f-shaped reading patterns



Jacob Nielsen has put together an eyetracking study, that shows how users read websites. According to the study, most people read in an "F" pattern - starting with horizontal movement, usually across the top quadrant of the page - and then moving down for a second horizontal movement.

Much of this is due to the graphic design, of course. Good design will control eye movement - and the examples showcased in his report should indeed result in an "F" type movement.

Jacob provides some good insight as well, including these handy tips:
  • Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner.
  • The first two paragraphs must state the most important information.
  • Start subheads, paragraphs, and bullet points with information-carrying words
That's great input regardless of eyeball movement.

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