Miratech have had a good look at how people read with an iPad and a Newspaper and the results are quite surprising.
It seems that when we read a newspaper on a device such as an iPad, we skim and hardly bother to read any articles properly, and not surprisingly, we retain very little of the information that is there. On the other hand, when reading a newspaper (a real one, on paper), we actually read the various articles and what is more, equally unsurprisingly, we retain much more of the information in those articles.
This experiment was well set up, it seems to me, to give reliable results, to quote from their White Paper:
Our study analyzes the differences between iPad and newspaper reading patterns. We asked a representative sample of participants to read similar information from a printed newspaper, and from its iPad version. Half the participants were asked to read the iPad first and the other half were asked to read the newspaper first.
Participants in the study were already iPad users, so we avoided any bias associated with learning how to use the iPad (discovering the functions, playing with the zoom, etc.).
They were allowed to freely manipulate both the paper and iPad versions, and we monitored their behavior as they read. We used eye tracking technology to follow their gaze path. After reading, we measured how well they remembered the articles and ads.
So, in rather more detail, here are some of the results:
No significant difference in reading time
- The average time taken to read an article on each medium is very similar.
- A user takes an average of 1 minute 11 seconds to read an article on paper, compared with 1 minute 13 seconds on an iPad. Thus the length of time for reading an article on paper or iPad is very close.
For concentration and retention, paper is the clear winner
- A more detailed analysis shows that the eyes linger longer on the paper version (275 ms on paper versus 231 ms on the iPad).
- This means that people concentrate more when reading an actual newspaper.
- This increased concentration results in a better retention of printed articles. After reading, only 70% of participants recall an article read on an iPad, compared with 90% for paper!
Miratech demonstrated the difference between reading an article in a newspaper and on an iPad.
The study showed that:
- The type of medium doesn’t influence reading time when the text is short (like an article).
- It is easier to assimilate and retain information read in a newspaper than on an iPad.
Miratech thoughtfully placed a couple of videos on their website to show more clearly how this actually works, rather fascinating in fact, to see how people’s gaze wobbles all over the place.
Strange to see, isn’t it?
So we can only conclude from this study, that if you wish to actually read and retain information, then a device such as an iPad, and by extension, presumably any other Tablet, is not the way to go….. Just stick to the well proven and reliable technology of ink on paper, and forget all these new fangled devices. Fun to use, but apparently only marginally useful.
Share with us:
What, if anything, does all of the above mean to you? If you have any thoughts on this, do share them here with us.