SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: [Sigia-l] F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
RE: [Sigia-l] F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
>From: alist146 <alist146_at_archimac.org>
>Subject: [Sigia-l] F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content
>Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 14:45:23 +0300
>I hope the following is new to list members:
This is good evidence for why eye tracking is a misleading method of
discovering user behavour.
We already know westerners start at the top left and then head on down and
across. We also know that it takes time to find the start of a bit of text
and reading behavour wil lead to the results given (the last word of a line
is glanced at, often not looked at directly). But looking at their
"Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner. Exhaustive
reading is rare, especially when prospective customers are conducting their
initial research to compile a shortlist of vendors. Yes, some people will
read more, but most won't. "
In other words people scan until they find what they're looking for. Nothing
"The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. There's
some hope that users will actually read this material, though they'll
probably read more of the first paragraph than the second."
Again awe inspiring obvious. Users don't read instructional copy, will skip
welcome messages and will latch on to 'shiny' items on the page like imagery
or distinct buttons.
"Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying
words that users will notice when scanning down the left side of your
content in the final stem of their F-behavior. They'll read the third word
on a line much less often than the first two words."
Again painfully obvious. Bullet lists chunk the information better than a
stream of text. But these guidelines are not universal. The rules for
'attraction pages' - that is the front of a site and section hubs need to be
as to the point as possible. Once the user finds what they are after they
will read and the rules change. It's best not to break up the flow of copy
for the sake of usability once the user is in 'digesting' mode. When in
'seeking' mode clear chunks is the way to go.
User research can uncover this far more effectively and directly than
indirect methods like eye tracking (and also be much much cheaper and
accurate due to a more condusive environment).
See the archives for other views on eye tracking.
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: Mon Apr 24 2006 - 17:45:16 EDT