Understanding how your users scan and process the content on your website or in your app is key to great information hierarchy and delivering a smooth user experience. Due to the sheer volume of information available at lightspeed, most users scan information first before in-depth reading. Eye tracking insights have revealed users scan content following the pattern of the letter ‘F’.
How can you use this to improve UX?
Put Key Page Elements First
The ‘F’ pattern means users tend to first scan the top of a page from left to right (the headline), then scan the description of the article, then the next subheading that catches their interest. Front-loading your most important information thus makes sense as users will see this at first and return to this information as they read more in-depth.
Build Expectations You Can Satisfy
When you put content in an F pattern on the page consistently, you can create the sensation that readers can expect to find the crucial information they want quickly. If the most vital information on any page can be gleaned at first scan through, users won’t feel that the information they want is buried deep in bulky content. This provides a smoother overall user experience.
Make Your Sidebar Work For You
Because readers scan back to the side of the page while scrolling in the F pattern, you can create engagement by putting related articles, ads or important links in this area of your page. It will also add variety to page content, as users will have something other than large blocks of text to process.
Make Your Headers Truly Count
Because studies have shown headers are the first thing most users take in and really process, it’s important to make headers sell who you are as a business. Anchoring logos in the top-left of the screen, for example, reinforces brand awareness since users are reminded on first interaction with any page of your brand identity.
Don’t Neglect Below-The-Fold Content
Just because users focus first on the top of the page and follow the F pattern doesn’t mean anything goes below the fold. Make sure that you break up blocks of text with images. Keep content varied and visually appealing and users won’t churn high in the fold.
Do you need help enhancing your website’s UX? Contact Interact now.