Online, people are skimming. Readers are trying to find a specific piece of information as fast as possible. That means we need to format our pages so readers can easily find the information they’re looking for. We can use design principles to help people’s eyes move naturally through the page. How a person’s eyes move across your page is important because user experience and readability makes a huge impact on your pageviews.
The second someone lands on your site, they want to know that the information they are looking for is going to be there. Research has shown that readers scan web pages using an F-shaped pattern. This means they read the first few lines horizontally, and then scan down in a vertical line. Readers immediately pay attention to the title and the first paragraph. After that, they quickly scan down the page, paying less attention to specific words as they go. This F-shaped pattern means that the most important information needs to be included in the title and first paragraph.
In addition to understanding the F-shaped pattern, here are some other ways to foster natural eye movement on a web page:
- Use headings and subheadings. Make it clear what each section is going to be about. This will help readers when they’re skimming for information.
- Switch up your format. One big block of text isn’t easy for a reader to consume. Instead, break it up into more bite-sized pieces. Have smaller columns to improve readability. Use bullet points and lists so readers can consume your content more quickly.
- 69% of a reader’s time is spent reading the left side of a web page. That’s where our sentences and paragraphs start in the English language, so that’s where a person’s eye naturally goes. Put your most important information on the left side of the page. Your logo should also be in the top left corner to be most visible.
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