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Changing Research for Changing Media: Michael Holmes

Michael Holmes, director for the Center for Media Design's (CMD) Insight and Research unit, has studied new communication technology since the mid 1980s, when dial-up, text-only e-mail and bulletin board systems were the emerging media of the day.

Holmes' research focus in those early days was linguistic analysis of the structure of online conversations. As the Internet transformed from the exclusive but limited playground of universities and the U.S. military to the ubiquitous, multimedia World Wide Web, his research shifted from online conversations to Web design and usability issues. Eye tracking, a technique which allows researchers to identify exactly where someone is looking—and for how long—is now a key part of his usability research tool kit.

Most recently, Holmes has worked with the CMD eye-tracking team to test Web interfaces and to explore the effectiveness of online video advertising. He's also collaborated with researchers at other universities to investigate how viewers' ways of looking at a Web page change over multiple visits and how television screen clutter, including banners, logos, and scrolling tickers, impacts viewing and recall of television news content.

Holmes and his team have also taken their work on the road, opening eye-tracking research facilities at the Ball State Indianapolis Center as well as in New York with industry partner Schematic, a full-service digital agency. In 2007, CMD and Schematic opened the Media Insight Center (MIC), a research and development facility for eye-tracking and usability, in the company's New York offices.

At the Schematic-based center, researchers will use continually evolving and innovative eye-tracking and usability research methods for interfaces, devices, and content across platforms.

Contact Michael Holmes at 765-285-0138 for more information.