Wednesday, March 14, 2007

News Flash! Men Look At Crotches

Via Kottke.Org:

Among the many interesting things in Online Journalism Review's article about using eyetracking to increase the effectiveness of news article design is this odd result:

Keep your eye on the ball(s)!
Although both men and women look at the image of George Brett when directed to find out information about his sport and position, men tend to focus on private anatomy as well as the face. For the women, the face is the only place they viewed. Coyne adds that this difference doesn't just occur with images of people. Men tend to fixate more on areas of private anatomy on animals as well, as evidenced when users were directed to browse the American Kennel Club site...

These folks could have saved themselves some time, money and effort and just asked me. I would have told them outright. It breaks down like this:

  • If the image is a woman a guy is going to look at the crotch because it's a woman. This goes without saying, I believe.
  • If the image is of another guy then a guy is going to look at the crotch for one reason and one reason only... "My package is bigger/better."
  • If the guy is gay, flip these around and adjust accordingly.

But what about the results for women? The most interesting thing I found about the above graphic is not their intense focus on George Brett's face. That's to be expected. Women are forever talking about who's cute and who isn't, who has pretty eyes or a pretty smile and so forth. How do they develop this hyper-developed sense of cuteness? Why, by gazing endlessly into the eyes of every man, woman, child and stray dog they run across, of course. So who's surprised that when forced to look at baseball cards (come on) they'll focus on the batter's face? Not me.

No, what I found most interesting, and what seems to have gone unnoticed here, is the bottom-right corner of the womens image underneath the "Fixation Length" key. If you look closely you'll see a small but intense spot of yellow extending off the page, almost as if it it were trying desperately to leave the picture altogether.

Come on, ladies. Where is your focus? Does this finally explain the wonder that is female driving or simply the futility of trying to explain sports to them? We may never know.