When you visit a website, chances are you skim the page searching for the most useful content. When a user visits your website, they do the same. It’s not an insult to your content, it’s just the way our eyes are programmed.
This is why websites, blogs, and landing pages rely so heavily on the F-Pattern. The F-Pattern is defined as the pattern our eyes use when scanning pages. The “F” is the first line of content that the user begins reading horizontally. Then, the readers scans vertically on the left side of the screen searching for keywords that appeal to them, and then they continue reading horizontally when a point of interest is found.
The F-Pattern isn’t just appealing to our eyes, it’s the most practical web design. If it weren’t major sites such as the New York Times and CNN wouldn’t be utilizing it. Only 20 percent of your readers will actually read your entire page of text. When they do begin reading, they might only stick around for the first or second paragraph, and find bullet points and shorter paragraphs more appealing. Alluring keywords also make a case for the user to continue reading.
How can you begin utilizing the F-Pattern? You’ll want to mold your content to fit the shape, which includes your most enticing or interesting content at the start of the page. This is the only spot on the page that is certain to be read. The next part of the pattern is the content on the top right, visually horizontal from your starting point. This is usually where websites choose to put their navigation bar in order to encourage further engagement from readers. After this is when readers will dart down on the left side of the page, searching for a word or words that catch their attention. If they don’t find something that sparks their interest in a few seconds, they will most likely leave. You’re tasked with putting a point of interest down the left side of the page.
Another good technique is to break up the continuous content with something visually appealing. You’ll notice on many websites about two paragraphs down is where they choose to place an ad or visual ad. In many instances, this break will entice the reader to continue scanning the page for more interesting content.
The main reason the F-Pattern is so effective is because it imitates our normal sight pattern. This way, as users navigate our site they aren’t forced to push against nature. We work so hard to create quality content, so we want to do everything we can to encourage readers to explore our website.