The Truth About How Web Pages Are Read

My favorite and most highly recommended book on the subject of web usability (or in plane folks speak, the science and art of how to make web pages more useful) is Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think.”

But, arguably the “grandfather” of books on this subject is Jacob Nielsen. Another interesting info-tidbit is that people are now studying how people read web pages with eye-tracking visualizations like the one shown here. Nielsen’s comments on a new eye-tracking study include the discovery of an interesting “F” pattern.

His insights also include the not so eye-opening (common sense) insights that web designers and writers should realize that: “Users won’t read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner.” And, “The first two paragraphs must state the most important information.” As well as the suggestion to “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.”

If this is news to you, you might want to read more…