Crafting a website is a lot like writing a book. Both require a theme and a plot line that guides the reader through a narrative that (hopefully) leads to a happy ending.
Some may recall a study that was published by Jacob Neilson back in 2006 that analyzes how people view websites. When Neilson asked people to view websites, it was noticed that many would read them in a similar manner. Heatmaps were used to express now visitors would view the content on the page, and when the map was studied, a clear pattern was noticed. This pattern became known as the “F Pattern” because of the resemblance to the letter “F”.
The areas viewed most are red; yellow is less and blue shows the least amount of views. What you will notice, is that as the reader continues to scan the page, the lower section and the right rail of the page receives less views. This supports that most viewers are reading left to right and top to bottom, and that they tend not to read all of your content. You will notice a distinct “blue color” toward the bottom of the page meaning that people are abandoning it. The same can be said about content that is on the right side of the page.
What does this mean for web design? When designing your site, it is crucial to have the most important elements in the top, left section of the site. When creating navigation, feature your most important sections on the left side.
As you start to create your content, it is important that you recognize this F Pattern and organize your content accordingly. Make sure the most important information is in the first two paragraphs of the text, and make it easy to read. Incorporate bulleted or numbered lists so it is easier for readers to pick out important pieces of information. Understanding that you don’t have much time to grab your readers attention will be an integral part of creating text that is both compelling and optimized.
It is important to understand that when you are creating a mobile version of your website, you only want to capture the essential data that mobile searchers are looking for. When people are looking for your website on a mobile device, they are looking for quick information that they need in a hurry. Include the following on your mobile website:
Including only the important information will give users of all mobile devices a good user experience, regardless of the type of device. Even smart phones have their limitations as to what types of content they can display properly. It is especially important to have a good mobile website if your main site is comprised of Flash technology. Currently no mobile device has the capability to display flash based websites. A flash website appears to be broken when viewed on a mobile device, leaving the user with little options to get in contact with you, or view your services or products.