drawn from mainstream news media coverage about evergreen subjects, appeared on both sites.
Key takeaways from the Online News Presentation research include:
- Unique page views increased by at least 90% when participants viewed the contemporary homepage compared to the classic homepage.
- Recall of details from the articles, although low for all participants, nonetheless increased by at least 50% when participants viewed the contemporary homepage compared to the classic homepage.
- Study participants rated the contemporary site more positively than the classic site.
- Where the articles appeared on the page affected article recall more consistently than whether people clicked on the article.
The results show that people accessed more pages, appreciated, and learned more about the information contained in news articles when browsing a website with a contemporary homepage compared to a website with a classic homepage. These differences did not vary depending on the respondents’ age, education, or level of political knowledge.