Usability Study of Animated and Static Banner Ads on a Mobile News Website

News Websites are a great way to deliver information. From breaking news to the latest trends, they have proven to be a very efficient way to relay information quickly, with the push of a button. When news websites found an additional medium to deliver their content, it became easier to relay that information, as many users carry a mobile phone. This provides a good opportunity for marketers to advertise their products through these websites, but advertising on a mobile device can be particularly challenging due to mobile devices’ size limitations [1,2] compared to desktop interfaces.

In this project, two experiments were conducted to see how advertisements can influence the usability of a mobile news website when conducting daily tasks like reading and form filling in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction (ISO9241). This study consists of a news website design with articles containing either no adverts, static adverts or animated

adverts. We utilised these three website variants to observe the effects of adverts on a mobile news website. The experiments were carried out using eye tracking technology and the think aloud method, where both experiments followed a within- subjects design (Figure 1). Each participant experienced all the website variants, however the order of the websites changed depending on the group assigned.

The eye tracking experiment provides heatmaps and gaze plots which show that adverts were not fixated on, and even when participants did look at the advert, it was only for a very short time before shifting their gaze back to the text. Eye tracking results show no significant difference between the three website variants based on timings. When looking at the SUS scores, neither the think aloud nor the eye tracking experiments showed significant difference between the three websites (Figure 2).


[1]         D. Lobo, “Web Usability Guidelines For Smartphones: A Synergic Approach,” International Journal of Information and Electronics Engineering, 2011. DOI: 10.7763/IJIEE.2011.V1.5.

[2]         M. Shitkova, J. Holler, T. Heide, N. Clever, and J. Becker, “Towards Usability Guidelines for Mobile Websites and Applications,” Wi, no. 2015, pp. 1603–1617, 2015.

Student: Nathan Galea
Supervisor: Dr Colin Layfield
Course: B.Sc. IT (Hons.) Software Development