We live in the era when people are unable to focus visually for longer than several seconds. Research has shown that it takes three seconds to skim over the visual content provided by modern technologies, such as the internet and social networks. The same phenomenon occurs with television, newspapers and, unfortunately, books. The reader’s interest is limited to a headline and summary or just leafing through a book, which does not take longer than ten seconds at most. Visual content that holds the attention longer than that is rare, and it has to be designed in a way that engages the interest of the users from the very beginning, so that they are motivated for further viewing – unless it is mandatory work-related technical content, which isn’t relevant to our context. In conclusion, the visual attention span of human beings has decreased sharply in recent years.
Is it a matter of the increasing visual information overload on all available mobile devices, which makes us lose interest in reading even the shortest stories, whether in digital or print form? Or have the people adapted to how the information is being delivered today, which is why hand scrolling has now taken over the role of the visual or narrative guide? These questions are particularly pertinent for younger generations and those that will follow in their footsteps.
However, the key point of this story is that the ear, i.e., the sense of hearing, still holds attention much longer than the eye.