Research:Which parts of an article do readers read

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This research topic page provides an overview of results, methods and data sources pertaining to the question "Which parts of a Wikipedia article[notes 1] do users actually view?" .

Clickthrough rate of wikilinks by their position in a page (left = top, right = bottom; for the desktop version of English Wikipedia)

Links clicked[edit]

A 2015 study of clickstream data (on desktop) from the English Wikipedia found that the rate at which wikilinks (internal links) are clicked decreases from top to bottom of the page, although more gradually than one might expect (see chart).[1]

Other researchers who looked at the same data estimated that wikilinks located in the lead section receive between 26% and 43% of the clicks on wikilinks,[2]. A follow-up study found that although the lead and the infobox contain only 17% and 4% of the links of an article, they receive 32% and 18% of clicks, respectively [3]. Links located on the left side of the screen (assuming a browser window that takes up the entire screen on a standard WUXGA display on desktop) are more likely to be clicked[4].

Section expansions[edit]

On most mobile (non-tablet) views, the reader only looks at the article's introduction without opening further sections

On the mobile web version of Wikipedia, sections below the lede are by default collapsed (on devices below a certain screen size, i.e. on smartphones but not on tablets). The readers needs to tap on the section heading to read its content. These actions are counted - for a small sample of readers - in the MobileWebSectionUsage schema.

39.9% of the non-tablet mobile users who viewed a mainspace page on November 30 opened a section there, i.e. the median number of sections opened was 0.[5]

Frequency of section expansion in the article en:Barack Obama
Frequency of section expansion in the article en:World War II
This chart shows how far down into a page users read on the Android Wikipedia app (based on Schema:MobileWikiAppPageScroll; details)

Scroll actions[edit]

(This refers to instrumentations that recorded which parts of a page appeared in the viewable area.)


During one week in 2014, 25% of app users (devices) scrolled to the end of a page at least once.[6]


German thesis[7]: E.g. in "lookup" tasks, readers spend >45% of time on scanning TOC and lists ("QL-LI"), in "learn" tasks it's <10%

Related German paper[8]: "To get insights into users' interaction with pictorial and textual contents eye-tracking experiments are conducted. Spread of information within the articles and the relation between text and images are analyzed. ... By now 30 articles have been analyzed according to this scheme. There are 639 contact points leading to images. Results show that 39% of all contact points lead from image to image, in mutual directions (previous or next). All text contact points (T, TC, TB, TE, TN, Cit) sum up to a total of 37%. In 5% of all cases, an introduction triggers a saccade to an image. The remaining types of contact points occur rather rarely."


  1. Ashwin Paranjape, Bob West, Jure Leskovec, Leila Zia: Improving Website Hyperlink Structure Using Server Logs. WSDM’16, February 22–25, 2016, San Francisco, CA, USA. PDF
  2. Lamprecht, Daniel; Helic, Denis; Strohmaier, Markus (2015-04-22). "Quo Vadis? On the Effects of Wikipedia's Policies on Navigation". Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. Ninth International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media. 
  3. Lamprecht, Daniel; Lerman, Kristina; Helic, Denis; Strohmaier, Markus (May 2016). "How the structure of Wikipedia articles influences user navigation". New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia. doi:10.1080/13614568.2016.1179798. Retrieved December 15, 2016. 
  4. Dimitrov, Dimitar; Singer, Philipp; Lemmerich, Florian; Strohmaier, Markus (2016-04-11). Visual Positions of Links and Clicks on Wikipedia (PDF). 25TH INTERNATIONAL WORLD WIDE WEB CONFERENCE. Montréal, Québec, Canada. p. 2. 
  6. [1] "25% of install base saw at least one read more panel", meaning that these app users read or scrolled to the end of an article at least once (where these panels are located).
  7. Knäusl, Hanna (2014-12-18). "Situationsabhängige Rezeption von Information bei Verwendung der Wikipedia" (Thesis of the University of Regensburg).  p. 202 (in German, with English abstract), cf. 2012 poster
  8. Rösch, Barbara (2014). "Investigation of Information Behavior in Wikipedia Articles". Proceedings of the 5th Information Interaction in Context Symposium. IIiX '14. New York, NY, USA: ACM. pp. 351–353. doi:10.1145/2637002.2637062. ISBN 978-1-4503-2976-7.  Closed access


  1. (or other pages on Wikimedia projects)

External links[edit]