Friday, 12 September 2014

Tips for structuring website content

When reading information from a screen, people do not start in the top left of the page and read every word. So what do they read and how can you make sure you get your key messages across?

Place keywords on the left

Special equipment can be used to detect exactly where people's eyes are focused when they look at a computer screen. This form of usability research makes it easier to understand what part of website design users are attracted to, and which parts they tend to overlook. 

A study involving 232 people found that website users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page (regardless of the layout). Their eyes scan the page in an F pattern.

Follow the F pattern

If you focus on the red areas of the pictures below, you will see what is known as the F shape - this is where users tend to focus their attention when scanning a website. 


·        The first two paragraphs must state the most important information. This is the most likely to be read.

·      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-behaviour.

In summary

 Users won't read your text thoroughly in a word-by-word manner - especially when conducting initial research. People are scanning content headings, sub headings and opening paragraphs for keywords to decide if the webpage they have opened is what they are looking for. If it isn’t, they will hit the back button in their browser and open the next search result listing!

Do you think these rules apply to websites optimised for mobile? Please add your comments.

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