Everyday Usability

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

F-shape pattern in website reading

According to the lastest news on Jacob Nielsen's alertbox, we 'read' websites in what he calls an F-shape. 232 users (yeah that's A WHOLE LOT!) were used in his research using a gaze tracker. In the images below you see three pages that are used in the study, first an 'about us' section of a corporate website, second a product page of an e-commerce website and finally a search engine result.

So, usability-wise Nielsen again stresses out that we should follow his guidelines concerning website design and just let go of the guidelines that have always been used in print. These days' users just don't read anymore :D

And of course something to think about: Although above research seems to be clear in investigating where people are looking on a website, is it also clear in what people remember of your site? I am sure that moving images or fancy rollover menus get attention (and appear in bright red dots in the above image), but are they also registered in the users' mind?


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