Web Design : How a web Page is Read

Keywords: web design, web page, web site, website, usability, designer, user, technique, reader, eye tracking.

Summary: People rarely read web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentence. Eyetracking (a method for following the movement of a person’s eye’s as he/she views an ad or a web page) visualisations show that users often read web pages in the form of an upper case «F».

One article that I read by Jakob Nielsen (NB: Jakob Nielsen is a leading web usability consultant. He holds a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction from the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen) on this subject started with the question, “How is a Web Page Read” and the response was, «It isn’t». The conclusion reached is that very few people read a webpage completely. Rather, most people scan the page looking for valuable content (individual words and sentences). The term that you should search on Google that addresses this subject is “eye tracking”.

There are companies that perform studies on how the average viewer reads (scans) a web page. The viewing pattern for a page is generally in the form of an upper case «F». The viewer usually starts at the top left page. It is recommended that your critical information be in this part of the page. The reader usually reads across the top of the first paragraph. The reader may then read the second or part of the second paragraph. He/she will then skip down to the middle of the page and reads part way across. This creates the shorter horizontal part of the «F». The reader will then read down the left side of the page looking for interesting content. So headings and paragraphs should start with information-carrying words that users will notice when they scan down the left side of the content.

Based on this information, I decided to reorganize the Boomer eZine home page to present the important information within the «F» pattern that is read on the page. I recommend that you do some reading about this subject so you can improve the design of your content web pages.

Article Source : Article Directory

© 2006 John Howe.
John V. W. Howe is an entrepreneur, author, inventor, patent holder, husband, father, and grandfather. He has been involved in entrepreneurial activities for over 40 years. He founded www.boomer-ezine.com and www.retirement-jobs-online.com to help Boomers (baby boomers) become entrepreneurs when they retire.