One of the most interesting sessions I was able to review from SXSW was a session explaining recent research from the Poynter Institute. Their research investigated how individuals interact with content on iPads – what articles they look at, which ones they read, etc., – and how these insights can be useful to those of us who create the content.

Here are some overall findings, and you can review their entire presentation in the SlideShare deck below. The deck is well designed, so you can understand the content without actually hearing the presentation.

  1. Most users currently use a traditional content display method (like the original New York Times app), but if they could choose they would prefer the carousel-style display of content (like the fantastic NPR app).
  2. Most users hold their iPad in a horizontal alignment when reviewing the news.
  3. Images are critical!
  4. People focus eighteen times before choosing a story to read.
  5. If you don’t have a reader’s attention within 78.3 seconds, you’ll lose them. Put something interesting at this point to keep their attention.
  6. While digital natives are more likely to scan content, when they find something that is of interest both generations are just as likely to read deeply.