Accessibility, Thinking, User Experience

People read online in an F shape

From your own experience you know that reading a computer screen is very different from reading a book.  A recent study by Jakob Nielsen found that people read website content in an ‘F’ shaped pattern. Nielsen recorded 232 people looking at web pages with eye tracking software. The typical pattern common with most readers was an F shape, which demonstrated 'scanning' behaviour instead of deliberate reading.

The study shows us that web users are not reading your website’s content word for word. This information can help us to improve our online communications, keeping main points within the F shape.

Help your website readers get the message by:

  • Remembering the F shape for main points
  • Keeping sentences short
  • Avoiding jargon
  • Using dot points
  • Keeping it simple
  • Keeping it consistent
  • Keeping it real

Here at Fusion we like to think it is no coincidence that the F shape dominated the results.

More information on the Nielsen eye tracking study

Image courtesy of Jakob Neilsen

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