People want the Internet to be fast. In fact, a recent report states that “1 in 4 people abandon a web page that takes more than four seconds to load.” If that’s true, it shouldn’t surprise us that we are also developing a new way of reading: when you track people’s eye movements the “dominant reading pattern looks somewhat like an F.” The following is a description from a sizable study called “Eyetracking Web Usability“:
- Users first read in a horizontal movement, usually across the upper part of the content area. This initial element forms the F’s top bar.
- Next, users move down the page a bit and then read across in a second horizontal movement that typically covers a shorter area than the previous movement. This additional element forms the F’s lower bar.
- Finally, users scan the content’s left side in a vertical movement. Sometimes this is a fairly slow and systematic scan that appears as a solid stripe on an eyetracking heatmap. This last element forms the F’s stem.
- Americans Don’t Have Time For Slow Websites [INFOGRAPHIC mentioned above]
- F-pattern for Your Online Content (More Eye Movement Findings)
- (How to apply this to your site’s design)