Think of your favorite book…your favorite magazine…your favorite newspaper.
Imagine yourself reading the text in each. Are you reading every word left to right, top to bottom absorbing every last detail? Or are you skimming it over, just enough to get the overall gist? Maybe you’re scanning the whole page, searching for something that peaks your interest.
Whatever your style, each is an effective way to read a body of text. Living in a world saturated by media producing a constant bombardment of stimulation, people have learned to absorb information in the most efficient and selective ways. Whether we are reading entire passages or skimming and scanning for the most relevant information; we have adapted to seek what we desire and the rest is seen as filler.
Now think of your favorite website or social-network. How are you viewing it?
It’s no surprise that in this media driven culture people have developed similar reading and absorption techniques when viewing webpages and using mobile apps. Unless it’s a news page, chances are people don’t read the entire text. They’re skimming and scanning for what they seek and if they don’t find it almost immediately…they’re gone.
As a result, many companies are investigating how users view websites to optimize the design and efficiency of their own. For the remainder of this article, we will examine 7 of those findings so that you may do the same. Some of it may come off as obvious, but sometimes the obvious is right under our noses ready to knock us in the chops; but until it does, let Web Chique Marketing help you out.
1. The Top-Left is Priority ONE:
No big surprises here. After all, it’s how we were taught to read. Just remember you want to place as much valuable information in the top-left corner of your page as possible.
For example, if you want people to visit your social media sites, be sure to place your social-buttons there. If you’re site contains a web-based catalog, place this tab in that space.
This illustration shows priority levels of different space on a page.
The far right and bottom (green) areas can be used as your ‘call to action’ terminals’. As people read left to right and top to bottom, this is where they will likely look for next step.
2. People read in F-patterns.
As described in the beginning of this article, people browsing the internet don’t read but rather skim and scan across web pages. A 2008 study concluded that only 28% of text is actually read. Though people keep to the basics of reading (gazing left to right and top to bottom) they do so at an accelerated pace; thus reaffirming the findings above.
This illustration shows an eye-tracking visualization of how users view webpages.
3. Use boldface or a visibly larger font for your introductory paragraph.
Immediately harnessing your audience’s attention is extremely important and what better way to achieve this than with a superb introduction that demands prominence?
4. When using illustrations or images, make sure they are large and of high quality.
Image quality is a significant factor in drawing attention to your site or blog. Remember the golden rule of web-design: provide your guests with an experience that you wouldn’t mind having yourself.
i.e. NO ONE likes grainy or washed out images.
5. Stick with Apple
If you need to show pictures of smart phones displaying your mobile app, use Apple devices. Studies have shown that the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 drew more glances and retained attention long than Android, HTC, Motorola and Samsung devices.
6. Yes, people scroll…but don’t count on it.
Scrolling down a page may not seem like a difficult task, but some users may find it to be so. To prevent these users from missing your most valuable information and ultimate proposition, place it above the fold.
7. Don’t be afraid to DOMINATE!!
When used correctly words can really pack a punch. Large headlines featuring strong, action words and phrases can really draw a crowd and influence future behavior. Especially when placed in the top-left (wink).
We hope this information will prove to be beneficial in your future web-endeavors. Whether you’re maintaining a blog, an online store or business website these guidelines can be used across the board.
Just remember the most important part of designing and maintaining a blog or website is to have fun with it. If you have any questions or comments about what you have read, please contact Web Chique Marketing or post a comment on our blog.
Join us next week when we discuss…wait for it… FIRST IMPRESSIONS!