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The importance of visuals to communication is nothing new. Visuals attract more attention, convey more information more quickly, and are more memorable and possibly even more believable than text. What is new in communication is the extensive use of visuals in on-line publications. While visuals take a long time to materialize on the computer screen, this may not always be the case; therefore, it is worthwhile asking how important visuals are to on-line browsers and readers. In a study, 2 on-line publications were viewed by 30 undergraduates at Weber State University. (Utah). About 30% of the subjects had never viewed an on-line publication. Results showed that subjects looking at the visual version spent an average of 14 minutes longer viewing and reading; further, they read more stories in the publication than their counterparts looking at the non-visual version. Results also showed that those viewing the visual version were able to recall slightly more stories than their counterparts. In response to a question after the reading section of the study, participants said they preferred the visual over the non-visual version of the publication. It appears that readers on-line would prefer to have their news prioritized and organized for them in much the same manner as it is currently done in print versions. (Includes 16 notes.) (TB)

Descriptors: Computer Mediated Communication, Electronic Publishing, Higher Education, Illustrations, Internet, Media Research, Newspapers, Photographs, Readability, Recall (Psychology)

Autor: Josephson, Sheree


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