I found this cool web usability study on Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox. This eye-heat graphic demonstrates where the readers eyes are focused (from left): while skimming a page, lightly reading a page, and fully reading a page. What this study demonstrates is what I have always suspected… no one pays attention to banner ads!
What the study did find was three consistent elements that attract a reader’s eye: plain text on a light background, human faces, and anything about physical attraction. As with most things – simple is clear, and clear is simple!