Doing some testing on a news feed that automatically scrolls, results point to…let it scroll. A large client of mine has a scrolling news feed on their portal, and there were a few that thought the scrolling should just go. Here is what I found.
Watching users use it, there appeared to be no problems at all, as long as the had the option to control the scroll. A looping feed with no control resulted in frustration for the user, and actually, frustration for the guy watching them, me. Without the control the feed took nearly a minute to reload.
Watching them open links within the scroll revealed no problems, even when the links opened into a new windows (an internal IT and branding policy). Basically, users were savvy enough to control a mouse over moving text.
Giving the users to opportunity to submit their own suggestions, the scroll was not the issue. There were no complaints of eye strain or distractions. The only important factor was that they need to have scroll control. Without it, they suggested to eliminate the scrolling all together.
Another good piece of feedback received was what the perception of what scrolling text is. To the users, scrolling text means news. Not only does it mean news, it means new news.
Because this content was to give users a live feed to recent news, mission accomplished, and the scrolling stays. It was clearly news, and it was easy to use.