Finding new ways to engage our PressReader tablet users

In our final blog post series covering the recent Poytner eyetracking study, we’ll be exploring engagement features for news reading applications on tablets. Tablets are still relatively new to both users and developers so it’s no surprise that developers are still finding new ways to engage users.

In one part of the study, participants were asked to wear special eyetracking glasses to record the exact location of their gaze , marked by the red crosshairs, and the amount of time they spent looking at that specific location.


Video screencap showing eyetracking and pop up images. (Courtesy of The Poytner Institute)

Using pop-up images to engage users in news reading applications

In one activity, pop-up images were embedded in news stories to engage readers. They found that these pop-up images prompted more readers to keep their finger on the screen, allowing readers to participate in the news story through touch. This not only engages touch but also your brain and eyes through reading, making the reading experience less linear and less flat.

Their findings have shown that pop-up images are effective in engaging readers. PressReader also has a similar function in the SmartFlow mode that allows users the ability to pinch and expand images.

Exploring other attractive ways of engagement

Interactive and touchable pictures are one of many ways that make news articles engaging. It should be easy for a user to interact with their news, especially in tactile ways.

For example, the ability to like a post on a social network on your tablet allows users to express and share their opinion much like the ability to vote to support or oppose a news article on PressReader. This interactive function allows the reader to react and share their opinion in a very direct and simple way, thus making the reading process more emotionally satisfying. This feature serves the same purpose as the pop up images; it gives the user the ability to interact and engage with their news using tactile methods, tapping on an icon or using a pinching gesture. This same feature will soon be implemented as part of the normal text view in an upcoming version of PressReader.

Engagement features in the long-press menu.


Other popular engagement features like voting can engage our readers in the same ways, if not better, than a pop up image can.

There are also many other engagement features in the long-press menu such as listening using On Demand Audio and sharing using email, Facebook, or Twitter.

However, we’re aware that the pinch to expand image feature in SmartFlow may not be well known to our users.  It’s not as obvious as a pop-up image, so we’re wondering if you even knew about this feature?

What are your favorite ways to engage with your tablet? Let me know in the comments!