Part I: The use of digital technologies has forever changed how consumers are capturing, sharing, and storing their pictures. The long-term objective of Part I of this study is to obtain an overall picture of the current state of consumer photographers’ practices. While digital camera owners are taking more photos than ever before, most are not printing them. However, experiments conducted on the presentation mediumdependent differences in picture consumption showed that a majority of the participants prefer printed images to images viewed on a screen. Regardless of this preference, participants did not print images very often for a variety of reasons, including lack of time or money. In addition, results showed that the most commonly used printing tools included Kodak EasyShare Gallery, Shutterfly, and Flickr. Finally, participants cited Photoshop, Lightroom, and Picasa as the primary editing tools, with Facebook being mentioned as the main sharing tool. Parts II & III: The advent of digital print engines capable of achieving high image quality has opened up many new and exciting print product opportunities, including the short-run printing of magazines. However, content available for magazines is also readily available on-line. It is not immediately obvious that the capability of creating a short-run magazine translates into a viable business model; just because they can be printed does not necessarily mean that it makes sense to do so. The objective of this project was to take the first steps toward identifying and understanding the differences in how information is consumed from print on paper versus computer display and which characteristics of these media are particularly relevant in this comparison. Longer-term, it is intended to explore how such differences affect the efficacy of magazine advertising. This evaluation involved an assessment of differences for several metrics, including information retention, time taken to view images, preference for visually consuming information, and distribution of visual gaze as measured by eyetrackers. Experimentation was conducted that focused on the first three of these four factors (Part II). Experimentation in Part III generally confirmed the results of this study: specifically, that people preferred the hard copy rendition over a PDF when given the choice (for reasons of image accessibility and tangibility), and that neither the time used to view the photo books nor information retention as measured by image recognition and information recall were affected by the medium in which the photo book was seen. The results of this study also agreed with earlier research findings that observers tend to fixate first and most often in the central areas of images. This research also found, however, important differences between how the observers viewed the printed and screen versions of the photo book, with the screen group having more fixations per image for many of the images early in the book (though not spending more time with these images), while the print group switched more often between images. While the work conducted in Part II suggested that there were no important differences between the print and screen groups of observers, the results of Part III hint at differences that may be important with regard to individual images or image layouts. Further work involving image content with a more balanced mix of text and pictorial imagery might prove useful in exploring these findings further.

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Full-Length Book


RIT Printing Industry Center (CIAS) research monograph

Department, Program, or Center

Printing Industry Center (CIAS)


RIT – Main Campus